cover image Good as Gone

Good as Gone

Amy Gentry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-544-92095-8

The life of Anna Davalos, the narrator of Gentry’s suspenseful if flawed first novel, has been defined by a single night—when her 13-year-old daughter, Julie, was abducted at knifepoint by an intruder into their Houston home, a crime witnessed by her terrified 10-year-old daughter, Jane. Eight years later, Anna’s relationship with Jane is strained, and no one is looking for Julie any more. Anna’s life is upended again when Julie shows up on her doorstep, traumatized physically and mentally. Julie’s account of her captivity is harrowing, but Anna soon suspects that Julie isn’t being completely honest about what happened. Those doubts extend to the basic question of whether the young woman is really Julie or a manipulative, cynical imposter. As the family adjusts to the new reality, Anna’s relationships with her husband and Jane suffer. Gentry does a good job of making the characters, especially Anna, psychologically plausible, but the final revelation is a letdown. Agent: Sharon Pelletier, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (July)