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Eye Contact

An introduction to
Eye Contact

When Cara is called in to her nine-year-old son Adam’s school one afternoon, she tries not to expect the worst. Because Adam is autistic, Cara—a single mother—has spent many hours with his teachers, principals, and guidance counselors discussing her son’s development, and it isn’t unusual for Adam to throw a tantrum at school that would necessitate her presence.

But today is different. Adam is missing, and he hasn’t been found in any of his usual hiding places. He broke a rule (which he never does) and disappeared during recess, presumably having left school grounds. When the police find him later that afternoon, Cara is stunned to find out that Adam—who has no friends at school to speak of—was in the woods behind the school with a fellow student. Her name was Amelia Best, and she was found dead, stabbed in the chest.

The community is thrown into crisis, with parents fearing for their children’s safety and teachers at the local schools doing their best to help their young students cope with this tragedy. Cara is convinced that Adam can help the police solve this murder, but he has retreated back inside himself after the incident, despite recent signs of improvement. Though Detective Matt Lincoln is skeptical about Adam’s ability to aid the investigation—child witnesses are difficult enough, but what can he do with one who won’t even speak?—Cara refuses to give up on her son, who has become her entire life since the death of her parents in a car accident. She tries in vain to get him to participate in his usual communication games and finds it difficult just to get him to look at her. Willing to take a risk in order to bring Adam around, she agrees with a local schoolteacher that an older boy’s companionship might help and invites Morgan over to visit.

Morgan, an eighth grader at the local middle school, has some troubles of his own: while he isn’t autistic or developmentally disabled, he attends classes with a special group at his own school, which he refers to as “the group for kids who have no friends.” He faces constant tormenting from bullies at recess, and though he likes the teacher of his special group, Morgan doesn’t share a bond with any of his classmates. It is clear from the start that he is harboring a terrible secret of his own. When Morgan meets Adam, Cara is shocked when Adam speaks his first voluntary phrases since the murder. As the two boys begin spending more time together, Adam offers his own clues to Cara that are difficult to decipher but might be important to locating the killer. But Morgan’s secret, as well as some old friends from Cara’s past, threatens to obscure the path to the truth behind Amelia’s death.

As Cara and Detective Lincoln draw closer to the resolution of this awful crime, Cara is forced to come to terms with the consequences of decisions she has made—including the choice she made as a young woman not to include Adam’s father in his life—and realizes she is not alone in her pain and isolation. In order to get to the murderer and bring Adam back to her, Cara must find it in her heart to forgive and be forgiven. Cammie McGovern’s Eye Contact is a heartrending portrait of a mother’s relationship with her son and a psychological thriller that keeps the reader guessing up to its final pages.

Eye Contact
by by Cammie McGovern

  • paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 0143038907
  • ISBN-13: 9780143038900