cover image Sun Seekers

Sun Seekers

Rachel McRady. Alcove, $29.99 hardcover (320p) ISBN 978-1-63910-497-0

Entertainment Tonight writer McRady’s cookie-cutter debut revolves around a family in crisis. Six-year-old Gracie Lynn has disappeared with her grandfather “Big John,” who was recently diagnosed with dementia. The girl’s overprotective and downtrodden mother, LeeAnn Abernathy, is beside herself when she hears the news. A parallel narrative from Gracie Lynn’s perspective conveys her naivete: by liberating Big John from his nursing home, she believes she can help cure his disease. As the two visit Big John’s favorite haunts around town, he has memory and cognitive lapses—he calls Gracie Lynn by his daughter’s name and thinks he can teach her how to drive. Meanwhile, Gracie Lynn’s father, Dan, who left LeeAnn for another woman two years ago, steps up and joins the search, along with the PTA moms from Gracie Lynn’s school and LeeAnn’s distant older sister, Sarah. Will Dan and LeeAnn come to a rapprochement? Can they find their daughter and Big John before something terrible happens? Unfortunately, the insightful view of dementia’s impact on a family is undermined by one-dimensional characters such as the stereotypical PTA members, one of whom LeeAnn views as competition for Dan. McRady’s attempt to affect a Hallmark movie vibe falls short. Agent: Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency. (Jan.)