An iconoclastic cast of Cape Cod year-rounders peoples Flook's moody, intelligent novel. Alden Warren works for the National Park Service, counts birds for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, volunteers for Meals on Wheels and daily mourns her husband, a school teacher and dedicated environmentalist who vanished two years earlier. Monty was a known skirt-chaser, so authorities assume that he took off with a lively fellow lepidopterist. Alden herself is not without carnal impulses and succumbs to suitors—mostly unsuitable—who help her briefly forget Monty. The action accelerates steadily as handsome antihero Lux Davis stalks Alden even as he frets about his guilty secret involving her missing husband. Lux works for a nurseryman and has a genuine green thumb, along with a neurological disorder that he's suffered since childhood. Though occasionally too studied, Flook's baroque language—Cape Cod is "a chaotic, fiddlehead topography of dunes"—gives this noirish story a distinctive edge. Alternating between Rabelaisian comic realism and a Wordsworthian passion for nature, the novel provides the reader with a bumpy but enthralling ride. Agent, Gail Hochman. (Oct. 13)
Forecast: Flook is best known for two nonfiction works that mine similar territory: My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister's Disappearance and Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod. Readers who appreciated her graceful take on grim subjects will find more of the same here. New England author tour.
Release date: 10/01/2004