Gordon “Go-Go” Halloran finds himself drunk after two years of sobriety and proceeds to drive himself into a concrete wall. After his death, his group of friends that played together as kids, as well as their parents, reevaluate their youth and the secrets that could have caused Go-Go’s demise. The Most Dangerous Thing takes place in the late 1970’s as well as present day. In the 1970’s, the group of friends included the three Halloran boys, Tim, Sean, and Go-Go and two neighbor girls, Gwen and Mickey. After an accident, Sean and Gwen start a teenage romance, which has devastating effects on their group. The group also meets a mysterious man that lives in the woods, and their lives will never been the same. In the present day, the survivors try to piece together what exactly took place when they were children that may have haunted Go-Go.
Two of my favorite books of 2011 were by Laura Lippman, The Girl in the Green Raincoat and I’d Know you Anywhere. Unfortunately, The Most Dangerous Thing fell flat for me. The book was okay, but not excellent like the previous two novels. I think the flaw was that there were too many characters with the children and adults given their own sections and not enough detail to make me truly care about anyone. A lot of the storyline was never resolved. I also really disliked the narration in the 1970’s section about the kids. It seemed to be narrated first person by one of them, but they were also all referred to in the third person. It drove me crazy. The book moved really slow for me, but did pick up steam by the end . . . only to really annoy me.
Was anyone else that read the book also annoyed by the end? Poor nine year old Go-Go was molested, but once everyone found out it was “only” 14-year old (at the time) Mickey and the two high school boys she brought along, it was okay. I’m pretty sure it was not okay. It was a giant let down that they all seemed to be okay with this and just move on. The fact that Mickey not only molested (and brought along molesters) poor Go-Go at the time, but also harassed him in adulthood and probably drove him to his death at least deserved a verbal dress-down from Go-Go’s brothers. I mean Mickey actually went so far as to go to Go-Go’s AA meetings so he wouldn’t talk about his abuse as a child. Nice.
Overall, the book did pick up by the end and did get a passionate response from me, but I didn’t really enjoy this book. I didn’t like or feel a connection with any of the characters. The one section I did enjoy was a brief appearance of Tess Monaghan (from A Girl in the Green Raincoat). It was nice to see she was back to work with little Scout in tow. That one section had a spark that was missing from the rest of the book. I am interested to see what others thought of this book.