Alternating chapters in the first-person viewpoints of five characters adds some interesting angles to Gudenkauf's debut. Definitely non-escapist fare, this is for readers who like something a little different. The downside is that the drama is sometimes over the top, and the overall situation is quite depressing.

One morning Antonia Clark wakes up to find her husband, Griff, and her daughter, Calli, gone. Griff's absence is expected; he's off on a fishing trip with a friend. Calli's disappearance, however, is cause for concern. Since she witnessed a family tragedy as a toddler, Calli's suffered from selective mutism and hasn't spoken a word. With Calli's best friend, Petra Gregory, also missing, it's not clear if the two girls went off together, or if something more sinister happened.

It's up to Antonia's old friend, Deputy Sheriff Louis, to find out. But the truth is more complicated than either Louis, Antonia or Petra's parents can possibly imagine. (MIRA, Aug., 384 pp., $13.95)

Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer