cover image These Silent Woods

These Silent Woods

Kimi Cunningham Grant. Minotaur, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-79339-3

Cooper, an Army veteran struggling with PTSD and the narrator of this grim and evocative novel of suspense from Grant (Fallen Mountains), is raising his eight-year-old daughter, Finch, in a remote cabin in the Appalachian Mountains. Their only contact with the outside world is an annual visit from Jake, a fellow veteran who brings them provisions for the winter. When Jake fails to appear on the appointed day one December, Cooper is forced to venture into the outside world and confront the violence that has driven him into the wilderness. When his tenuous sanctuary is further threatened by Finch’s growing fascination with a hiker who stumbles across them, tragedy ensues. Meanwhile, Cooper reflects on the brief happiness he enjoyed with his girlfriend Cindy, Finch’s mother, before Cindy died in a car accident shortly after Finch was born. It eventually emerges that Cooper kidnapped Finch from Cindy’s parents, who disapproved of him, and has been hiding from them since. Grant does a fine job of making Cooper sympathetic, despite his obvious faults. The beauty of the book’s prose as well as its deeply felt message of redemption and hope will please many. Grant is a writer to watch. Agent: Amy Cloughley, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (Oct.)