Perfect Match (novel)
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
|27 May 2002|
Perfect Match (2002) is a novel by Jodi Picoult. It deals with family issues and crime, primarily child sexual abuse and murder. It is one of Picoult's only novels not to follow her typical back-and-forth flashback format.
The story opens with a prologue in which an unnamed female character in a courtroom inexplicably shoots the defendant four times as he approaches his defense attorney. The shooter, as revealed, is Assistant District Attorney Nina Frost and the defendant a priest. At the time of the trial (and shooting) she had been led to believe that Father Szyszynski had sexually abused her five-year-old son Nathaniel after lab tests had confirmed that his semen was found in the child's underpants, and Nathaniel had verbally accused Father "Glen" Szyszynski of molesting him.
It later turned out that Nina had in fact killed the wrong man, and a visiting priest named Father Gwynne had molested Nathaniel. Fathers Gwynne and Szyszynski shared the same DNA in their blood because Father Szyszynski had a bone marrow transplant from Father Gwynne (being that they were half brothers), leading to the belief that the semen belonged to Szyszynski. Although this fact was made known at Nina's own court trial for murder, after the jury could not reach a verdict, the judge ruled that her reasons were justified and therefore she was found not guilty of murder. However, using a Maine clause she was found guilty of manslaughter because the Judge believed she was under the influence of a reasonable fear or anger brought about by reasonable provocation and sentenced to 20 years in Jail but it is suspended. In a final twist at the end, Nina's best friend and colleague Patrick Ducharme, with whom she'd had a very brief affair during a brief split with husband Caleb, moves away, and Nina discovers that Caleb had poisoned Father Gwynne, despite his earlier protests to her killing Szyszynski.
- Nathaniel Patrick Frost, the young boy who is sexually abused
- Nina Maurier Frost, his mother, an assistant district attorney who kills Father Szyszynski
- Caleb Frost, Nathaniel's father, a stonemason who poisoned Father Gwynne
- Patrick Ducharme, a police detective and close friend of Nina's (who also appears in Picoult's novel Nineteen Minutes). He expresses his love for Nina several times, but is constantly reminded that they cannot be together.
- Father Gwynne , a visiting priest that molests Nathaniel, who is also Father Szyszynski's half-brother
- Father Szyszynski, a priest at Nina's church that was falsely accused and killed for molesting Nathaniel
- Hood, Ann, Breaking Faith, Review, The Washington Post; May 5, 2002; T.06
- Rhule, Patty, Love and hate are 'Perfect Match' ; Mom turns vigilante after son's molestation, Review, USA Today; May 2, 2002
- Vidmos, Robin, Murder or Justice? D.A.'s vigilante action poses questions of pride, ethics and fairness, Review, The Denver Post, April 21, 2002; Page EE-01