From the author of Daniel Isn’t Talking and Dying Young comes a shattering new novel, a page-turner about a sexual relationship between a grown man and a newly teenaged girl.
June was a young widow with ahopeless crush on Craig Kirtz, a disc jockey at a local rock station. To her surprise, the two struck up a friendship that seemed headed for something more. But it was June’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Bobbie, whom Craig had wanted all along. Bobbie thought her secret life—the sex, the drugs, the illicit relationship itself—could remain safely buried in the past. But thirty years later, when Bobbie discovers Craig’s attentions to her had been repeated with any number of girls, she returns home with one purpose in mind: to bring Craig to trial.
Her decision is greeted with mixed feelings. Some people think that bringing charges against someone for a crime committed so many years ago is unjustified. She’s called a “middle-aged woman with a vendetta.” She’s accused of waging war against her own family. But the past has a way of revealing itself, and some relationships lie dormant through the years, ready to stir to life at the
June remembers things differently from the way Bobbie does. Craig insists he has done nothing wrong. As their traumatic history is relived in the courtroom, Bobbie and June must come to terms with the choices they made and face the truth they have long refused to acknowledge. Told with warmth and compassion, this is a moving, deeply absorbing story of a family in crisis.
The latest from Leimbach (The Man from Saigon) is a nuanced portrayal of a mother and daughter at once linked and divided by a ferociously exploitative man. In 1978, Maryland disc jockey Craig Kirtz pursues a friendship with June, an insecure widow, to gain access to her 13-year-old daughter, Bobbie. June remains oblivious as her daughter sinks deeper and deeper into a secret life shaped by Craig's sexual demands, emotional manipulation, and drug-fueled volatility. Bobbie can't extricate herself until a dramatic combination of events on a single September night sets her escape in motion. Making a new life for herself in California after she runs away, she refuses to return home or see her mother now Craig's wife for 30 years. But when she learns that Craig has been tried and acquitted for molesting another teenager, she feels compelled to initiate legal proceedings that she hopes will stop him for good. As she reencounters Craig, her mother, and Dan Gregory, the beau she left behind when she ran away, Bobbie confronts both her past and her future. Treating June's perspective as richly as Bobbie's, the novel brings memorable depth to issues often oversimplified; Leimbach's scenes are convincing, whether they portray harrowing abuse or subtle moments of healing.