cover image Dead Man Falling

Dead Man Falling

Randall Silvis. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $21 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-7867-0313-5

Mac Parris, the tortured hero of this darkly compelling story, has been hiding for 30 years, since an explosion killed his wife and child. He still hopes to find the 1960s terrorist responsible for the fatal bomb, while avoiding the FBI, which wrongly suspects him. The pseudonymous Mac makes wildlife films, sharpening his survival instincts and keeping mostly clear of people. Diana Westover, referred by Mac's only apparent friend, asks him to help find her teenage brother, Tony, whom she believes has been murdered. Diana frightens Mac--he is powerfully attracted to her but struggles to remain celibate in fidelity to his wife's memory. He accepts the case, however, following meager clues in Tony's letters to Diana. In a small community near Jamestown, N.Y., a too-well-dressed librarian and his edgy daughter lie about Tony, opening a floodgate of nasty revelations but offering no easy justice. Mac and Diana are deeply flawed protagonists, sympathetic if not exactly likable, with their agonizing secretiveness (Mac hasn't even told his parents that he is okay) and obsessive pursuit of revenge. Silvis (An Occasional Hell) draws them well, with complex interior monologues worked seamlessly into the story, and several fine passages in the woods as Mac, ever the hunter, tracks wolverines. (Sept.)