TPCR: Chapter 5

Just as Lucas and Erin are enjoying their coffee, and Lucas seems just about to say something significant, when…

Max is awakened from his nap by a night terror.

Apparently, these are a not-uncommon occurrence since little Max saw his father get shot in a drug deal gone bad, after which the dealers kidnapped Max and “locked him in a windowless room not much bigger than a closet.”

Poor little guy.


That’s pretty dark stuff there, so kudos to the author for Going There, and for acknowledging that this is something that it will take some time for Max to process.  Then again, seeing as how the kidnappers did this because they “were afraid Max would be able to identify them,” which makes me wonder why they didn’t just shoot the kid, too.

Yeah, I can Go There, too.

Then again, perhaps I am not giving credit where it is due.  Perhaps they were planning to kill Max, but Lucas found him first.  This sequence of events was apparently the subplot of the previous book in the series.

(And we finally learn about Max’s mother, who died of an overdose a year ago.)

But back to the night terror itself: Lucas handles it masterfully, first simply holding Max and letting him calm down, then redirecting with talk of the cookies he made.  This works very well, and rather puts the lie to Erin’s belief that God “needs” to show Lucas how to be a good father.

Lucas opens up to Erin and shares the whole story with her, and then they take some time to call back to characters introduced in the previous books, including Lucas and Mei’s cousin, Arabella, and her triplet daughters, who have already made friends with Max.  This is important for our story because Arabella and her now-fiance are connected to a very young couple, Jasmine and Cade, who only just graduated high school this year, but are getting married, too.

(On Christmas Eve, which is pretty cool.)


This prompts Lucas to rather offhandedly say:

“They’re pretty young to tie themselves down like that.  They have their whole future ahead of them.”

This Erin takes as proof that Lucas was “relieved” that she refused him that night seven years ago.  And he kinda is, but mostly because it is just now dawning on him that Erin “deserved better than what he’d offered the night he left town.”  So, out first regret from Lucas!

Looks like it might be time for me to resurrect Actually Not That Bad.  It’s had quite a rest, what with Michael Murphy being around and all, but I am liking this character development.


Posted on December 7, 2016, in Actually Not That Bad, The Prodigal's Christmas Reunion. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Hooray for a decent chapter! Sadly, I doubt that Erin will take Lucas’ handling of Max’s night terror as evidence that he knows how to be a good father without a belief in god. I suspect she’s still going to try to get him to convert later on in this book.

  2. You know what, I don’t think I’ve seen a thing so far that actually makes me dislike Lucas. Add another positive tally: he’s conscious of the fact that the romantic impulses of youth are rarely wise, especially his own such impulses.

    I think he’s the only person here with his head not up his ass. Which means he and Max should run. Run now!

  3. rather puts the lie to Erin’s belief that God “needs” to show Lucas how to be a good father.

    I suspect Erin (and the author’s) operating definition of “good father” begins with indoctrinating your child into Christianity.

  4. Wait, if Lucas rescuing Max was a subplot in a previous book, and Lucas is still a Heathen now, that would mean the previous Christian novel let a non-Christian be heroic? That’s a first. Too bad the author is going to tie up that loose end now.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for December 9th, 2016 | The Slacktiverse

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