Suddenly widowed and penniless Madeleine Heron is forced to move into her sister's vacation cabin on rural Green Lake, next door to taciturn Native American conservation officer Eris Renard. Instead of the peace and solitude she hopes to find at the lake Madeleine finds herself witness to depravity, blackmail, and murder among the strange residents. And in spite of the danger, she falls in love.
Rural Kansas is to Epperson (The Neighborhood) what rural Maine is to Stephen King: an outback where outlandish terror lurks. The setting in this curious, fractured novel is the isolated Kansas village of Green Lake, where anthropology professor Madeleine Heron moves to a vacation cabin to recover from her husband's suicide. There, Madeleine meets an assortment of odd, troubling neighbors, including Eris Renard, a lonely, mountain-sized Indian conservation officer whose scarred face and gruff manner can't fully hide his good heart. Epperson excels at creating vibrant characters, all of them wounded in one way or another. Their web of relationships�especially a growing love between Madeleine and Eris that's threatened by Eris's reunion, after 27 years, with his birth mother, who is vehemently anti-white�form a narrative skein that hoists the story above melodrama. And that's good, because the drama here is cheesy and lurid, involving child-slayings, a local official who likes to run people down in his car and another local who literally loves the dead. Epperson's skills at evoking the human heart far exceed her ability to create suspense that can make the heart pound. Increasingly, she seems like a mainstream author who's wandered into the psychological suspense genre by accident and can't find her way out. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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July 06, 2012
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