Clean Break is a psychological thriller that tells the story of Celeste Vanek, a graphic designer, married to Adam and mother to a nine-year old son, Spencer. When the novel opens, Celeste is in the process of leaving home driven out by Adam’s compulsive gambling, temper and physical violence.
While Celeste wants a ‘clean break’, Adam wants to hold on to his wife and son and, before long, there is a violent episode during which Celeste is rescued by Jake Atwood, a computer business development executive at the company where Adam works.
As a witness to the violence, Jake becomes involved with Adam and Celeste. Meanwhile, Jake’s relationship with married police woman, Sara Montez, is set to become an important element in the plot.
As the novel unfolds the ethical choices faced by Celeste, Adam, Jake and Sara and the consequences of their choices become the driving force of the plot. Klein presents strong and believable characters and this reads like a novel that would translate well for the screen.
While Adam is the villain of the piece, each of the main characters makes decisions that are morally questionable giving the reader much to think about, not least whether a ‘clean break’ is ever really possible, which makes the book a good choice for book clubs. There is even a list of discussion points included at the end.
A paperback edition of Clean Break was provided free of charge by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Clean Break by David Klein by David Klein is published by Broadway Paperbacks. New York, 2012.
Published 5 June 2012.