Leave No Trace
“Dark and atmospheric, with palpably vivid details and complex characters harboring plenty of secrets” (Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of The Marriage Lie), this riveting and suspenseful thriller—by the author of the critically acclaimed Everything You Want Me to Be—follows the mysterious disappearance of a boy and his stunning return ten years later.
There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago, a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.
Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later...the son reappears. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he is violent and uncommunicative and is sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with the high-profile patient. No matter how hard she tries, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life.
But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.
With breathless pacing and edge-of-your-seat twists and turns, “Leave No Trace is as thrilling as whitewater rapids and as dark as the Minnesotan wilderness itself” (Amy Gentry, internationally bestselling author of Good as Gone).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A decade after vanishing in the Minnesota wilderness along with his father, 19-year-old Lucas Blackthorn resurfaces, and he’s in bad shape. Mindy Mejia uses vivid descriptions of the stark Boundary Waters backcountry to provide top-notch atmospherics for this intricately plotted thriller. Her novel carefully sketches the backstory of young speech therapist Maya Stark, who’s trying to help Lucas recover while seeking answers about what happened to him in those woods. Mejia’s gripping mystery explores how therapists struggle to keep their own emotions in check while helping others recover from trauma.
Freshly certified speech therapist Maya Stark, the narrator of this atmospheric though flawed psychological thriller from Mejia (Everything You Want Me to Be), knows she's in over her head when Dr. Mehta who only a few years ago was her own psychiatrist at the Duluth, Minn., mental hospital where she now works pressures her into trying to break through to 19-year-old Lucas Blackthorn, a violent, silent new patient. Until his recent arrest during an attempted robbery, Lucas was presumed dead after vanishing a decade earlier with his father into the vast Boundary Waters wilderness on the Canadian border. The ruggedly handsome Lucas and his single-minded determination to escape back into the wild to save his ailing parent will soon affect Maya so deeply that she embarks on a series of increasingly dangerous decisions that could cost her job. Although overly plotted, especially with what feel like forced symmetries between Maya's and Lucas's backstories, the novel is saved by its arresting characters none more so than the mysterious, primeval expanse of the Boundary Waters itself. Mejia remains a writer to watch.)
Nineteen-year-old Lucas Blackthorn and his father disappeared in the Minnesota Boundary Waters wilderness, ten-years ago. They were both assumed dead. But when Lucas Blackthorn ransacked a nearby outfitter store, the search for his father resumed. Lucas was sent to a nearby psychiatric hospital. He was mute and unresponsive.
Assistant speech therapist, Maya Stark was assigned to work with Lucas Blackthorn. The staff at the hospital were amazed when Maya received an immediate response from Lucas. It baffled everyone, but Lucas, as to why he would connect with Maya, and no one else.
Against hospital rules, Maya became emotionally involved with Lucas. She became his ally, and crossed professional lines, risking her job, her heart, and her future. Lucas needed to find his father. Maya did too, but not for the same reason. Maya had her own secrets and agenda. She wanted answers.
Leave No Trace is a complex and compelling thriller. Although I didn’t find the book entirely realistic, I was engrossed in the story from the first page.
Thank you, Atria Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.