The USA Book News Book of the Year for Mystery/Suspense that “keeps the reader turning pages with its twisted plot and characters facing high stakes” (Columbus Dispatch).
In the small industrial town of Crystalton, Ohio, fifteen year old Hutch Van Buren and his three closest friends have an unfortunate altercation with Petey Sanchez, a severely disturbed teen. The encounter ends in Petey’s accidental death. When a local ne’er-do-well is convicted of the crime, the boys keep a pact of silence, each shouldering the burden of truth in his own way.
Thirty-three years later, Van Buren is the prosecuting attorney in Summit County, Ohio, and a candidate for state attorney general when the dark secret comes back to haunt him. A convicted sex offender in need of a favor attempts to blackmail Van Buren in return for his silence about Petey.
Now, Van Buren must decide between his political ambitions and the duty of the office he has sworn to uphold. With the clock ticking, Van Buren has a week to seek out his boyhood friends while he tries to rectify three decades of deceit.
Favorite Sons is “a seething mass of moral turpitude, opportunistic extortion and endemic corruption” with nuanced, memorable characters and unpredictable plot twists that will keep you riveted until the final stunning revelation (Dayton Daily News).
The shadow of a youthful mistake hovers over an ambitious prosecutor in this middling first novel from former crime reporter Yocum (Dead Before Deadline). In 1971, in the small Ohio town of Crystalton, 15-year-old Hutchinson Van Buren and a group of friends encounter violent, developmentally disabled 17-year-old Petey Sanchez. When Sanchez attacks one of them, Adrian Nash, with a tree branch, Nash lashes out with a maul, killing his assailant. The boys panic and flee the scene, scared of the repercussions if they tell the authorities the truth. The ethical implications of their silence become even trickier when a convicted child molester is charged with the murder. Most of the book is set in 2004, when Van Buren, the chief prosecutor for Summit County, is running for state attorney general and is confronted with a blackmailer who knows the truth about Sanchez's death. Van Buren isn't a distinctive enough lead to make readers care much whether he prevails or not.