A small town swept up in a manhunt for a fugitive from foreign soil and a teenage girl struggling to make the right choices with little information and less time.
In the heat of a stifling summer in her sixteenth year, Livy Marko spends her days in the rust-belt town of Lomath, Pennsylvania, babysitting, hanging out with her best friend, Nelson, and waiting for a bigger life to begin. These simple routines are disrupted when the electricity is cut off and the bridges are closed by a horde of police and FBI agents. A fugitive from the Republic of Georgia, on the run from an extradition order, has taken refuge in nearby hills and no one is able to leave or enter Lomath until he is found.As the police fail to find the wanted man and hours stretch into days, the town of Lomath begins to buckle under the strain. Like Russian dolls, each hostage seems to be harboring a captive of their own. Even Livy’s parents may have something to conceal, and Livy must learn that the source of danger is not always what it appears.Rosalie Knecht’s wise and suspenseful debut evokes the classics while conjuring the contemporary paranoia of the post-terrorist age. Relief Map doesn’t loosen its grip until the consequences of this catastrophic summer, and the ways in which a quiet girl’s fate can be rerouted and forever changed, are made fully apparent.
Part languid thriller, part coming-of-age tale, Knecht's atmospheric debut deftly follows the doubts of teenage self-discovery into larger uncertainties about personal safety, the specter of terrorism, and the role of authority. A hazy summer of babysitting, listlessness, and ambiguous flirtation with her best friend, Nelson, stretches ahead for 16-year-old Livy Markos, navigating adolescence in the enervated rust belt town of Lomoth, Pa. But sudden catastrophe ruptures her ritualized ennui: FBI agents cordon off the town, suspecting it harbors a fugitive from the republic of Georgia. Choked by heat and fear, the community disintegrates. Relationships fracture and long-buried secrets surface, while the shutdown kindles teenage restlessness into a desperate excursion that entangles Livy in dark ethical and legal consequences. Knecht's teenagers speak authentically: at once self-aggrandizing and curious, wary and naive, torn between the need to belong and the drive to differentiate. Readers will be immersed in the vision of America drawn by this bracing, uneasy account of a fading small town seized in a modern state of emergency.