In his first novel, UNTOUCHABLE, Scott O Connor speaks softly and somehow manages to make something beautiful of unspeakable matters--like the gruesome mop-up after someone has taken a gun to his head. These are the matters that fall to David Darby, a strapping fellow with an armful of tattoos and a sensitive attitude toward his job as a trauma site technician. If Darby s profession has made him something of an untouchable, his young son has become a pariah at school because he refuses to speak, a self-imposed punishment after the death of his mother. ( He had, he s convinced, made her sick and sad. ) O Connor tells a wisp of a story, but in a voice so insistently stirring, you want to lean in close to catch every word.
--New York Times Book Review
It is the autumn of 1999. A year has passed since Lucy Darby s unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. David, a trauma-site cleanup technician, spends his nights expunging the violent remains of strangers, helping their families to move on, though he is unable to do the same. Whitley – an 11 year-old social pariah known simply as The Kid – hasn t spoken since his mother s death. Instead, he communicates through a growing collection of notebooks, living in a safer world of his own silent imagining.