A History of Wild Places

Shea Ernshaw. Atria, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-1-982164-80-5
YA author Ernshaw (Winterwood) makes her adult debut with a lurid, fast-paced story of a reclusive commune. Travis Wren, a private investigator with psychic abilities, is hired by the parents of Maggie St. James to find her, five years after her disappearance at age 26. He follows her trail to Pastoral, an isolated community founded a generation earlier by hippies in Northern California’s Three River Mountains. Ernshaw then switches to life inside Pastoral, with no sign of Travis or Maggie, and where Theo, longing to leave and doubting the warnings from the new controlling leader, Levi, of a fatal disease beyond their village, repeatedly risks venturing past the boundary and finds himself unharmed, but doesn’t tell his wife, Calla, about these illicit expeditions. Calla’s younger blind sister, Bee, is carrying Levi’s baby and is shattered when Levi refuses to publicly acknowledge her pregnancy. When another woman’s baby is born in need of medical attention, Levi cruelly punishes the father for attempting to seek outside help. Meanwhile, Theo and Calla discover some items belonging to Travis and Maggie that suggest they were in Pastoral. As the mysteries deepen, Calla, Theo, and Bee piece together the shocking truth about the missing characters. When it’s revealed, it strains credulity, and the prose is often simplistic, but the twisty plot brims with tension. There’s plenty of fodder here for a miniseries. Agent: Jessica Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/17/2021
Release date: 12/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-4371-2
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-9821-6482-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-4369-9
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