Jill's Reviews > Stash

Stash by David Matthew Klein
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Jun 21, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: first-reads
Read in June, 2010

Debut author David Klein knows his stuff…or one might say, his stash. I was hooked from the opening chapter of this very assured first book, which abounds with highly authentic characters and morally ambiguous situations, tempered with psychological suspense. By the last page, I was a definite fan.

My advice to readers: ignore the publisher’s lurid tagline “a page-turning story of suburbia and its secrets.” This is a far more nuanced book that asks important questions: how far would you go to do the right thing? What is the right thing, anyway? And how do drugs permeate our society? There are no “pat” answers; Klein explores the moral dilemmas without sermonizing. That in itself is a relief.

The central character, Gwen Raine, is an attractive suburban mother who engages in recreational pot smoking. Through an unfortunate chain of events, she is involved in a car accident with an elderly driver who suffers from Altzheimer’s; he is clearly at fault. Because of drug problems in the community, the cops intend to turn her into a scapegoat. They pressure her to give up her “source” – who just happens to be her old boyfriend, Jude.

At the same time, her husband Brian, the marketing director at a pharmaceutical company, is engaged in his own ethical dilemma: his anxiety-fighting drug, Zuprone, is being prescribed as an off-label treatment for weight loss. Unfortunately, several users are experiencing an undesirable side effect that the company wishes to quench.

The details that Klein uses are remarkably accurate. He obviously has carefully researched the drug chain – fascinating reading in itself. As a marketing person, I recognized the ways that pharmaceuticals are promoted to target physicians.

And I particularly appreciated that Klein did not turn this into a simplistic “right or wrong” issue; he explores the ethical ambiguities that lie at the heart of each issue. This is a well-plotted book with crisp dialogue, well-rendered characters, and thought-provoking themes. DEFINTELY recommended!
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switterbug (Betsey) Jill--that is a superb review. You nailed it perfectly, and with your own economical yet descriptive prose. Your review reminded me how much I enjoyed this book. It is rare to find a book with these kinds of issues that doesn't sermonize. Klein did it!


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