The author cites case studies of serial killers at intervals throughout the book (between some of the chapters) and the book starts with "Case 1: Sleep Tight." Here are the opening paragraphs from the story itself.
Chapter 1 - Emma
Everywhere I look, there are signs of a struggle. The mail has been scattered all over the kitchen floor; the stools are overturned. The phone has been knocked off its pedestal, its battery pack hanging loose from an umbilicus of wires. There's one single faint footprint at the threshold of the living room, pointing toward the dead body of my son, Jacob.
He is sprawled like a starfish in front of the fireplace. Blood covers his temple and his hands. For a moment, I can't move, can't breathe.
Suddenly, he sits up. "Mom," Jacob says, "you're not even trying."
The Friday 56 (from Page 156 of my hardcover edition):
When I was little, I remember wandering the cereal aisle (which surely is as American a phenomenon as fireworks on the Fourth of July) and picking my breakfast food based on what the reward was: a Frisbee with the Trix rabbit's face emblazoned on the front. Holographic stickers with the Lucky Charms leprechaun. A mystery decoder wheel. I could suffer through raisin bran for a month if it meant I got a magic ring at the end.
Genre: Literary Fiction / Women's Fiction
Length: 532 Pages (hardcover)
Amazon Link: House Rules
Other Books by this Author: Jodi Picoult's Website
House Rules is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject--in his case, forensic analysis.
He's always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do...and he's usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's - not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate affect - can look a heck of a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel -- and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. HOUSE RULES looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way - but lousy for those who don't.