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In 1973 Defiance, TX, the disappearance of 13-year-old Daisy Chance from the ruins of an old church haunts the small community. Her best friend, Jed Pepper, feels guilty. Afraid of his father's blows, he left her alone despite her pleas that he stay with her. Daisy's mother is optimistic that her daughter is still alive, but some blame her promiscuous lifestyle for what happened to her daughter. Jed is determined to find his friend and to protect his little sister, Sissy, from the dangers in the woods as well as the violence at home. DeMuth's (Watching the Tree Limbs; Wishing on Dandelions) third novel is a coming-of-age novel in the classic Southern gothic tradition, and while it has moments of brilliance, it unravels at the end. Still, this is worth reading for the complex relationships, skilled prose, and the author's depiction of God's redemption in difficult times. Recommended for public and regional libraries.