Mad Max: Unintended Consequences
Reviewed by Wayne L. White
Betsy Ashton's first novel portends well for her budding career as an author. From the start, Ms. Ashton engages the reader in the upper-class New York Sac's Fifth Avenue world of grandmothers who take pleasure in their station in life and the money that supports their material desires. But life has another role for Maxine Davies. An automobile accident puts her daughter Merry in the hospital with serious injuries and Max rushes to Richmond, Virginia and her daughter's bedside where she takes over her daughter's role in raising her two grandchildren, Emilie and Alex. A son-in-law whose work keeps him away from home for protracted periods complicates matters and Max immediately finds herself the sole caretaker of her precocious grandchildren―not so demanding, but ties Max to Richmond while she yearns for her friends and the concrete canyons of New York.
When Merry is finally released from the hospital, she is mentally incapable of tending to the needs of her children, leaving it all to Max who clearly states that she's done enough child raising for one lifetime. Meanwhile, Merry has developed a relationship with a plastic surgeon who has a mesmerizing hold on his patient and has taken control of Merry's life and decisions.
The delicious plot thickens at this point and I won't be a spoiler. But as I mentioned to Betsy, “My Kindle is about to explode. Someone is going to die!” Max and her grandchildren suddenly become the hunted and the hunters. You won't put it down, so don't plan to read it to calm your mind before sleep.
From a population of well-developed characters to the scenic background of New York and Richmond to the world of grandchildren with special abilities, Ms. Ashton adorns each passage with page-turning urgency. Mad Max: Unintended Consequences not only satisfies, but leaves the reader impatiently waiting for the next chapter in the life of five-star Mad Max.