Busch (Closing Arguments; The Children in the Woods) deserves greater success than he has so far received-though connoisseurs of clean, dynamic American prose already know and admire his work. His latest novel is a tour de force in which the setting, a college in upstate New York in deepest winter, the characters and the situation are blended so seamlessly that the reader becomes a hapless part of its grim world. Jack, the narrator, is a hard-bitten, decent campus cop who, with wife Fanny, is working out the bitter legacy of the death, years before, of their only child, a little girl. When another girl, one who seems like a model teenager, vanishes in a nearby town, he throws himself desperately into a hunt for her and whoever may have done her violence; in the process, he is so deeply hurt, both physically and emotionally, that he barely survives. It is a dark tale, but it's told with an economical mastery and intensity that only a few current novelists can command. Busch even manages to create a dog who is real, touching but never cute, and the perfect life-enhancing foil for the human sorrows around him. In its very different way, this is the finest literary thriller since William Trevor's Felicia's Journey-and shares the same passionate concern with the helplessness of young women when they become prey to predatory men. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997 Release date: 03/01/1997 Genre: Fiction
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