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The good children
Kate Wilhelm
Adult Fiction WILHELM

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Seamless storytelling and believable characters caught in a bizarre, inescapable situation make this latest psychological thriller from three-time Nebula Award winner Wilhelm (Malice Prepense) taut and satisfying. "When you've got family, you don't need anything else," Lee McNair tells her children. After an industrial accident kills her husband, the distraught McNair makes the four children promise they'll never let strangers touch her when she dies. The children find themselves called on to honor that promise when McNair is killed in a freakish backyard accident. Afraid of disobeying their mother and equally afraid that they'll be sent away to foster homes, the children bury her in the backyard and are forced to lie to neighbors and pretend that she is still alive. Their attempts to keep up the ruse are eerily successful‘except that the youngest of the children begins to lose his sanity. Eventually, the McNairs call the authorities to report their mother's sudden disappearance. The youngest child's troubles deepen and a new piece of information about their mother's accident threatens to break up their carefully unified front. A young society lawyer, charged with looking in on the "abandoned" McNair children, creates another kind of complication when he falls in love with the engaging teenage narrator (and third McNair), Liz. Wilhelm's spare, unsentimental style contributes nicely to the mood of this well-told gothic tale. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The McNairs' move into a home of their own near Portland, Oregon, seems too good to be true. All the kids have rooms of their own and the promise from their father of no more transfers. But their idyll is soon shattered; father Will is killed in an industrial accident. Though left relatively financially secure, the family is not the same. Mother Lee can't cope and becomes increasingly reclusive. The four kids must manage the house, their mother, and themselves. Then, one day, they come home to find her dead on the patio. Fearful of being separated, the kids construct a complex scheme to keep their home intact. They strive for "invisibility" to the societal systems that might try to separate them. One lie begets another until their deceptions threaten their sanity and their very lives. This is a superb story of death, love, and deception. Wilhelm (Malice Perpense, LJ 6/15/96) is a master of psychological fiction. Her characters are sensitively and believably crafted and her plots are taut, compelling, and insightful. Essential for all popular fiction collections.‘Susan Clifford, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Kevin McNair
Age: 15
Computer fanatic.

Amy McNair
Age: 14
Straight-A student; wants to be a marine biologist.

Liz McNair
Age: 11
Awkward; violinist; storyteller.

Brian McNair
Age: 6
Haunted by the memory of his mother.

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