Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review : Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchum

I can't read Jenny Milchum at night when I'm about to go to sleep. Her scenarios are far too creepy. Her books are scary but not so creepy and scary that I can't believe every bit of what is happening. Her first book, Cover of Snow, drew me right in, even with its alarming premise, and kept me reading far into the night. This newest one, Ruin Falls is even better.

Milchum gives us the primary victims of domestic abuse (more mental and pyschological than physical but every bit as real) and sprinkles in some secondary ones whose stories weave in and out. For a while, I couldn't quite see how they all fit together, but Milchum does an excellent job of lacing the story lines. Once again, she uses the wooded Adirondacks as her setting. It is obviously an area where she is comfortable exploring and describing.

I really don't want to spoil the plot, so I'm going to give you only the teaser the publisher is giving us:
When Liz wakes up one morning in her hotel room to discover her two children Ally and Reid aren't in their beds, her mind races, imagining a million worst-case scenarios, playing out her every nightmare. When she discovers that the kids were taken, not by some anonymous monster in a ski mask but by her own husband, Paul, her frantic worries turn into desperate questions. Unable to comprehend why the man who had been her trusted partner would willingly take from her all she loves most, Liz throws herself into the search for her kids. Her investigation uncovers a disturbing incident from her husband's past and she begins receiving ominous threats, warning her to stay away. No more able to abandon her search than stop breathing, Liz digs deeper into her husband's secrets-only to discover that Paul's plans are far more extreme than she ever could have imagined.
Drawing on all the publicity today about the back to the earth movement, environmental protection, conservation of resources, sustainable agriculture, and retreat from worldly contamination, this one combines these issues with twisted personalities in a scenario that is so well written it's more than believable--it can scare the living bejeebies out of any one who is a parent.  Just published this week, this one should be headed for your must read list.

Title: Ruin Falls
Author: Jenny Milchum
Publisher: Ballantine Books (2014), e-galley 352 pages 
Genre: pyschological thriller
Subject: eco-terrorism
Setting: The Adirondacks, NY
Source: e-galley from publisher via Edelweiss
Why did I read this book now? The publisher offered it for review and I enjoyed the author's previous work.

Note : I also had the chance to sample this in audio. Cassandra Campbell does a fantastic job of delivering the variety of emotions the author portrays in her writing.  If you're an audio fan, be sure to check this one out.


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