Saul’s nine-year old son, Ezzy, goes missing in the Copperton Forest near where the family lives. Saul fears that “missing” isn’t accurate, however. Rather, Saul suspects that the boy has been abducted by something strange and unworldly. Therefore, Saul must leave his despondent wife and trek on foot through the New Mexico wilderness to pursue the captors before Ezzy is lost forever in a world of shadows that does not exist on any map of the 47th state.
If you have read this author before, you know that he masterfully creates worlds that no one has seen. This journey beyond the great green mountain invokes strange wildlife, bizarre creatures, broken down prophets, villages coated in red from slaughtered residents, and something in the shadows that pursues Saul. This quest is a nightmare beyond imagining, and one feels the urgency and despair of Saul as he attempts to find his son before it is too late. Saul’s entire character (his thoughts, emotions, and actions) and in fact all of the other characters are perfectly portrayed – multidimensional and sympathetic.
The author’s descriptions are at times dazzling and at other times terrifying. There is a passage into a town called Sage that is so vivid that the sense of threat can be physically grasped. In fact, much of Mr. Deininger’s writing was almost cinematic. That is, I was “seeing” the events unfold instead of reading them. The writing was that good.
I have read four of the author’s works, and continue to be impressed. This may be my favorite, but to be honest, I think I also said that after reading his others. So, maybe it is a tossup. Nonetheless, this novella is gripping and very entertaining. The nightmarish theme is intense and the outcomes are unpredictable. Take a look. Highly recommended.