A searing, poignant, darkly comic novel set on Cape Cod by the author of the bestselling true crime story Invisible Eden.
Young Alden Warren's husband has vanished without a trace. Her daily routine -- working for the National Park Service at the Cape Cod National Seashore, volunteering to take care of a cantankerous old activist she met through Meals on Wheels, monitoring bird migration counts, and applying for a foster baby -- provides many distractions and obstacles, but she's got bigger troubles as Miss Bride Interrupted.
Alden is avidly courted but holds out emotionally -- until Lux Davis, a handsome landscape worker and her husbands undetected killer, tracks her down. Lux is smitten with Alden, but his immediate problem, unknown to her, is how to dispose of the body. Lux and Alden bond strongly in the face of their mutual demons, past and current, creating a charged and magical love story. In the meantime, his secret is on the verge of being discovered as the law closes in behind him.
Maria Flook finds valiant people within the working-class population of an off-season resort community. Although unsteady and disenfranchised, her characters emerge intact, buoyed by their love for one another and for the natural world, and portrayed by Flook with her signature mixture of high poetic seriousness and a ribald, picaresque sensibility (The New Yorker).
An iconoclastic cast of Cape Cod year-rounders peoples Flook's moody, intelligent novel. Alden Warren works for the National Park Service, counts birds for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, volunteers for Meals on Wheels and daily mourns her husband, a school teacher and dedicated environmentalist who vanished two years earlier. Monty was a known skirt-chaser, so authorities assume that he took off with a lively fellow lepidopterist. Alden herself is not without carnal impulses and succumbs to suitors mostly unsuitable who help her briefly forget Monty. The action accelerates steadily as handsome antihero Lux Davis stalks Alden even as he frets about his guilty secret involving her missing husband. Lux works for a nurseryman and has a genuine green thumb, along with a neurological disorder that he's suffered since childhood. Though occasionally too studied, Flook's baroque language Cape Cod is "a chaotic, fiddlehead topography of dunes" gives this noirish story a distinctive edge. Alternating between Rabelaisian comic realism and a Wordsworthian passion for nature, the novel provides the reader with a bumpy but enthralling ride.