It only takes a moment for a life to change forever. Ethan Denton is a lucky man. Lately things have gone his way–like being granted custody of Nate, his three-year-old son. But when he takes the child up to Angels Crest early one morning to show him the mountains, Ethan’s luck changes instantaneously. In an impulsive decision any parent might make, he leaves his son asleep in the back seat while he follows a pair of magnificent buck, just for a minute–but when he returns the truck’s door is open, the child is gone, and snow is falling . . .As townspeople gather to aid in the search, the boy’s disappearance resurrects old wounds and regrets for each of them. But it also provides the chance for love and redemption, as they struggle to make sense of the inexplicable.
A father pays the price for a brief moment of distraction in this histrionic lost child novel set in the mountains of California. Ethan Denton finally has everything he ever wanted. He's just won full custody of his three-year-old son, Nate, and they're living together in a tiny isolated town near a stunning peak called Angels Crest. That's where the two head one chilly morning at the crack of dawn, as part of Ethan's quest to "indoctrinate his son with the divinity of the forest." But Nate falls asleep in the truck, and Ethan makes the fateful decision to leave him for a moment while he follows the trail of two handsome bucks. By the time Ethan gets back, Nate has walked away in his footie pajamas and disappeared into the forest. Before long, nearly everyone in town is engaged in Ethan's parental nightmare, including Ethan's alcoholic ex-wife, Cindy ("with her wear-and-tear body"), lesbian couple Rocksan and Jane, ex-con woodsman Glick, diner waitress Angie and tormented Jewish judge Jack Rosenthal. Writing from seven separate points of view, Schwartz (Jumping the Green) lingeringly explores the different ways parents desert their children, and the aftereffects of their abandonment. She manages to keep the plot pounding forward, but hammers home her maudlin message relentlessly.
This was a very powerful and moving story of how so much can change so fast. I was hooked from the beginning.