Mike Sullivan is determined to raise his six-year-old daughter Sarah to become a tough, independent woman. His own mother left when he was twelve, promising to return and rescue him from his father, an abusive and violently unpredictable thief who, Mike believes, is responsible for her disappearance. But Mike's wife, Jess, has an overprotective need to shelter Sarah. Rebelling against her paranoia, Mike waits until Jess leaves the house and then, against her wishes, takes Sarah sledding.
Only Sarah doesn't want to go up the hill with her father. Sarah wants to go up with her best friend. In love with his daughter's stubbornness, Mike grants her wish, and when Sarah doesn't come down, he finds himself stuck in the middle of a snowstorm, his daughter gone.
Five years later, Sarah is still missing. The only suspect, Francis Jonah, the former priest believed to be responsible for the disappearance of two other girls, is dying of cancer. On the anniversary of Sarah's disappearance, her jacket is discovered -- by Jonah.
Battling a failed marriage and desperate for the truth, Mike is in a frenzied race to unlock Jonah's monstrous secrets before he dies. What is the connection between the disappearance of Sarah and Mike's mother? And why has Mike's father suddenly reappeared? In this gripping story of loss, compassion, and forgiveness, Mike must confront a family history steeped in lies, deceit, and, hardest of all, the persistent suspicion that his daughter might still be alive.
The stolen child plot has become a popular category in the thriller genre. Mooney (Deviant Ways; World Without End) takes the basic scenario and adds a few clever twists before serving up a rather pallid solution. Mike Sullivan's wife, Jess, is an overprotective mother, afraid to let six-year-old Sarah go with Mike to the Hill, the sledding slope of choice in Belham, Mass. Mike has a beer and takes her anyway, joining up at the Hill with pal Bill O'Malley and his daughter Paula. Then the unthinkable happens. Sarah heads up the hill with Paula, but never comes down, and Mike finds her sled and glasses buried in the snow. "The flutter turned into a cold, hard lump that knocked against the walls of his heart. He stumbled to his feet, a scream rising in his throat: 'Sarah, where are you?' " For the next five years, he searches for his daughter, convinced that defrocked priest Francis Jonah is responsible for Sarah's disappearance. Jonah is still living in town, free because the police don't have enough evidence to arrest him. Mike's marriage fails after he's arrested for beating up Jonah. He stays out of jail, but has to quit drinking, attend anger-management counseling and submit to urine and Breathalyzer tests every time his probation officer wants to yank his chain. Mike has other problems: a mother who abandoned him, a criminal father and an old romance, all of which are woven into the story. The built-in tension of the basic missing child plot is enough to carry most readers through, but the end feels rushed and threads are left dangling. Forecast: Mooney's fans may be disappointed in the rather tame plot after the more exciting high-tech and evil villain approach of his first two books. Laudatory blurbs from bestsellers Dennis Lehane and Harlan Coben may help.
Loved this book!
I do enjoyed this book, he made me feel the same emotions the father had. So well written . One of those books you don't want to put down!! I'll be looking for other books by this author!