A dark tale of two mothers seeking their sons, dead or alive.
Lawton, North Dakota, may be remote but it’s bursting at the seams with young men eager to cash in on the latest oil strike. Consultants and the occasional visitor compete for rooms at the packed hotels, while rig workers grasp a few hours of sleep in impersonal barracks constructed by the oil companies. Of course, most of the men leave within weeks, either worn down by the grueling pace or frustrated by the dearth of women. A few flee the danger of limbs mangled in the machinery—or worse. But two have simply disappeared. The police have little interest in, or manpower available for, tracking down Paul Mitchell or Taylor Capparelli, young men who probably just took off for a warmer climate or easier work. So their mothers take the investigation into their own hands. They are certainly a mismatched pair: Shay Capparelli has survived raising two kids on her own, with little help from their dads or from her bosses, which has left her tough yet brittle. Colleen Mitchell, accustomed to East Coast affluence, trusts blithely in her own financial power to bend everyone and everything to her will. Forced to share quarters in an icy mobile home, the women must quickly set aside their mistrust of each other to focus on finding their sons. But the police warn them to stay away from the case, the oil company stonewalls them, and their own pasts toss up personal obstacles. As twist leads to turn, they discover how poverty, greed and jealousy can add up to tragedy. Edgar Award nominee Littlefield (House of Glass, 2014, etc.) deftly contrasts Shay’s and Colleen’s experiences and prejudices. Although Colleen’s rather peevish perspective is wearying, her conflicts with Shay neatly calibrate her troubles with Paul. It’s a good yarn, weaving together corporate and personal malfeasance.
A satisfying, icy thriller.