Liz Daniels, her husband, Paul, and their children, Ally, six, and Reid, eight, are taking an rare and unexpected vacation, to visit the remote home in the Adirondack Mountains in western New York State where Paul’s parents have always lived. “Rare” and “unexpected” because Paul has been virtually estranged from his parents, visits to them being very few and far between. En route to the farm, they decide to stop at a hotel for the night. Shockingly, the following morning, the children are nowhere to be found. But as the day progresses, the full reality of what had apparently transpired is more ghastly than any of the scenarios Liz had imagined, as nearly impossible as that seemed. Things only escalate from there, as the suspense, mystery, and sense of menace grow exponentially. Liz’ terror and grief are palpably drawn by the author, as are the descriptions of the countryside and farmland she traverses in her ensuing search.
Paul is a college professor in a rural agricultural school, and the theme of environmental politics, and environmental sustainability, is central to the plot. Though they knew each other for nearly two decades, there appear to be a myriad of things Liz had never known about him.
Somewhat confusingly at first, after the initial chapters describing these events, the reader is introduced to different families, each with their own complexities. A pattern emerges, that of women completely controlled by the men in their lives. The author of course ultimately ties everything together as the tale unfolds.
While this novel is a worthy successor to the author’s first novel, “Cover of Snow,” I found in the end that I didn’t love it quite as much. Which is not to say that it is not worthwhile reading: It certainly is that....Continua