Ruskovich, Emily. Idaho
LJ Reviews 2017 February #1
Ann and Wade live a solitary life in the mountains of northern Idaho. In his 50s, Wade has early-onset dementia, and his memory has started to fade. The only good thing about this development is that he begins to forget an appalling family catastrophe: his first wife, Jenny, now long in prison, brutally murdered their young daughter May with an ax, apparently with no warning. Their other daughter, June, ran terrified into the woods and was never seen again. This could be the plot of a psychological thriller, but the awful violence is mercifully muted, and this novel is more about mood than suspense. The chapters zigzag back and forth from different times in the past to the near future and include sad scenes of a zombie-like incarcerated Jenny. Unfortunately, the writing is opaque and oblique just when one would like more clarity and insight into the characters.
PW Reviews 2016 November #3
In Ruskovich's beautifully constructed debut novel, Ann attempts to piece together her husband Wade's past—namely, the murder of his younger daughter, May, by his ex-wife, Jenny, and the disappearance of his elder daughter, June, which took place years ago, on the mountain where Wade and Ann now live. The book is set in the alluring and haunting landscape of Idaho, spanning over 50 years, and depicting Ann's obsession and determination to figure out what exactly Jenny's motives were and just what happened to the girls. Jenny is now in jail, mostly keeping to herself while serving a life sentence, and Ann is caring for Wade while he suffers from genetic early-onset dementia, training dogs, and making knives. All the while, Ann and Wade hope that June may still be alive, after 18 years of no news. With her amazing sentences, Ruskovich draws readers into the novel's world, using a number of well-developed voices to describe various perspectives, allowing readers to understand the complexities of the story as well as Ann does. Shocking and heartbreaking, Ruskovich has crafted a remarkable love story and a narrative that will stay with readers. Agent: Jin Auh, Wylie Agency. (Jan.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.