Recently I picked up Stash from Barnes & Noble... I must admit this was a cover/title pick. I originally grabbed it because it drew my eye sitting on the table- the title caught my attention and I liked the blurry rained-out cover (it reminds me of a car ride through the burbs on an overcast day). I was sold after reading the novel description and this line: "Told from multiple perspectives and drive by psychological suspense and an escalating plot, this ambitious and deeply satisfying novel examines the moral complications that arise when one's determination to do the right thing collides head-on with human fallibility and desire."
Stash is the debut novel from David Kline and follows the aftermath of a joint and a car crash. Gwen Raine has a typically perfect suburban life: a successful husband, two beautiful children, a vacation home in the Adirondacks, a successful position in the PTA and great friends. Gwen also likes to relax with wine and some marijuana. Gwen and her close friend Marlene decide to split a purchase, but neither know where to get their stash. Jude is an old boyfriend of Gwen's and owns a promising restaurant in her town of Morrisey. Seeking him out, Gwen gets her stash and rolls a joint while taking a walk in the woods. Then the unthinkable happens. Marlene is unable to pick up the kids from swim class, so even after smoking, Gwen decides to go pick them up. On the way, she is struck by another driver- yet walks away with just a scratch. The other driver is dead. Consumed with guilt and fear, Gwen confesses and allows her blood to be taken for a drug test. Once found out (and the stash located in the car) the story takes off.
Judged by her actions and the towns current frenzy for arresting drug users, Gwen in is a bad spot. Her husband Brian is struggling with his own demons at his pharmaceutical job and Jude Gates is trying to get out of the business of drug dealer. Pressured by the DA, Gwen must make the choice: go to jail or give up her dealer. What happens next is a crazy ride into the moral compass of America.
David Kline weaves a story that uncovers the hidden life of the successful suburban family. What happens behind closed doors and how we get there. We all make choices, but do we always think of the consequences? Stash is the story of how one little joint can have consequences beyond comprehension.
I loved this novel. It was voyeuristic- peeking into the lives of the typical American family and uncovering secrets hidden within. Readers can make their own assumptions and judge for themselves whether Gwen's choices were justifiable. Where is your moral compass? And who are you trying to impress?... is it more important to be judged and follow suit, or be your own person?
write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow