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The Pact
Cover of The Pact
The Pact
A Love Story
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"Engrossing...The Pact is compelling reading."—PeopleIn this heart-rending tale of love and friendship, Jodi Picoult brings to life a familiar world, and in a single terrifying moment awakens...
"Engrossing...The Pact is compelling reading."—PeopleIn this heart-rending tale of love and friendship, Jodi Picoult brings to life a familiar world, and in a single terrifying moment awakens...
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Description-

  • "Engrossing...The Pact is compelling reading."—People

    In this heart-rending tale of love and friendship, Jodi Picoult brings to life a familiar world, and in a single terrifying moment awakens every parent's worst fear: We think we know our children . . . but do we ever really know them at all?

    The Golds and the Hartes, neighbors for eighteen years, have always been inseparable. So have their children—and it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. But the bonds of family, friendship, and passion—which had seemed so indestructible—suddenly threaten to unravel in the wake of unimaginable tragedy.

    When midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the truth. Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris pilfered from his father's cabinet—a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris describes.

    This extraordinary, poignant novel paints an indelible portrait of two families in anguish . . . and creates an astonishingly suspenseful courtroom drama as Chris is put on trial for murder.


Excerpts-

  • Chapter One

    Now

    November 1997

    There was nothing left to say.

    He covered her body with his, and as she put her arms around him she could picture him in all his incarnations: age five, and still blond; age eleven, sprouting; age thirteen, with the hands of a man. The moon rolled, sloe-eyed in the night sky; and she breathed in the scent of his skin. "I love you," she said.

    He kissed her so gently she wondered if she had imagined it. She pulled back slightly, to look into his eyes.

    And then there was a shot.

    Although there had never been a standing reservation made, the rear corner table of the Happy Family Chinese restaurant was always saved on Friday nights for the Hartes and the Golds, who had been coming there for as long as anyone could remember. Years ago, they had brought the children, littering the crowded nook with high chairs and diaper bags until it was nearly impossible for the waiters to maneuver the steaming platters of food onto the table. Now, it was just the four of them, blustering in one by one at six o'clock and gravitating close as if, together, they exerted some kind of magnetic pull.

    James Harte had been first to arrive. He'd been operating that afternoon and had finished surprisingly early. He picked up the chopsticks in front of him, slipped them from their paper packet, and cradled them between his fingers like surgical instruments.

    "Hi," Melanie Gold said, suddenly across from him. "I guess I'm early."

    "No," James answered. "Everyone else is late."

    "Really?" She shrugged out of her coat and balled it up beside her. "I was hoping I was early. I don't think I've ever been early."

    "You know," James said, considering, "I don't think you ever have."

    They were linked by the one thing they had in common—Augusta Harte—but Gus had not yet arrived. So they sat in the companionable awkwardness caused by knowing extremely private things about each other that had never been directly confided, but rather blurted by Gus Harte to her husband in bed or to Melanie over a cup of coffee. James cleared his throat and flipped the chopsticks around his fingers with dexterity. "What do you think?" he asked, smiling at Melanie. "Should I give it all up? Become a drummer?"

    Melanie flushed, as she always did when she was put on the spot. After years of sitting with a reference desk wrapped around her waist like a hoop skirt, concrete answers came easily to her; nonchalance didn't. If James had asked, "What is the current population of Addis Ababa?" or "Can you tell me the actual chemicals in a photographic fixing bath?" she'd never have blushed, because the answers would never have offended him. But this drummer question? What exactly was he looking for?

    "You'd hate it," Melanie said, trying to sound flippant. "You'd have to grow your hair long and get a nipple ring or something like that."

    "Do I want to know why you're talking about nipple rings?" Michael Gold said, approaching the table. He leaned down and touched his wife's shoulder, which passed for an embrace after so many years of marriage.

    "Don't get your hopes up," Melanie said. "James wants one, not me."

    Michael laughed. "I think that's automatic grounds for losing your board certification."

    "Why?" James frowned. "Remember that Nobel laureate we met on the cruise to Alaska last summer? He had a hoop through his eyebrow."

    "Exactly," Michael said. "You don't have to have board certification to create a poem entirely out of curse words." He shook out his napkin and settled it in his lap. "Where's Gus?"

    James checked his watch. He lived by it; Gus didn't wear one at all. It drove him crazy. "I think she was taking Kate to a friend's for a sleepover."

    "Did you order yet?" Michael asked.

    "Gus orders..."

About the Author-

  • JODI PICOULT is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-six novels. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction, the ALA's Alex Award, the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Literary Merit, and the prestigious Sarah Josepha Hale Award in recognition of her distinguished body of written work. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband. They have three children. You can visit her website at wwww.jodipicoult.com

Reviews-

  • Financial Times

    "It's hard to exaggerate how well Picoult writes." — Financial Times

    "Picoult is a skilled wordsmith, and she beautifully creates situations that not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us." — Boston Globe

    "Picoult always tells both sides of a story not with judgment, but with grace." — Washington Post

    "Picoult is a writer who understands her characters inside and out." — Roxane Gay, New York Times Book Review

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    HarperCollins
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