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Come Home

3.5 147
by Lisa Scottoline

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Jill Farrow is a typical suburban mom who has finally gotten her and her daughter's lives back on track after a divorce. She is about to remarry, her job as a pediatrician fulfills her--though it is stressful--and her daughter, Megan, is a happily over-scheduled thirteen-year-old juggling homework and the swim team.

But Jill's life is turned upside down when her

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Jill Farrow is a typical suburban mom who has finally gotten her and her daughter's lives back on track after a divorce. She is about to remarry, her job as a pediatrician fulfills her--though it is stressful--and her daughter, Megan, is a happily over-scheduled thirteen-year-old juggling homework and the swim team.

But Jill's life is turned upside down when her ex-stepdaughter, Abby, shows up on her doorstep late one night and delivers shocking news: Jill's ex-husband is dead. Abby insists that he was murdered and pleads with Jill to help find his killer. Jill reluctantly agrees to make a few inquiries and discovers that things don't add up. As she digs deeper, her actions threaten to rip apart her new family, destroy their hard-earned happiness, and even endanger her own life. Yet Jill can't turn her back on a child she loves and once called her own.

Come Home reads with the breakneck pacing of a thriller while also exploring the definition of motherhood, asking the questions: Do you ever stop being a mother? Can you ever have an ex-child? What are the limits to love of family?

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Editorial Reviews

author of Bury Your Dead Louise Penny

Save Me is thrilling and infused with love. Brilliant, I couldn't put it down.
author of Tough Customer Sandra Brown

A novel packed with excitement and emotion, Save Me is a gut-clenching, heart-stirring read.
author of Sing You Home and House Rules Jodi Picoult

You won't be able to put this one down.
Emily Giffin

Powerful, provocative, and page-turning!
author of Live to Tell Lisa Gardner

Heart-pounding! Open up Save Me, and save yourself with a great book.
Booklist on Save Me

Scottoline masterfully fits every detail into a tight plot chock-full of real characters, real issues, and real thrills. A story anchored by the impenetrable power of a mother's love, it begs the question, just how far would you go to save your child?

Jill Ruspoli's divorce nearly destroyed her, but now, this hard-working pediatrician is back on her feet, happier than ever, and newly engaged to a kind and thoughtful medical researcher. All that is put implicitly in jeopardy when her ex-stepdaughter Abby arrives at her front door frantic with the news of her former husband's demise. Abby is convinced that her father has been murdered, but even seriously entertaining that question threatens to destabilize everything that Jill has built since her disastrous breakup. Lisa Scottoline's new mystery knots together heart-wrenching personal issues and whodunit suspense. Finely plotted and well-written; a worthy crossover read.

Jules Herbert

Publishers Weekly
Complex family dynamics and carefully concealed secrets drive this gripping stand-alone from Edgar-winner Scottoline (Save Me). Jill Farrow, a Philadelphia pediatrician, and her teenage daughter, Megan, live with Jill’s calm and forbearing fiancé, Sam Becker. When Jill’s estranged 19-year-old ex-stepdaughter, Abby Skyler, rushes into Jill’s home late one rainy night to tell her that her ex-husband, William, is dead, apparently of a drug overdose, Jill can summon little sympathy for the unscrupulous William. When the distraught Abby insists that her father was murdered and that Jill must help her find his killer, Jill is reluctant to get involved, particularly since the police can find no evidence of a crime. As Jill tries to juggle her duties as doctor, mother, and sleuth, her delving into William’s murky past puts emotional strain on Megan and jeopardizes her relationship with Sam. A surfeit of melodrama and some anemic subplots are unlikely to deter the author’s many loyal fans. Author tour. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Literary Agency. (Apr.)
author of Sing You Home and House Rules on Save Me Jodi Picoult

You won't be able to put this one down.
New York Times bestselling author of Heart of the Emily Giffin

Powerful, provocative, and page-turning!
author of Tough Customer on Save Me Sandra Brown

A novel packed with excitement and emotion, Save Me is a gut-clenching, heart-stirring read.
author of Live to Tell on Save Me Lisa Gardner

Heart-pounding! Open up Save Me, and save yourself with a great book.
Sound Commentary

Maggi-Meg Reed's reading of this very emotional thriller is outstanding.
David Baldacci

The suspense and dread build like a series of tornadoes flattening all in their path...The pace is relentless, the twists are jawdropping, and then Scottoline piles ending on top of ending until you turn the last page. As I closed the novel, I thought that, quite simply, Scottoline is a powerhouse.

