|Cover artist||Nada Bankovic &|
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
Rather than having traditional numbered chapters, the book alternates between a series of present-day occurrences labeled as "Now" and past events, "Then", that give context into the relationships of the characters and the story line. Each segment contains a different character's perspective while being narrated in the third person. The interplay between past and present throughout the story lead up to a climactic revelation that provides an answer to this "who done it" mystery.
In the fall of 1979, the Gold's, consisting of a recently pregnant Melanie Gold and her husband Michael Gold, moved into the small town of Bainbridge, New Hampshire. They would move next door to the Harte's, another coincidentally pregnant couple, and through this shared interest Gus Harte and Emily Gold would begin to forge a lasting friendship. Their husbands, James Harte being the name of Gus', would follow suit and the families would soon raise their firstborns together. From the moment they were delivered from the womb it seemed that Emily Gold and Chris Harte were destined to be together, and their parents certainly hoped that to be the case. They had always been inseparable making it difficult to know where which ended and which began. By the time they were teenagers it was easy for them to develop feelings for each other and before they knew it they were dating. All seemed perfect in paradise until a 3 a.m.call to both family homes sent them running to the hospital. Chris and Emily had been found at the carousel where Chris worked, he was unconscious with an open head wound and she had a gun shot to the head from a gun Chris' father owned, Emily was pronounced dead in the emergency room.
When a detective comes looking for Chris to answer some questions about Emily's death there are heavy implications that it is being considered as a homicide, but Chris claims they had made a suicide pact and he had fallen unconscious before he had the chance to end his life as well. When grieving Melanie caught wind of this she was happy to turn the finger away from herself after struggling to believe she had not seen her daughter's suicidal tendencies. She focused all her anger at her daughter's premature death on making sure her murderer paid for his crime and in her mind that is all that Chris was. Meanwhile, her husband, Michael, did not believe that Chris could have done such a thing after having seen the way he treated her with such care while she was alive and considered the possibility that his daughter may have kept more from him than he had thought. With mounting evidence against him and an autopsy report that revealed Emily had been several weeks pregnant at the time of her death, the state of New Hampshire had enough information to arrest Chris and soon after he would be charged with first degree murder. During this time Chris would meet his lawyer, Jordan McAfee, who would deny him of revealing the truth about the night of her death because to McAfee the only truth that mattered was the one that was most likely to get his client free. Due to the severity of the charge, Chris would be held in prison without bail until the trial which would be several months away. When Melanie Gold comes across a hidden diary belonging to Emily that contains proof that Chris had not known about the baby because she had not told him, she destroys the book in a fire. Meanwhile, Michael Gold agrees to take the stand as a witness for the defense after his convictions would not allow him to believe that Chris was guilty. It is revealed that Emily had been molested as a young girl and kept it to herself for the remainder of her life, she also feared the image the pregnancy would paint on her clean reputation and her inability to see herself meeting the expectations that had been set for her since her youth. She does attempt to secretly get an abortion, but she backs out at the last minute when a male doctor gives her a flashback of her assault as a child. Feeling like she has no way out from her situation and from the self-deprecating thoughts in her head she begins to contemplate suicide as her only option.
Chris' trial begins and it appears as though McAfee could give his client a fighting chance with the jury. It is up to Chris' last witness, Gus Harte, to speak for her son's innocence, but she cannot find it in herself to remain composed after her visit with Chris from the night before when he angrily told her that he had shot Emily. In a last minute decision Chris requests his mother's removal from the stand and for him to take her place. Much to his lawyer's dismay he takes the stand and tells the truth about what happened the night of Emily's death. He begins a few weeks before that fateful night when she first told him she wanted to commit suicide and he had dismissed her statement, but then she brought it up again and he could not ignore it. At first he wants to tell someone but he realizes he would be betraying her trust in him, and that the burden of saving her fell onto him alone. In order to maintain her trust, he plays along with her plan and brings his father's gun loaded upon her request to the carousel that held so much sentimental value for them. After basking in each other's presence for some time, Emily lifted the gun to her head and found that she was too scared to do it on her own so she begged Chris to do it for her. In that moment he felt the pain that she was trying so hard to escape from and knew that he would do anything for her. He held the gun to her head and could not find the strength to shoot it at her, he felt the pressure of her hand over his own on the trigger and there was a shot. From Chris' account it was clear he was not sure if he truly had pulled the trigger or if Emily's hand had pushed his fingers onto it. Jordan McAfee did not skip a beat after the confession and pressed him to remember who had pulled the trigger until Chris admitted that he could not say he had officially fired the gun.
The jury had reached a verdict and neither McAfee nor anyone else supporting Chris thought there was much hope of the decision being in his favor after his confession to the court. However, in a surprising turn of events the jury decided that Chris Harte was not guilty of Emily Gold's death. Since the end of the trial, life went on for both the Harte's and the Gold's but neither were the same for what had happened, nor were their friendships.
Chris Harte: An eighteen year old boy who is in love with his childhood best friend, Emily Gold. He is very caring and compassionate as can be seen through his interactions with Emily, he is honest and noble, and he is a proficient swimmer. When he finds himself on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, amidst half-truths, lies, and foggy memories, he must decipher what truly happened that night and hope his love for her is as real to the jury as it is for him.
Emily Gold: Chris Harte's best friend and love interest. She is a troubled seventeen year old girl who is very artistically talented. She struggles to maintain her positive image as she fights an internal losing battle. When she is found dead with a bullet wound from a gun that Chris' father owned and Chris is the last person she was with prior to her death, the only question remains, was it suicide or was it murder?
Michael Gold: The kind and nurturing father of Emily Gold. He is a veterinarian who values every life and he has a very passive, non-confrontational attitude. He does not believe that Chris killed his daughter and tries to be open to other possibilities rather than immediately pointing a finger.
Melanie Gold:The reserved and loving mother of Emily Gold. She works as a librarian and she is very passionate about all that is related to books. She is best friends with Gus Harte, who's firecracker personality complements her mellow one well. When her daughter dies she becomes resentful and angry and her loyalties will begin to shift when Chris Harte is found at the crime scene alive.
James Harte: The father of Chris Harte and a practicing ophthalmologist. He is a very composed man who values his reputation very highly and avoids anything that will taint it. The scandal of Emily Gold's death and his son's murder charge lead him to try and attain any semblance of normalcy to avoid addressing the issues facing him, in the process he drives away his wife and son.
Gus Harte: The mother of Chris Harte and wife of James Harte. She has a bright and bubbly personality and does not like to sit still. She is a very dedicated mother that puts her children first. She is also best friends with Melanie Gold. She is caught at a crossroads when she is left to defend her son's character in a court of law, while trying to mend a relationship with Melanie who has already convicted Chris before the jury has even reached a verdict.
Jordan McAfee: The charming and witty defendant of Chris Harte. When circumstance and evidence seem to be going against his client, he has to muster up all his creativity and legal expertise to try and save Chris from imprisonment.
Friendship: The Pact emphasizes the lines that blur between that of close friendships and family and how they can be tested when there is an unexpected death and evidence points to a member of the group.
Love: The book discusses the power of love and how it goes beyond the grave. It also considers the idea of loving someone so much that one would be willing to do anything for them even if it means ending their life.
Family: The Pact delves into family ties and how parents do not always know the child they raised as well as they think.
Loss: The book covers the pain of loss and demonstrates the varying ways individuals express and feel grief. Melanie Gold distances herself from others and becomes resentful from grief, Gus Harte keeps herself busy, being anywhere she is needed, and James Harte tries to ignore the situation entirely.
The Pact reached the New York Bestseller List 
On November 4, 2002 Lifetime Television debuted a film adaptation of the novel, The Pact. Directed by Peter Werner it starred Henry Czerny, Megan Mullally, Jessica Steen, Juliet Stevenson, Bob Gunton, and Eric Lively.
Differences between Life Time movie and book
In the film, Chris Harte attends Emily Gold's funeral, but in the book Chris is being baker-acted after he was found at the carousel and neither the hospital nor his mother think it would be a good idea for him to attend, much to his outrage.
In the movie Melanie Gold and Gus Harte interact much more, while in the book Melanie distances herself too much from others for Gus to be able to reach her.
In the film Chris is let out on bond after he is charged with first-degree murder, but in the book he is specifically held without bond because of the severity of the case and he experiences a lot of personal growth during his time in jail while waiting for his trial.
In the movie Chris' father, James, testifies for his son in court, but in the book he refuses to testify as he tries to distance himself from the entire situation.