George Gates, who once toured the world as a travel writer, churns out fluff pieces for his local paper and spends his nights alone, imagining what he’d do to the person who murdered his eight-year-old son seven years before and is still at large in Cook’s eerily poignant novel. When Arlo McBride, a retired missing persons detective, tells Gates about the unsolved disappearance of reclusive poet Katherine Carr 20 years earlier, Gates is intrigued. Cook (Master of the Delta) seamlessly intertwines the short story Carr left behind—about a woman also named Katherine Carr—with Gates’s growing obsession with Carr’s fate. When his editor suggests that Gates write a profile of Alice Barrows, an orphan girl dying of progeria (premature aging), he discovers that Alice is an avid detective fan, and together they form an unlikely partnership. Adept at merging past and present plot lines, Cook eloquently examines the often cathartic act of storytelling.
(Publisher’s Weekly, Apr. 27)