From Publishers Weekly
There's lots of quiet mourning in Bausch's elegiac novel set in Columbia Beach, Md., a tourist town that's seen better days. County sheriff David Caldwell is in town on a professional mission—to open up the disused jail—and a much more important personal one: to reunite with his 20-year-old son, Todd, who's spent five years in a "juvenile detention center." When he was 13, Todd killed his younger brother, Bobby, and his father, plagued with anguish at the loss, still wonders whether the slaying was accidental or murder. Columbia Beach hardly seems to need a jail, except for the problematic Cecil Edwards, who terrorizes the town with his unpredictable behavior. Less happens than one might think given the novel's aura of violence. The main theme is grief assuaged by the redemptive power of love, embodied in the unusual character of Lindsey Hunter, an adoptee who seeks out her birth mother and discovers a brother (Cecil) and a soul mate (Todd). At times the prose is beautiful—spare and lyrical—and the empathy of Bausch (A Hole in the Earth
) for all his characters is impressive, but the narrative arc remains hazily indistinct.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
For a parent, the pain of losing a child is a wound that never heals. For Sheriff David Caldwell, the loss is doubly tragic, since his older son, Todd, is the one responsible for his younger son's death. When he is sentenced to five years at a state juvenile detention center, Todd becomes as lost to his family as if he, too, had died. Now, two years after his release, Todd finally contacts his father in hope of reconciling their past. They meet in a languishing resort town where David is caught in the midst of a deadly feud between Cecil Edwards, a malevolent loner, and several town businessmen. It will take the presence of Lindsey Hunter, an enigmatic young woman searching for her own lost family, for father and son to be reunited and for the town to find an elusive peace. The ephemeral nature of family is a recurring theme in Bausch's works, one that he explores with transcendence, grace, and abundant sensitivity. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved