Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman
ISBN: 9780345549075 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345549082 (ebook)
ASIN: B00G8EKYTY (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz's husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood. On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in. Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz's mind—but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her. Though she knows that Ally and Reid are safe, Liz will stop at nothing to find them and get them back. From her guarded in-laws' unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her own hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.
Liz and Paul Daniels seem to have it all: a beautiful family a wonderful marriage, and similar life goals. They have a large beautiful home in the country, Paul has a job he loves teaching at a local college, and Liz has a small, thriving boutique business growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They both feel that they need to do their part in reducing their carbon footprint, drive a hybrid vehicle, and want to do their very best to ensure their children aren't physically polluted by GMO foods, preservatives, etc. All seems well when the Daniels' family sets off to visit Paul's parents in western New York. After a day’s drive, fraught with reckless drivers, Paul agrees to allow the family to spend the night at a hotel on the road. Disaster strikes as Liz wakes up the next morning to find that her children are gone. Just when the horror of the children being abducted sinks in, Paul disappears. What could make her loving husband abduct their children? Where could they possibly have gone?
Ruin Falls spotlights one of a parent’s worst nightmares, their children being abducted. Liz knows that the police aren't taking her seriously and since she hasn't found any clues at Paul's parents' farm she heads back home. Tired, anxious, and stressed to the max, Liz embarks on a quest to find the truth. Her search overlaps with other tales of spousal abuse, overbearing parents, and sheer madness. The more Liz learns, the more questions she finds need to be answered, but can she uncover all of the answers before her children are gone forever?
I found Ruin Falls to be a fast-paced read. Each family's story provides vital clues into what is happening. I don't think of Ruin Falls as a mystery so much as a suspense thriller. Liz endures quite a bit in her search for her children and it is this endurance and the inherent obstacles that add to the overall build of tension within the story. Ms. Milchman has created another mesmerizing tale of family dysfunction with very realistic, multidimensional characters that will grab you from the very beginning. If you enjoy suspense thrillers with a family element, then Ruin Falls is the perfect book for you. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Milchman in the future.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."