The plot follows a man, Jonah, and his search for his wife, Rebecca, and his daughter, Sally. He comes home from work to find neither home, and hours later, after they still have not arrived he calls his friend, Maurice, who is the Sheriff. For Jonah, things don't get any better. He becomes the main suspect, as everyone knows he would, and in fact the only person who seems to believe he had nothing to do with the disappearance is his young daughters’ best friend, Lucinda, who has a few secrets of her own. The story then moves to twenty-five years later, Jonah is still living in the shadow of what happened, having lost everything because he has waited for his wife and daughter, believing that someday they would come back. Lucinda has a better life, but not by much, as she owns a local story, is a part time deputy, and helps care for her ailing father. And on top of this past destruction, another young girl has gone missing, on the same day that Sally did. Coincidence?
Jonah is not a likeable character, but there are things about him that continue to lead the reader to believe that he is a good father, and continues to love his daughter, and is in fact living for her return, even though that is unlikely. Lucinda seems to have some issues with her father, with a past live, with her store, and with future decisions she needs to make. There are things that could have been developed a little more, for example the relationship between Lucinda and her ex, Kirk, isn't as developed as it could have been and the reader doesn't really get the reasons for the breakup even though they seem like they are very important to the story.
The reader also sees Jonah living, but there is no development into what he is doing. Is he living just in the hopes that Sally will come back? Or is there something deeper?
There is a character, Dale, who isn't as developed as he could have been, as there were several times in the story when he could have had a little more emotion, but instead he was flat.
Now, even with that being said, I still really liked this book. The end made me want to cry, even though I was sitting in the middle of a Starbucks. I felt for Jonah, and I felt for Lucinda. Their lives could have been so different if things had been revealed twenty-five years earlier.
I do recommend this novel, as not only a mystery thriller, but also as a book with real characters. How would you act if your child and spouse didn't return home and you had no idea where they went? How long would you search for them? Would you give up? Or would you give up everything, like Jonah did, in the hopes that your family would find you again?