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Don't Go
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Don't Go

3.7 133
by Lisa Scottoline

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New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline breaks new ground and delivers the story of a soldier who discovers what it means to be a man, a father, and ultimately, a hero.

When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he's acutely aware of the dangers he'll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn


New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline breaks new ground and delivers the story of a soldier who discovers what it means to be a man, a father, and ultimately, a hero.

When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he's acutely aware of the dangers he'll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn't think of himself as a warrior, but a healer.

However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies in their kitchen, a victim of an apparent household accident. Devastated, Mike returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. His medical practice is in jeopardy, and he is a complete stranger to the only family he has left: his precious baby girl. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.

As layer upon layer of lies are revealed, Mike soon realizes that the most important battle of his life faces him on the home front, and he'll have to put it all on the line to save what's dearest to him. Gripping, thrilling, and profoundly emotional, Don't Go is Lisa Scottoline at her finest.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This stand-alone from Scottoline (Come Home) effectively tugs at the emotions even as it verges on the melodramatic. Mike Scanlon, a reservist in the Army Medical Corps serving in Afghanistan, is allowed to return for one week to his suburban Philadelphia home to bury his wife, Chloe, who apparently died in an odd household accident. Overcome with grief, Mike realizes that he’s a stranger to his seven-month-old daughter—and that Chloe was hiding a shocking secret. After a horrific war injury brings him home for good, Mike begins an out-of-control campaign to uncover Chloe’s secret life, risking the loss of custody of his daughter, his health, and his own freedom. When Chloe’s best friend is murdered, Mike suspects that his wife’s death was no accident. Mike’s Job-like trials push the boundaries of believability, but his journey to make peace with himself and be a father to his daughter will resonate with many readers. 300,000-copy first printing; author tour. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Literary Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Narrator Jeremy Davidson enhances the story with a variety of voices.” —AudioFile Magazine
Library Journal
When he deployed to Afghanistan for the Army Medical Corps, Mike Scanlon left behind an enviable life, with a beautiful wife, an infant daughter, and a prospering practice as a podiatrist/orthopedic surgeon. Six months later, a freak accident changes Mike’s world forever. As Mike struggles with the aftermath and searches for answers, he soon learns that his bad luck has only just begun. Despite an overwhelming share of tragedy, betrayal, and rejection, Mike maintains his unwavering love for his daughter, Emily. After a series of bad choices, Mike finds his life spiraling deeper into a hopeless quagmire of despair, eventually learning what it’s like to lose everything.

Verdict This is not your typical Scottoline novel…it is Scottoline on steroids. In her first book featuring a male protagonist, Scottoline spins a compelling drama that reads like the literary lovechild of Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks. Readers will fall in love with this war vet father who fights seemingly insurmountable odds, and his powerfully addictive story will haunt them long after the final page.—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A cascade of melodramatic reversals for a podiatric surgeon, who returns from Afghanistan to find even more trouble waiting at home. Dr. Mike Scanlon's wife, art teacher Chloe Voulette, begged him not to leave her and their new daughter, Emily, when his Army Medical Corps reserve unit was called up. Now it's too late for him to tell Chloe he's sorry. Tipsy from the vodka she's been hitting, she accidentally stabs her arm while she's loading the dishwasher and bleeds out on her kitchen floor. The 10-day emergency leave the Army allows Mike is just long enough for him to make arrangements for Chloe's funeral, satisfy himself that Emily is in the best of hands with Chloe's sister, Danielle, and her lawyer husband, Bob Ridgeway, and discover that Emily has no idea who he is and doesn't like him. Back in Helmand province, Mike endures a bone-jolting series of calamities that send him back stateside, this time for good. But his second homecoming is no happier than his first. The job he's been promised by his old partner is a far cry from his old job; Emily still cries whenever he picks her up; he realizes that Chloe had been having an affair; and her best friend, fellow teacher Sara Hambera, is murdered before she can tell him anything about who Chloe's lover might have been. Unfortunately, Mike reacts to all these shocks like a bull in a china shop. In a trice, he's been arrested for assault, sued by the man he thinks cuckolded him and threatened with the permanent loss of Emily to Danielle and Bob. In the hands of many another novelist, this nightmare would spiral further down to a grim conclusion, but Scottoline (Come Home, 2012, etc.) has a fairy-tale ending in reserve. The author's recent crossover novels have mostly featured imperiled or hard-used heroines like those of Mary Higgins Clark. This time Scottoline varies the pattern by making her heroine a hero. A surprisingly successful attempt to retool the damsel-in-distress formula.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Chloe woke up on the floor, her thoughts foggy. She must have fallen and knocked herself out when she hit the hardwood. She started to get up, but felt dizzy and eased back down. The kitchen was dark except for pinpoints of light on the coffeemaker, TV, and cable box, like a suburban constellation.
She tried to understand how long she’d been lying here. The last thing she remembered, she was rinsing the dishes after lunch, eyeing the sun through the window, like a big, fresh shiny yolk in the sky. Yellow was her favorite color, and she always tried to get it into her painting. Chloe used to teach art in middle school, but now she was a new mom with no time to shower, much less paint.
She heard a mechanical ca-thunk, and the Christmas lights went on outside. Red, green, and blue glimmered on the wetness underneath her, which seemed to be spreading. Her gaze traveled to its edge, where her Maine Coon, Jake, sat in silhouette under the table, his ears translucent triangles, backlit by the multicolored lights.
Chloe reached for a chair to pull herself up, but was oddly weak and slumped to the floor. She felt cold, though the kitchen had a southern exposure and stayed warm, even in winter. She needed help, but was alone. Her sister Danielle and her brother-in-law Bob had come over for lunch, then Danielle had taken the baby Christmas shopping and Bob had gone to work. They didn’t have children, and Danielle had been happy to take Emily to the mall by herself.
We can pick out Christmas presents for you and Mike!
Chloe closed her eyes, wishing her husband Mike were here, but he was a reservist in the Army Medical Corps, serving in Afghanistan. He’d be home in a month, and she was counting the days. She’d prayed he wouldn’t be called up because he was thirty-six years old, and when the deployment orders came, she’d taken it badly. She’d simply dissolved into tears, whether from sleep deprivation, crazed hormones, or worry.
Mike, please, I’m begging you. Don’t go.
Suddenly Chloe realized something. The Christmas lights were controlled by a timer that turned them on at five o’clock, which meant Bob and Danielle would be back at any minute. She had to hide the vodka she’d left out on the counter. Nobody could know about her drinking, especially not Danielle. Chloe should have been more careful, but she was a beginner alcoholic.
She reached for the chair and hoisted herself up partway. The kitchen whirled, a mad blur of Christmas lights. She clung to the chair, feeling dizzy, cold, and spacey, as if she were floating on a frigid river. Her hand slipped, and the chair wobbled. Jake sprang backwards, then resettled into a crouch.
She put her hands on the floor to lift her chest up, like a push-up, but the wetness was everywhere. Under her hands, between her fingers, soaking her shirt. It didn’t smell like vodka. The fog in her brain cleared, and Chloe remembered she’d been loading the dishwasher, and the chef’s knife had slipped, slicing the underside of her arm. Bright red blood had spurted from the wound, and she’d fainted. She always fainted at the sight of blood, and Mike used to kid her.
The doctor’s wife, who’s afraid of blood.
Chloe looked at her left arm in horror. It was covered with blood, reflecting the holiday lights. Blood. Her mouth went dry. She’d been bleeding all afternoon. She could bleed to death.
“Help!” she called out, but her voice sounded far away. She had to get to her cell phone and call 911. She dragged herself through the slippery blood to the base cabinet, clawed the door for the handle, and grabbed it on the second try. She tried to pull herself up but had no strength left. She clung to the handle.
Chloe spotted her laptop to her right, on its side. She must have knocked it off the counter when she fell. Her best friend Sara was always online, and Chloe could g-chat her for help. She slid the laptop toward her and hit the keys with a slick palm, but the monitor didn’t light up. She didn’t know if it was off or broken.
She shoved it aside, getting a better idea. She would crawl to the front door and out to the sidewalk. The neighbors or someone driving by would see her. She started crawling, her breath ragged. The front door lay directly down the hall, behind a solid expanse of hardwood and an area rug. She dragged herself toward it, smearing blood across the kitchen threshold.
Hope surged in her chest. Her arms ached but they kept churning. She pulled herself into the hallway. She kept her eye on the front door. It had a window on the top half, and she could see the Christmas lights on the porch. She had put them up herself, for Emily’s first Christmas.
The door lay thirty feet ahead, but Chloe felt her legs begin to weaken. Her arms were failing, but she couldn’t give up. She was a mother. She had a precious baby, only seven months old.
Chloe moved forward on her elbows, but more slowly, like a car running out of gas. Still she kept going. The front door was only fifteen feet away. Then thirteen, then ten. She had to make it.
Go, go, go. Nine, eight, seven feet left.
Chloe reached the edge of the area rug, but couldn’t go another inch. Her forehead dropped to the soft wool. Her body flattened. Her eyes closed as if they were sealed. She felt her life ebb away, borne off in a sea of her own blood. Suddenly she heard a noise, outside the house. A car was pulling into the driveway, its engine thrumming.
Thank God!
She heard the sound of a car door opening and closing, then footsteps on the driveway. They were slow because the driveway was icy in patches, the rock salt melting it unevenly.
Hurry, hurry, hurry.
Chloe remembered the front door was unlocked, a lucky break. She was supposed to lock it behind Danielle, who had been carrying Emily, the diaper bag, and her purse, but she had forgotten. It would serve her well, now. Whoever was coming could see her through the window, rush in, and call 911.
The footsteps drew closer to the door, but Chloe didn’t recognize them. She didn’t know Bob or Danielle by their footstep. It could be anybody.
Please God hurry
The footsteps reached the front door, and Chloe heard the mechanical turning of the doorknob. The door unlatched, and she felt a vacuum as it swung open. Frigid air blasted her from the open doorway. Her hair blew into her face, but she couldn’t even open her eyes.
Help me help me call 911
She heard the footsteps walk to her, then stop near her head. But whoever it was didn’t call her name, rush to her side, or cry out in alarm.
What is going on why aren’t you calling 911
She heard the footsteps walk back to the door.
Wait don’t go please help me
She heard the sound of the front door closing.
No come back please help I’m—
The latch engaged with a quiet click.

