Henry’s second novel once again follows Troy Chance, a freelance writer and news reporter who lives in the Adirondacks and frequently stumbles upon stories that need telling and people who need saving.
Troy, who lives just outside Saranac Lake, is perfectly at home with the frozen winters and snowdrifts that characterize the area she has chosen to call home. Working for a tiny local newspaper, Troy writes about local sports and rents out rooms in her house to a succession of young people, particularly athletes training for the Olympics. One roommate, Jessamyn, is a mysterious and seemingly rootless girl who spends her time with Tobin Winslow, a young Princeton dropout who comes from a wealthy family. When Tobin disappears and is later found frozen in a block of ice carved from the lake, Troy and Jessamyn decide to find out who the real Tobin was and determine what happened to him: Did he accidentally wander onto the lake, was he murdered, was it a suicide? To add to the mystery, Tobin’s truck has disappeared, but he left his cabin with all of his belongings intact. When Tobin’s sister, Jessica, who goes by the nickname of “Win,” shows up, she and Troy start trying to piece together Tobin’s last days, talking to those who knew him well and those who only thought they knew him. Henry, a former newspaper staffer, nicely sets the sense of place and creates some interesting, although fancifully named characters, drawing in the Canadian cast from her first novel and adding the residents of Saranac Lake to the mix. However, rather than weaving an intricate and interesting story, the plot just seems to meander around, yanking open random literary drawers and peering inside, like an unplanned burglary instead of a suspenseful, well-thought-out, cohesive tale. There’s very little that’s thrilling in this tepid, but nicely written, story of a young man haunted by the events of his past and his tragic death.
The unanticipated ending will mesmerize some readers, while others will find themselves annoyed by the anticlimactic conclusion.