Beautifully written, compassionate and wise, Rosellen Brown's novel is the extraordinary story of a family's struggle to survive the throes of a tragedy. Before and After centers on Carolyn and Ben Reiser and their two children, Judith and Jacob, who live comfortably in a small New England town. When the chief of police comes looking for seventeen-year-old Jacob to question him about the bludgeoning to death of his girlfriend, the Reisers' lives are changed forever. Before and After is the compelling drama of the search for Jacob, his capture, and the chain of events set in motion by a brutal crime of passion. It is a story that pits parent against parent, brother against sister, family against community, blood loyalty against the law. With a flawless ear for dialogue and profound understanding of character and motive, Rosellen Brown has written a heart-wrenching novel that questions the very nature of violence in our society and our ability to ever really know our children.