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Counterfeit Son

by Elaine Marie Alphin

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2089102,666 (3.83)10
When serial killer Hank Miller is killed in a shoot-out with police, his abused son Cameron adopts the identity of one of his father's victims in order to find a better life.
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» See also 10 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This book is a pretty captivating read for older children/ young adults. The plot is pretty dark and I would suggest it only for mature readers. The story is essentially about a boy who finds out his father is a serial killer. There's many twists and turns in the story and the boy eventually finds out his father was not really his father after all. The boy was kidnapped when he was a baby. The book is captivating while still addressing the identity crisis of the young man. ( )
  mbogits | Oct 15, 2012 |
Teenagers love books about one of their own getting out of an abusive situation and this book fits the bill. It opens with a young man escaping the basement of a house where he had been beaten and locked up and where other boys had been buried. At the same time the police arrive and a shoot out ends in the death of the abuser, his father.

Cameron had plenty of time to read all the files his father kept on the other boys so when he was found he identified himself as Neil Lacey, one of the other victims. He chose this identity because the articles mentioned his family owned a sailboat and he liked to sail.

He seemed to be acclimating again to his family except for his perceptive and bitter sister. She and the younger brother had plenty to deal with after his disappearance. And then Pop's cohort, Cougar, was released from prison and is shaking him down with the threat of abducting his brother.

Will his family learn of his true identity? Or will he learn about his own real identity?

Good story. ( )
  mamzel | Oct 2, 2012 |
I practically inhaled this book in ninth grade. I've since read it four times; there aren't a whole lot of books that can claim that. The story is brilliant, the character development is fascinating and the ending is incredible (though predictable to an adult me). ( )
  benuathanasia | Sep 5, 2012 |
Counterfeit Son, the 2000 Edgar Award Winner, is a dark and disturbing story about a teenage boy, Cameron who was held captive and sexually abused for years by Pop. In addition, Cameron witnessed the abuse and murder of dozens of other young boys and was forced to help dispose of the bodies. While Pop was brutalizing the boys, Cameron would hide in the far corner of the dark basement behind a filing cabinet in an attempt to get as far away from the screams as possible. He would distract himself by reading the newspaper clippings about the missing boys Pop kept in the cabinet. This is how he learns everything about one of the missing boys, Neil Lacey, whom Cameron helped dig a hole for and bury beneath the dirt floor of the basement. When Pop is killed by the police, Cameron is finally able to escape his life of abuse and leave if far behind by assuming the identity of the missing Neil Lacey.

Pretending to be Neil, Cameron "returns" home to the Lacey house after being abducted six years earlier. His family is overjoyed at his return and are patient with the "lapses" in his memory and his episodes of "amnesia" - something they were told to anticipate by the police. Cameron becomes increasingly nervous that his charade will be discovered when he is continually unable to recall certain details and events that are crucial to Neil's identity. He is certain Neil's body will be discovered in the basement and identified during the investigation. Will he be arrested and charged for impersonating Neil Lacey? Will he be charged as an accomplice to the murder of all of those boys? ( )
  Reif_Reviews | Jan 19, 2012 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

For years, a young boy lives with a serial killer and witnesses horrible acts of abuse and killing. Convinced that he has been "bad" and the beatings he receives are intended to correct his behavior, he follows the orders of his captor by attending school daily as if nothing is wrong, appearing in public places calmly and quietly, and returning to help his captor hide evidence and bury the bodies of other not-so-lucky boys.

When the serial killer is finally caught in a police raid, the young boy, who for years has been told he is the son of the killer, decides his only chance for a better life is to pretend to be one the missing boys. Neil Lacey's parents can hardly believe that the son they lost six years ago has been returned. Although at least one detective is suspicious of such a happy ending, they take Neil home and try to resume a normal family life.

Neil still thinks of himself as Cameron, and in his mind, he thinks of his cruel abuser as Pop. With knowledge he gained from newspaper clippings recounting stories of the missing Neil Lacey, he hopes to fool his new family. Between fear of discovery and the fear that the horrible beatings and other abuse he suffered at the hands of Pop will somehow return, Neil tries to settle in and renew relationships with his parents and brother and sister.

As the days and weeks after his rescue pass, Neil feels less and less secure. His sister, Diana, claims to have doubts that he is really her brother, and forensic testing on the bodies of the killer's victims might still ruin everything. Can he possibly pull this off? And why is he feeling more and more like maybe he might actually be Neil Lacey?

COUNTERFEIT SON is the type of story you might expect to watch on some TV docu-drama. It's the amazing story of survival of a kidnap victim being reunited with anxious family members, but with twists and turns that make this a riveting adventure. Author Elaine Marie Alphin creates an immediate emotional attachment to Neil. Whether he is the long-lost kidnap victim or the abused son of the maniac doesn't really seem to matter. His character will captivate readers and their desire to know his complete story make this book excellent reading. ( )
1 vote | GeniusJen | Mar 10, 2010 |
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For Art, who has a rare staying power
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He chose the Lacey family first because of the sailboats.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When serial killer Hank Miller is killed in a shoot-out with police, his abused son Cameron adopts the identity of one of his father's victims in order to find a better life.

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Book description
A teen boy, the son of a serial child killer shot dead by police, decides to recreate himself as one of the killer's victims miraculously allowed to live so he can go and live with a loving and wealthy family.
Haiku summary
A molester's son,
A chance for a brand new life, 
What really happened?

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