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by Jenny Milchman
Ballantine, April 2014
352 pages
ISBN: 0345549074

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In RUIN FALLS, Jenny Milchman brings to the page every parent's nightmare: kidnapping. Liz Daniels, her husband Paul, and two children are traveling to the Adirondacks, to visit his family, even though Paul has a strained relationship with them. From the beginning, the trip is filled with dread. Then, on the second morning of their road trip, Liz wakes up in a hotel room, her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, gone. She soon finds out that the kidnapper is closer to her than she thought. As she deals with this betrayal, Liz goes on the hunt for her children.

Her search takes her back to her home in Wedeskyull, a small town in upstate New York. She should be safe there, but strange things happen in her own home. It seems the kidnapping is part of something larger, and even more sinister.

This is Milchman's second book, coming out just as her first book, COVER OF SNOW, garnered the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Like the first book, Milchman delves into the territory of family secrets and dysfunctional relationships. Home, in Milchman's books, is never quite the cozy, safe shelter it should be. And in each book, a woman's life is changed overnight - literally. Liz Daniels, a meek sort of wife who has left the family decisions mostly to her controlling husband, becomes stronger through the crisis.

There are a few other subplots in the story that at first seem unrelated but soon tie together. While the subplots at times slow down Liz's narrative, the story is still compelling. Milchman hooks the reader in the very first pages, and keeps the suspense taut. This what-if book may hook you for other reasons. Every family, after all, has its secrets. What's not to say that one day some secret may disrupt your own life?

Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, May 2014

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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