Accidents Happen: A Novel

Accidents Happen: A Novel - Louise Millar To say that Kate Parker is paranoid and slightly obsessed with accident prevention is a major understatement. She had just recovered emotionally and psychologically from her parents' tragic car accident on her wedding night when she was dealt another blow, the murder of her husband in a home invasion/car theft. She decided to leave London behind and move to Oxford in order to be closer to her in-laws and provide a safer life for her son, Jack. Unfortunately Kate has become her own worst enemy in the eyes of her in-laws as a result of her paranoia. Will she be able to overcome her tendencies and continue to protect her family?

In an effort to stem any further accidents or incidents happening in her life, Kate has become obsessed with calculating the odds of an accident before taking any action. She calculates odds before driving in her car, riding her bicycle, or even walking any great distance. Kate feels that her calculations help avoid trouble and keep her safe. After a burglary at the house in Oxford, she opts to install a gate upstairs, effectively locking herself and her son behind bars every night. Her in-laws feel that this is the final straw and give her an ultimatum, take appropriate action to overcome her obsessions or they'll pursue having her declared unfit and take their grandson away from her. As Kate struggles with this ultimatum, she somewhat fortuitously meets Professor Jago Martin, author of the book Beat the Odds and Change Your Life. Kate feels that Jago is a lifesaver and allows him to persuade her into some strange acts in order to overcome her obsessions. Just when Kate starts to feel slightly more in control, she realizes that all is not what it appears with Jago. Is this more of her paranoia at work or is something really wrong?

I found Accidents Happen to be a somewhat difficult read at first. Not because the story wasn't intriguing, but because I initially found Kate's reactions to be somewhat farfetched. However the more I read the more involved I became with Kate, Jack and their problems. I was concerned about Kate's obsessions and the effect they were having on her son, but realized there was no way she could be who she was without it impacting her son. I was a little disappointed that Kate never really received any psychological or psychiatric help for her issues. Once I was pulled into the story and got to the end, I quickly realized that Kate's actions weren't as farfetched as I initially thought. The ending was completely unexpected and strained credulity (in my opinion) more than Kate and her behavior. Having said that, I found Accidents Happen was actually a good psychological thriller read.