Two women in crisis learn important lessons about "life and death and the nature of love" in Braffet's brilliant second novel (after 2005's Jack and Josie). Anne Cassidy, a 48-year-old New Age devotee living in Sedona, Ariz., knows something major has gone wrong when her daughter, Miranda, a college dropout and aimless drifter currently in Pittsburgh, Pa., doesn't answer her calls and Randa's phone is later disconnected. After two months, Anne must face a mother's worst fear--that her daughter has vanished. Meanwhile, Randa has crashed her car and left it to start a new life after accepting a ride from "George," an odd stranger who's either a serial killer or a covert CIA operative. George drops her off in Lawrence Beach, Va., where she takes a chambermaid job at a cheap motel. At the end of the tourist season, Randa's reduced to living in a friend's van while female bodies continue to surface in the seaside community. In Pittsburgh, Anne hunts for clues to her daughter's disappearance and revisits the equally disturbing disappearance of Nick, her pilot husband, in 1984. Fluid prose, vivid characters and suspenseful twists lead to a hopeful denouement. Author tour. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Anne Cassidy and her twentysomething daughter, Miranda, are struggling to cope with the sudden death of husband and father Nick, a hotshot pilot for a questionable private aviation company. Anne has become a New Age spiritualist in Sedona while Miranda has turned into a promiscuous and rootless dropout. After a three-year estrangement, Anne sets off to find Miranda and repair their broken lives. No one has heard from Miranda for two months, and Anne fears the worst. But Miranda is actually living under an assumed name in a seedy Virginia beach town, after having survived a drunken car wreck and been rescued by a passing motorist. As Anne gathers clues to Miranda's whereabouts, Miranda's life begins a perilous downward spiral. Her rescuer's interest in her seems questionable in light of rumors of a local serial killer, and her sources of money, booze, and food are drying up as the tourists leave the beach at summer's end. This story could have been a real downer, but Braffet (Josie and Jack) deftly teases readers with the appearance of Nick's flying buddy and some hopeful clues to Nick's tragic death. Her skillful portrayal of unresolved grief and shattered relationships lends sensitivity to this solidly crafted and compelling sophomore effort, which will secure the author's place as a novelist of note. Recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/06.] Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp. Lib., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A suspenseful, emotionally resonant story about a mother and her daughter caught in the mystery of her husband's disappearance. Braffet's lean prose, taut pacing and subtle characterizations here live up to the promise of her debut (Josie and Jack¸ 2005). Anne's husband Nick was a pilot, a charming thrill-seeker and Vietnam vet who went from flying combat in Laos to flying cargo in undisclosed Central American locations. Then the shadowy Western Mountain Aviation called to say Nick's plane had gone down, though they never did find it or him. Distraught, the young widow took her daughter Miranda and fled Pittsburgh for Sedona and the comforts of New Age spiritualism. Twenty years later, Miranda has grown into an angry, isolated 28-year-old dropout, drifting between bad jobs and poor relationships. An unnamed woman has walked away from a car crash and is picked up by a middle-aged man in a sedan. Anne suddenly can't reach her daughter, and sets off to find her. As Anne collects heartrending, baffling clues, we watch Miranda move closer to the dark undertow of her unhappy life. The author's carefully drawn characters and incisive observations on human nature form the heart of her novel. Miranda and Anne are flawed, highly sympathetic beings who struggle to face life in the face of unresolved grief and an impossible web of deceit. Braffet teases the reader with the possibility that all will be revealed about Nick's disappearance, plus a barely-there subplot about a serial killer, but brilliantly plays against genre expectations by placing the real suspense in Miranda's ability to care for herself enough to allow Anne to find her. A keen, heartfelt thrill.
“Deft . . . Braffet has a gift for creating an atmosphere of suspicion—and suspense.”—Francine Prose People Magazine
“Brainy, quirky, and bold, this is anything but your grandma’s cozy mystery novel.” Elle
"Dno't read [it] before bed, or else you'll never fall asleep." -- Jane Magazine
“[A] compelling tale of mother-daughter estrangement." Esquire