The First World War ended the day Sam Simoneaux's regiment reached France, but he saw more than enough of its ravages. Returning to New Orleans, he determines to put mayhem and destruction behind him, and to make a frest start with his wife. But when a little girl is abducted on his watch at a department store, he has no choice but to help find ...
The First World War ended the day Sam Simoneaux's regiment reached France, but he saw more than enough of its ravages. Returning to New Orleans, he determines to put mayhem and destruction behind him, and to make a frest start with his wife. But when a little girl is abducted on his watch at a department store, he has no choice but to help find her. Sam takes a guard job on the Mississippi steamboat that her parents work on as musicians, hoping to unearth clues somewhere along the river. As the boat heads upstream and calls in at ever more lawless settlements, offering excursions with dancing and jazz to its rowdy customers, Sam enforces tolerable behaviour on board. It is ashore the danger lies, where he makes a discovery that not only threatens everyone involved but casts new light on the murder of his own family decades earlier. Steeped in the langorous rhythms and music of Prohibition Louisiana, The Missing vividly evokes a ragged frontier nation where violence is normal and the law easy to dodge. But Sam Simoneaux knows right from wrong, and what it means to lose a child. Relentlessly suspenseful and profoundly affecting, this is an enthralling tale of vengeance, conscience and redemption by an exceptional writer.
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I admire how the author did not compromise art for accessibility. It has both. The story pulled me through like I was on a leash. Perhaps some elements stretched believability a tad, but the offense is venial.
I knew the characters and cared about the events of their lives, even the odious ones.
Looking forward to reading The Clearing.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-12-08 Bayou shepherd of half-sunk souls, Gautreaux returns to the land of the lost and the lonely in his haunting and transient third book (after The Clearing). Post-WWI Louisiana is a "root-buckled" and "magnolia-haunted" underworld for seedy, drunken mobs and twisted backwoods families. Floating through the chaos is Sam Simoneaux, who, "half dead" after the slaughter of his parents and the later loss of his two-year-old son to fever, undertakes a quest to find a missing girl. Encountering embittered thieves, forlorn vaudevillians and icy bourgeoisie, Simoneaux is a keen observer who can find the one good stitch of humanity in an otherwise sordid tableau, even as his investigation begins to connect back to his family's murders. He is also a refreshingly candid voice, brimming with a lyrical intensity that graces some of the best Southern literature. Though the hasty, romantic wrapup to Sam's investigation and his refusal to exact revenge on his family's murderers-emotionally tepid even through the novel's decisive climax-obscure Gautreaux's finer redemptive tones, Sam's struggle to redeem the memories of his son and parents sustains the book's raw beauty. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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