DO NOT read this page if you have not yet finished reading Domestic Malice. It is a HUGE SPOILER.
There had to be a better way to end this book.
Itís not that the ending wasnít realistic - unfortunately, it was entirely realistic. It was also emotionally charged, and powerful, and unexpected, all excellent things to have in an ending. But it violated one of the big unspoken rules of MSW and virtually every other universe of its genre, which is the kids are off-limits. They are never the victims, and they are never the killers, not even by accident. If this book had been a script, the ending as written would never have passed muster. Iím kind of surprised it was allowed even in the book. Had Josh been killed by an adult, intentionally or unintentionally, by a family member of a victim of his financial scams, that would have conformed to MSW genre standards, and although it wouldnít have been as big a bombshell, it would have made for a satisfying, even somewhat redeeming, end. As is stands, I was just as depressed as Jessica was with the outcome.
There wasnít even any redemption in the explanation of how Ruth actually shot her father. Iím not buying the ďShe hadnít aimed; she was incapable of thatĒ excuse that implies her shooting Josh was more-or-less unintentional. If the gun had gone off accidentally that would have been unintentional, and as such the ending would have been a little less grim. But it didnít go off accidentally - Ruth pulled the trigger while the gun was pointed in the direction of her father, something most people would agree is aiming and shooting.
I understand why the book ended as it did - sometimes you just have to break the rules, something Iím certainly no stranger to doing in my own writing. But in breaking this rule, I have to wonder if Domestic Malice went just a bit too far.