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Ruin Falls

Liz Daniels should be happy about taking a rare family vacation, leaving behind their remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six year-old Ally, have only met their paternal grandparents a handful of times. But her husband, Paul, has decided that despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood.

The family doesn’t make it all the way to the farm and stops at a hotel for the night. And in the morning, when Liz checks on her sleeping children, all of the small paranoias and anxieties from the day before come to life: Ally and Reid are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice cold terror as the hours tick by without discovering a trace of her kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, detectives are called in. Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz’s mind.

But the children are safe. In a sudden, gut-wrenching realization, Liz knows that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room and kidnapped her children. Instead it was someone she trusted completely. And as the police abruptly wrap-up their investigation, Liz identifies the person who has betrayed her. Now she will stop at nothing to find Ally and Reid and get them back. From her guarded in-laws’ unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.


Once you stay in upwards of three hundred hotels in a couple of years, the setting enters your consciousness. One night, as I tucked my kids into the sleeper sofa in the outer room of our suite, it occurred to me that squestering the adults away from the hall was an architectural move replete with frightening potential. The best way for me to cope with envisioning that thin gray line--you know the one I mean; we all fear crossing it--is to write a novel, and thus was Ruin Falls born. But no children were harmed in the making of this book. I am a writer who can't stand much danger, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. I write to a point of redemption, where the scales are again balanced. A reader in Vermont asked if I scared myself with my writing, and I told him that I am actually less scared in the midst of a book. I am in control of the world I am sculpting. I know where everything is going to come out...and I hope it's a place you will want to be.