Scottoline delivers a satisfying thriller with a family saga at its core.
Janet Evanovich

Come Home held me spellbound.
Kristin Hannah

A gripping and compelling novel...Scottoline gets all the details right, and gives all the characters flesh and blood, breath and life. This is a novel that is as full of thrills as it is full of heart.
author of Bury Your Dead on Save Me Louise Penny

Save Me is thrilling and infused with love. Brilliant, I couldn't put it down.
Library Journal
Pediatrician Jill Farrow lives an ordinary suburban life with her 13-year-old daughter, supportive fiancé, and well-fed golden retriever until a midnight visitor turns her idyllic life upside down. Jill's ex-stepdaughter Abby arrives with the news that Jill's ex-husband, William, is dead and she suspects foul play. Despite distaste for her ex and a three-year estrangement from her two stepdaughters, Jill begins investigating William's death to help Abby obtain closure. Fueled by her strong maternal instincts, Abby's quest for the truth propels her into a dangerous cat-and-mouse chase that risks her closest relationships and threatens her life. VERDICT Scottoline (Save Me; Look Again) deftly speeds readers through a dizzying labyrinth of intrigue with more hairpin turns and heart-pounding drops than a theme-park ride. This thrilling testament to a mother's relentless love may well be Scottoline's best novel to date. Her many fans and other mystery/thriller aficionados will want to read it. [300,000-copy first printing; national tour; see Prepub Alert, 10/31/11.]—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Kirkus Reviews
Another stand-alone suspenser that rams home the point that there's no such thing as an ex-mother. Pharmaceutical rep William Skyler blamed his divorce on his wife, Dr. Jill Farrow. He told his daughters, Victoria and Abby, that Jill had cheated on him and forbade them to keep in touch with her or her own daughter Megan. Now, three years later, William is dead, overdosed on prescription medications Abby is convinced he didn't take himself. What's Jill supposed to do when Abby drives unannounced to the home she shares with diabetes researcher Sam Becker, drunk, weeping hysterically and begging for help? Nothing, maintains Sam, who tells Jill that she's choosing continuing loyalty to Abby (and to Victoria, who makes it witheringly clear at William's funeral that she still wants nothing to do with Jill) over her commitment to him and his son Steven. Nothing, say the Philadelphia police, who insist that William's death was no homicide. Nothing, Jill's penny-pinching medical-practice manager Sheryl Ewing says--or would surely say if Jill, already playing out a losing hand in office politics, ever brought it up to her. Naturally, Jill, protesting, "What's a mother, or a stepmother?...Isn't it forever?," takes it upon herself to investigate anyway. Scottoline backs her increasingly beset supermom ("It wasn't a juggling act, it was a magic act") into sleuthing mode with practiced expertise, giving her exactly the right motivations and qualifications for the specific questions she asks. And there'll be a lump in every throat when Abby disappears and when Jill fights to diagnose a baby who keeps getting ear infections. As usual with Scottoline, though, the complications are a lot more satisfying than the windup, in which reason and plausibility take a back seat to tearful family affirmations. Connoisseurs of mother love imperiled will prefer Save Me (2011). But it would be a mistake to count Scottoline out; she's sure to be back next year with another dose that might be even more potent.

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Special Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.06(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Jill stopped on the stairway, listening. She thought she heard a voice calling her from outside, but she’d been wrong before. It was probably the rushing of the rain, or the lash of the wind through the trees. Still, she listened, hoping.

“Babe?” Sam paused on the stair, resting his hand on the banister. He looked back at her, his eyes a puzzled blue behind his glasses. “Did you forget your phone?”

“No, I thought I heard something.” Jill didn’t elaborate. She was in her forties, old enough to have a past and wise enough to keep her thoughts about it to herself.

“What?” Sam asked, patiently. It was almost midnight, and they’d been on their way to bed. The house was dark except for the glass fixture above the stairwell, and the silvery strands in Sam’s thick, dark hair glinted in the low light. Their chubby golden retriever, Beef, was already upstairs, looking down at them from the landing, his buttery ears falling forward.

“It’s nothing, I guess.” Jill started back up the stairs, but Beef swung his head toward the front of the house and gave an excited bark. His tail started to wag, and Jill turned, too, listening again.

Jill! Jill!

“It’s Abby!” Jill heard it for sure, this time. The cry resonated in her chest, speaking directly to her heart. She turned around and hurried for the entrance hall, and Beef scampered downstairs after her, his heavy butt getting ahead of him, like a runaway tractor-trailer.

“Abby who?” Sam called after her. “Your ex’s kid?”

“Yes.” Jill reached the front door, twisted the deadbolt, flicked on the porch light, and threw open the door. Abby wasn’t there, and Jill didn’t see her because it was so dark. There were no streetlights at this end of the block, and the rain obliterated the outlines of the houses and cars, graying out the suburban scene. Suddenly, a black SUV with only one headlight drove past, spotlighting a silhouette that Jill would know anywhere. It was Abby, but she was staggering down the sidewalk as if she’d been injured.

“Sam, call 911!” Jill bolted out of the house and into the storm, diagnosing Abby on the fly. It could have been a hit-and-run, or an aneurysm. Not a stroke, Abby was too young. Not a gunshot or stab wound, in this neighborhood.

Jill tore through the rain. Beef bounded ahead, barking in alarm. The neighbor’s motion-detector went on, casting a halo of light on their front lawn. Abby stumbled off the sidewalk. Her purse slipped from her shoulder and dropped to the ground. Abby took a few more faltering steps, then collapsed, crumpling to the grass.

“Abby!” Jill screamed, sprinting to Abby’s side, kneeling down. Abby was conscious, but crying. Jill reached for her pulse and scanned her head and body for signs of injury, and there were none. Rainwater covered Abby’s face, streaking her mascara and blackening her tears. Her hair stuck to her neck, and rain plastered her thin sundress to her body. Her pulse felt strong and steady, bewildering Jill. “Abby, Abby, what is it?”

“You have to … hold me.” Abby raised her arms. “Please.”

Jill gathered Abby close, shielding her from the rain. She’d held Abby so many times before, and all the times rushed back at her, as if her very body had stored the memories, until that very moment. Jill flashed on the time Abby had fallen off her Rollerblades, breaking an ankle. Then the time Abby had gotten a C on her trig final. The time she didn’t get picked for the travel soccer team. Abby had always been a sensitive little girl, but she wasn’t a little girl anymore, and Jill had never seen her cry so hard.

“Abby, honey, please, tell me, and I can help.”

“I can’t say it … it’s so awful.” Abby sobbed, and Jill caught a distinct whiff of alcohol on her breath and came up to speed. Abby wasn’t injured, she’d been drinking. Jill hadn’t seen her in three years, and Abby had grown up; she’d be nineteen now. Abby sobbed harder. “Jill, Dad’s dead … he’s dead.”

What?” Jill gasped, shocked. Her ex-husband was in excellent health, still in his forties. “How?”

“Somebody … killed him.” Abby dissolved into tears, her body going limp, clinging to Jill. “Please, you have to … help me. I have to find out … who did it.”

Jill hugged her closer, feeling her grief and struggling to process what had happened. She couldn’t imagine William as a murder victim, or a victim of any kind, for that matter, but her first thought was of his daughters, Abby and Victoria, and her own daughter, Megan. The news would devastate all of them, Megan included. William was her stepfather, but the only father she’d ever known. Her real father had died before she was born.

“Babe, what are you doing? Let’s get her into the house!” Sam shouted, to be heard over the rain. He was kneeling on Abby’s other side, though Jill didn’t know when he’d gotten there.

“William’s been murdered,” Jill told him, sounding numb, even to herself.

“I heard. We’re not calling 911, she’s just drunk.” Sam squinted against the brightness of the motion-detector light. Raindrops soaked his hair and dappled his polo shirt. “Let me take her arm. Lift her on one, two, three,” he counted off, tugging Abby’s arm.

“Okay, go.” Jill took Abby’s other arm, and together they hoisted her, sobbing, to her feet, gathered her purse, and half walked and half carried her toward the house, sloshing through the grass, with Beef at their heels.

Jill tried to collect her thoughts, which were in turmoil. She’d always dreamed of seeing Abby again, but not in these circumstances, and she dreaded telling Megan about William. But as agonized as she felt for the girls, Jill wouldn’t shed a tear for her ex-husband. There was a reason she had divorced the man, and it was a whopper.

And evidently, not only the good died young.


Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Scottoline

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Come Home 3.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 147 reviews.
simple344 More than 1 year ago
I've read many books by this author, so naturally had to get the this book. Engaging Quick Read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was very disappointed in this latest book by Lisa Scottoline. It was not up to her usual novels and I had a tough time getting through it. The main character was very unlikeable. Anyone who is a fan of Lisa Scottoline's book and has been eagerly awaiting this book will be just as disappointed as I was
MysteryLover14 More than 1 year ago
I always pre-order any book by Ms. Scottoline. I have read almost all her books -- This one, however, proved to be a disappointment. When there were about 100 pages left, I almost set the book aside. I was frankly just tired of waiting for something to start. Then, within those last pages, Lisa threw in all the resolutions to the various plots and subplots, Much of it seemed far-fetched and contrived --- I didn't believe her being a doctor -- she didn't truly seem devoted to her career. I have seen in print, this book referred to as a thriller. It is in no way a thriller. And, it definitely lacks what I've seen as Lisa's skill in mystery writing. I miss Bennie Rosato and the girls and those mysteries. Lisa, please return to your true talent as a mystery writer!
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
Did not care for this book – very slow, long and drawn out! The whining drove me nuts on the audio and could not wait for it to end. Would not recommend! Jill is about to remarry and her ex-stepdaughter shows up stating Jill’s ex-husband is dead. Abby insists that he was murdered and pleads with Jill to help find his killer. Jill reluctantly agrees and opens up a world she did not know from her ex-husband’s life and gets in the middle of the downfall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So simplistic, such an utterly dilikable protagonist, characters not fleshed out i wanted to quit reading but i paid for the book and presumed it had to get better. it didn't. This woman would have been dead fifteen times. The author made jill smarter than the fbi and the cia and the police and she was a pediatrician also. Do not buy this book unless you enjoy being irritated
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read......but please bring back Bennie, Mary, and the gang back as soon as you can! They have become like family. I KNOW you like to be challenged by new characters......and I have enjoyed them all, but Bennie and her team have a lot of good stories left for you to tell!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good Job & good storyline. I enjoyed this so much. It held my attention and I wanted to see what was going to happen so kept reading. The author took time to develop the characters very well, no by time the story was over you felt like they were family. I'd recommend it, worth the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is different from Lisa Scottoline's earlier novels but highly interesting. I could not put this book down. She gives new insight to being a mother and step-mother together with some legal action toward the end of the book. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seriously...... I was on edge from the very beginning of this book. I loved it and I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a suspenseful novel with a touch of heartfelt drama and heartpounding twists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Different from Scottoline's other books. Overall book was good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading this book and have decided to read some other books by this author. Lots of twists and turns to keep you interested.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First time I read a book by this author. Was so nice to read a book without bad language & sex! Am looking forward to reading more by Lisa Scottoline! Would recommend to everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to force myself to read this book. The characters were boring. The entire book was boring. I feel cheated because I paid $30 for this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book. Engaging and a quick read.
Anonymous 11 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great fast paced mystery
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Toooo good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im sorry, but im straight...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He thrust in and out.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do!