A woman’s mysterious disappearance, which was foreseen by a recovering alcoholic, makes for a gripping story.
Rosch’s novel revolves around Max’s dream, in which a woman whom he has never met is kidnapped and dies. It isn’t until he recognizes the woman on the streets of New York that he’s certain he’s had a premonition. After reporting his reoccurring dream to the police, who don’t take him seriously, Max decides he must befriend the woman and warn her. He stalks Sarah, a depressed, perhaps even suicidal, event planner, meeting her after Sarah makes the first move. He blows off his sponsor, Sam, a man with 10 years in recovery who likes to bed young, female AA-newbies. He also lies to his wife, Rachel, who stood by him when he bottomed out, in order to learn more about Sarah—to find out how to gain her trust in order to protect her. Realizing the damage he’s doing to his marriage, Max ends things with Sarah without warning. Sarah’s heartbroken, in denial, and in love with a man she knows stalked her. When Sarah disappears, Max is the first person the police suspect. Sarah says, “Max, I’ve never met someone so sure of their abilities to manipulate the world, and frankly you stink at it,” perfectly summing up the dilemma most addicts face—the desire to be in control of their world while dependent upon a substance or person that makes it entirely impossible to maintain control. As the story progresses, Rosch expertly explores the psychology of an alcoholic and the pillars behind AA, giving Max’s statements credibility while planting the seeds of doubt as to his trustworthiness. The novel tackles sobriety, truth and guilt, engrossing the reader in Max’s whirlwind of problems. Despite the support of his friends and family, Max questions whether getting drunk might enable him to better cope. Max’s unlikable attributes, including his mistaken assertions, are only off-putting at times; on the whole he’s a well-developed, layered character.
While depicting the realizations of a recovering alcoholic, Rosch skillfully renders a unique story of a missing woman.