In crisis as the shadows of two murders hang over their 34-year-old son, a family must sift through a lifetime of mistakes and misunderstandings to uncover the truth.
Like most families, the Lebays have had their share of ups and downs, but where their children were concerned, most of the ups had to do with their daughter, Lissa, while most of the downs were due to their son, Tucker. The last year has been especially stressful, since Tucker’s girlfriend, Miranda, was discovered dead, and he has felt the cloud of suspicion over him ever since. Now another woman, a friend of Miranda’s, has been found in the same stretch of woods, and the glare of suspicion has fallen on Tucker once more. Tucker’s family—father, Roy; mother, Emily; sister, Lissa; and brother-in-law, Evan—are embroiled in the emotional chaos of the investigation, as well as their own difficult questions regarding his innocence, his weaknesses and their own potential culpability in Tucker’s becoming the man who might be capable of such inconceivable acts. Relationships are re-examined, and the natures of families, love and truth are tested in Sissel’s (Evidence of Life, 2013, etc.) most recent family drama that hinges on a mystery that is more played out than solved. The story is thought-provoking and well-paced, and Sissel is truly gifted at setting up emotional conflict and heart-rending doubt. The characters’ misgivings toward their own actions and the fragility of their loved ones are powerful, and Sissel builds a believable and poignant examination of a family under pressure and their attempts to learn the truth while bracing for the worst.
A few elements that don’t quite hang perfectly and an ending that ties things up neatly but not satisfactorily keep the book from being completely successful, but the impressive writing and affecting subject matter will keep most readers engaged.