A complex novel of intrigue and mystery in which a homeless woman regains her memory to help solve past crimes and prevent future ones, from Edgar-winner Davis (Best First Novel for The Room Upstairs in 1949).
Many years ago, when a mother, her son, Bobby, and his friend, Teddy, go missing while camping in the Maine woods, police discover a dirty and disheveled Teddy but are uncertain as to the whereabouts of Bobby and his mother. In present-day Boston, Faith, an amnesia-ridden homeless woman, regains some of her lost memory and believes that she must travel to South Springport, Maine. Upon disembarking the train in Portland, Faith takes a cab to Freeport, where she invades the home of Guy North, who graciously offers her shelter while she searches for clues to her past. Alternate chapters reveal the struggles of Dilly, a toddler who suddenly finds himself alone with the â€œMan” hunting him. In the voice of a three-year-old, Dilly describes his angst at being left alone to fend for himself and hide from the Man, who is responsible for hurting his mother. Interspersed with Faith’s search for her identity and Dilly’s efforts to avoid the Man are portions of Skip’s diary, which belongs to a young boy who was abused by his father and abandoned by his mother. The diary hints at heinous acts by his father, which lead to Skip perpetrating abuse upon other boys. As the plot lines come together, the authors methodically reveals Faith’s identity, transforming her from a simple homeless woman into a multi-dimensional character. And the discovery of the serial killer who has been plaguing southern Maine for decades creates an explosive, gripping conclusion.
Yet what resonates most is the authors’ ability to maintain the suspense and keep the reader guessing–not only about the killer, but why and how Faith plays such an integral role.