The Crighton family gathers for a second go-round (after The Perfect Family), this time featuring Max, the rottenest apple in the Crighton barrel. A sadistic, abusive, profoundly unlikable lawyer, Max thinks of female divorce clients as fodder for his bedroom, and infants as blind kittens to be drowned. He tells his wife, Maddy, that he closes his eyes and thinks about her trust fund whenever they make love. When Max goes off to Jamaica, supposedly to find his brother, David (who disappeared in the previous book), Maddy gets a taste of independence. A brutal attack and near-death experience bring Max a spiritual awakening that changes his life and gives Maddy renewed hope for their future together. Unfortunately, Max's metamorphosis will likely come too late for readers; forgiving him, and learning to like him, are impossible, so convincing is Jordan's portrait of his earlier, distasteful personality.