Twenty six years have passed since two-year-old Sammy Went disappeared from her home in Manson, Kentucky, when her brother tracks her down in Melbourne, Australia. DNA seems to confirm that Kim Leamy is indeed Sammy. He persuades Kim to come to the USA to meet her sister and long-since split-up parents to help find out who so successfully kidnapped her.
Kim’s emotional roller-coaster is completely believable as she battles with her identity and the secret so rigidly concealed for so long. The dark involvement of the followers of the fundamental Church of the Light Within, who handle poisonous snakes as part of their worship, colours the Manson inhabitants in such a way as to induce fanatics, or cause them to flee the town.
Christian White breathes life into his characters, and warm blood into their veins. He smoothly moves alternate chapters between the Then and the Now; both tales are un-put-downably tense as they spear towards a finale where the truth finally comes to perch.
Americans might find fault with his Kentuckian dialogues suggesting, perhaps, shades of ´Strine. But I doubt anyone else will be too fussed. I enjoyed this debut novel which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award.
Thank you, Jonathan Ball Publishers, South African distributors, for this Harper Collins imprint ARC.