Ethan is a single father who has fought his alcoholic ex-wife for custody of his young son Nate, and won. Ethan is a good father who loves his son and takes care of him very well.
One chilly day while out driving, Ethan sees some deer entering the woods. Enchanted, he parks the truck, gets out of the cab and watches them. Soon, he's left his sleeping son to follow them a short ways down the trail. Soon, the short jaunt becomes a longer distance until he realizes he's been absorbed with watching the deer for too long and has wandered farther then he should have. He hurries back to the truck only to find it empty. Nate is gone.
The search for Nate begins. Townspeople, friends and strangers join the local authorities to find Nate. Nate is found. He is dead, the chilly temperatures to blame. Tired, Nate laid down and went to sleep, the bottoms of his footed pajamas worn through from walking.
I did not give away a spoiler. The reader is prepared for this. Now the book can begin. Because the book is not about Nate. It's about how lives in a small town can alter and take on new meaning when a tragedy like this occurs.
The characters in this story are unique and filled with enough pain of their own. We come to know Angie, whose daughter left her child on Angie's doorstep to raise. Glick, the man who was falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. Roxanne, whose father abandoned her, and Roxanne's lesbian lover Jane who had abandoned her won child. And Jack, a judge whose son Monty steals from him. Each character's problems are unique, and while they aren't resolved, they learn to live within their lives.
I got this copy from the library as an audio book. It seemed to take me an extraordinary amount of time to get through. At first I was disappointed in the story because I thought it would be more about the search for Nate and the trial that ensues, but that was not the case. The book was good but for me it did not work in audio format. The reader's voice did well on the female parts, but the children's voices all sounded like high-pitched old people and the men all sounded constipated. If interested, check out the novel, pass on the audio book.