From a “perceptive writer whose work makes us painfully aware of our human follies and acknowledges our lovely humanity” (Audrey Niffenegger, bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife) comes suspenseful novel about a missing girl whose disappearance rocks her community.
Six years after the traumatic disappearance of Etta Messenger, it's clear that none of the members of her middle-class family have finished mourning. Gaping emotional wounds have been poorly addressed. Etta's mother, Meg, anxious to find closure and make what she can of the rest of her life, has organized a memorial service to mark the painful anniversary. Newton, Etta's erstwhile high school sweetheart, a disabled Afghanistan veteran with anger issues, uses the impending anniversary as a convenient excuse to spin out of control. Charlie, Etta's earnest blue-collar father, takes stock of his life and is reminded how he failed to protect his daughter. Her younger brother, Townes, who was the last of them to see Etta and is convinced his emotional outburst drove his sister away, has his fragile hermetic cocoon threatened by the heightened emotions of the day.
On the day of the memorial, a snowstorm threatens the city, and a chance observation on a commuter train entangles Townes in a dangerous situation that recall the events surrounding Etta's loss. The characters are shaken from their mournful routines by an unrelenting chain of events, including Newton's arrest, Townes' dangerous heroics, Charlie's recognition of his own shortcomings, and Meg's shocking discovery. The action moves from the seemingly serene suburbs to the heart of a dangerous Chicago neighborhood.
Will this ensemble of damaged characters pull themselves together in time, or will new stresses rip their tattered lives to shreds...
Brandon Graham is a Southerner by birth and has lived in eight states and four countries, receiving three university degrees. He worked as a commercial pressman and an adjunct professor in Missouri as a gallery director in Nebraska. He studied in Budapest, Hungary and Dijon, France, with a summer spent as a barman in England. He eventually settled near Chicago, where he studied visual and written narrative at Columbia College for Book and Paper Arts, graduating with his MFA in 2008. He is the author of Good for Nothing and Missing People.