RUIN FALLS by Jenny Milchman

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Liz and Paul Daniels have two young children and live a fairly idyllic life on an organic family farm. Paul is a professor who is determined to live a green, postconsumer lifestyle and Liz goes along with it as much as possible.

They take their first family vacation in years, a road trip to visit Paul’s parents on their commercial farm but stop at a hotel along the way. When Liz wakes up, her children are gone, and then Paul disappears, too.

The police immediately abandon their search, considering it a domestic dispute, and Liz is heartbroken, yet furious. She is determined to find her children, and begins her search with her in-laws, who deny any knowledge of their son or grandchildren. Liz soon heads home to her husband’s computer and his office at the university and quickly realizes that she doesn’t know her husband at all. Her best friend tries to help but she has her own hands full with a son who has suffered a traumatic brain injury.

How far Paul will go to live his politics and how a determined mother can seemingly overcome almost any obstacle is at the heart of this tautly written page-turner. Milchman proves her chops with her sophomore effort and she carves out a new niche with this unusual environmental family thriller.

Copyright ©2014 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

2/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

RUIN FALLS by Jenny Milchman. Ballantine Books (April 22, 2014). ISBN 978-0345549075. 352p.

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