Copyright © 2013 by Smart Blonde, LLC

Meet the Author

LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of eighteen novels. A past president of the Mystery Writers of America, her recent novel Look Again has been optioned for a feature film. She is a weekly columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and her columns have been collected into books and optioned for television. Published in thirty countries, she has 25 million copies of her books in print in the United States. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets.

Jeremy Davidson won an AudioFile Earphones Award for Allan Folsom's The Machiavelli Covenant. He has also narrated books including Elise Broach's critically-acclaimed children's book Masterpiece, as well as titles by Robert Edsel, Eric Van Lustbader, and Ray Lemoine.

Brief Biography

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Birth:
July 1, 1955
Place of Birth:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981

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Don't Go 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 133 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first Lisa Scottoline book I've read. I sure hope her other stuff is much better than this. The dialogue is unrealistic, the plot not believable, and I was never able to develop any feeling for the main character. Time NOT well spent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is interesting in that Scottoline tells it from a male point of view. This is a departure from her usual approach. Grief over his wife's death notwithstanding, it's hard to believe a physician and soldier could be such a wuss when it comes to caring for his own child.
The_IE_Mommy More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a thriller! I had no idea what to expect but this book got off to a chilling start and the suspense continued to build from there in Don’t Go, Lisa Scottoline’s latest. I listened to the audio version so I couldn’t go any faster than the reader but this quick paced story kept me enthralled the entire way through. Audio books usually take me a little while to get into because I have to get used to the different voices by the same reader. This one pulled me in a lot quicker than usual where I was able to get completely lost in the story and wasn’t distracted by the reader. Mike Scanlon has one misfortune after another beginning with his wife’s death. Things really fall apart when he comes home to bury his wife to a daughter who doesn’t know him and his practice falling apart. Things go from bad to worse when he discovers what his wife had been up to when he was gone. He questions everything he knows and loves. He returns to Afghanistan and tries to bury himself in his work. Catastrophe seems to follow him wherever he goes and when it strikes again in Afghanistan, he returns home for good. Trying to get his life back proves to be a bigger challenge then he could have dreamed. Things continue to go wrong in every possible way. Darkness is his constant companion as the life he once knew slips out of his grasp. Scottoline makes you feel empathy for Mike on the deepest level possible, despair for his predicaments and hope that he will be able to pull it together and get his life back. Life is hard to Mike and he has to fight for what he believes to be true and repair what has been broken in his life. Don’t Go is a suspenseful dramatic mystery that will keep you in the dark until the very end. It is a true testament to the human spirit and what one can accomplish if they set their mind to it and never give up.
bettysunflower More than 1 year ago
Mike is a surgeon and a reservist who was called up to serve in Afghanistan. He is a month away from going home when he is contacted that his wife has died in a freak home accident. He flies home and is met by his sister-in-law and her husband who have been watching Mike's infant, Emily, since his wife died. Emily cried when Mike tried to hold her so his sister-in-law took Emily back. Everyone was still so upset from the loss of Chloe, Mike's wife. They were all sensitive to the fact that Emily was so young and had no idea what was going on and that she missed her mother. Right after the funeral, Mike returned to Afghanistan. He had signed paperwork that his brother-in-law (a lawyer) brought to him which gave Bob, and his wife, Daniel temporary custody of Emily for as long as needed. Back in Afghanistan there was a doctor shortage made worse when a grenade was thrown into a cluster of people, killing several of the surgeons. Mike witnessed the horror of his friends deaths and felt partly responsible. So that when he was pressured to re-up for another year he finally agreed. Just as the year was ending, Mike was in a convoy when it was attacked. The doors in his vehicle were jammed but he was able to get out and save the other occupants. During the fire fight he ran to one friend that was unconscious and threw himself on top of the guy. Mike was injured during this attack which led to his going home a bit early. This is where the real story begins and I do not want to spoil it for you so I will stop there. The book is very well written and easy to follow. The characters are wonderful and help you get 'lost' in the telling of the story. It has a good story line that is well presented and keeps you turning pages long after bed time.
JULIANN1 More than 1 year ago
I don't quite know what to say. For years now I have purchased Lisa's books the day they have come out, but increasingly they have fallen short of her previous standards. This one—I am speechless. I don't know about the story yet, as I have only read about 50 pages, but her writing is very poor, trite, and careless. I could give several examples, but he sentence that prompted this review is a classic grammatical affront: " . . . and a Christmas tree decorated with tiny white lights blinked like electrified stars." I don't think so. Perhaps it should be the lights blinking, not the tree! For the first time, I may not finish one of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a book was great reading from start to finish. Heart breaking at times with some tears and at the same time heart warming
