For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. They've been soul mates since they were born. So when a midnight call from the hospital comes in, no one is read for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet - a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described. The profound questions faced by the characters in this heart-rending novel are those we can all relate to: How well do we ever really know our children or our friends? What if . . . ? As its chapters unfold, alternating between an idyllic past and an unthinkable present, The Pact paints an indelible portrait of families in anguish, culminating in an astonishingly suspenseful courtroom drama as Chris finds himself on trial for murder.