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually don't read many books of his author, I think its the 2nd one and i enjoyed it very much. I will be looking a what else she has written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was written very well. The story was gripping and grabbed my attention from the first chapter. I tried to predict the outcome of the story, but was surprised by the actual ending of the book. I would highly recommend this book. Good for discussion in a book club.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a fan of Lisa Scottoline's books and have read many of them. This one is different than the norm, which is ok when a novelist attempts to try something new. But I didn't enjoy it, mostly because the main character was an annoying, unlikable guy. He did one stupid thing after another, and it didn't feel like it was caused by PTSD brought on by the war...it just seemed like he was a jerk. The sister-in-law and her husband felt hollow and unrealistic. The scenes in Afghanistan felt very real and they were very disturbing, as they should be, so this part of the story was fairly well done (although I prefer to avoid books about war, so this was unexpected). Although I felt compelled to finish reading it, I couldn't wait to reach the end, and be done with it. Very unsatisfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was to scattered an not really belieavable.
Morleysplace More than 1 year ago
I was truly disappointed -- I'd not read a Lisa Scottaline in a while and was looking forward to getting back to her work since I've missed a few -- thought I'd start with this which I found unreadable, with an almost diadatic droaning-on tone. I thought it all very unlike what I'd read of Scottaline so am very disappointed. Perhaps it gets better later, but I put it away for now, not willing to finish. Maybe I'll try again later, but there's too many books out there and too little time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story was so well written. The character development was wonderful. I couldnt put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one great story. Love it and am not quite finished reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down, the author does a good job of connecting to your emotions. I cried, I cussed but most of all I really enjoyed this book. I would highly recommend it for others to read as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another good one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to.put down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Kept you guessing throughout the book. First book I have read by this author. Look forward to reading other books by Lisa Scottoline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Something really needs to be done to these rude plot spoilers who insist on revealing details of the story line. That is rude and inconsiderate. Please stop. Other readers would like to tead the book for themselves and not have you people give us the readers digest condensed version. Please bn, stop these plot spoilers....please?
Hilda241 More than 1 year ago
As usual an excellent read by Lisa Scottoline. The reader is immediately swooped up into the life of the protagonist Dr. Mike Scanlon. At times I felt like shaking him and telling him to get off the drugs and act like a father. How could anyone leave a child with a man with such anger management issues and drug dependency problems? I felt his brother-in-law was right to kick him out of his house under those circumstances. The book for me was emotionally charged and toward the end I became very frustrated with Dr. Mike and wished he'd drop out of the picture completely. Even though the book was interesting and a fast read, I still enjoyed Ms Scottoline's early books about the law office and its characters more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kept my interest throughout the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK, this was good, I can't say it wasn't. Scottoline is a great author - I've read a number of her books. But as one of the reviews stated, it just seemed like WAY too much crap was happening to this guy. And everything that happened to him when he returned from Afghanistan the 2nd time seems like it took place over the course of at least a month or two and yet it was only a week!? And when Mike found the lawyer Stephanie, my first thought was "Great! She's a good choice, she'll help him." But the coverage of the trial and her constantly telling him YOU'RE DOING GREAT! WE'RE WINNING! DON'T WORRY! when it seemed pretty clear to me that he was being thrown to the wolves and buried. I thought she was an idiot. LOL! Then she hauled off and got so pissed at him. YET, they end up together. Go figure. So, it kept my interest and I mostly enjoyed it........... but was it one of her best? Nah.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book. It was disjointed, the dialogue was slow, sluggish n did not flow. quite frankly, it was extremely boring n monotonous. i am a fan of Lisa's books but I have to say that this was a big disappointment for me and very poorly written.i can't believe that Lisa wrote this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put the book down. Read it in one week!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. It was an easy read and also kept your interest because you knew how you wanted the book to end, but when certain situations arose you weren't quite sure how it could happen. Another Lisa Scottoline Success!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book by LISA was a departure from the others she has written. I enjoyed it very much. It will make a good beach read