Synopses & Reviews
It only takes a moment for a life to change forever.
Ethan Denton is a lucky man. Most things have gone his way, and being granted full custody of Nate, his young son and “North Star,” has given him a near-perfect life. On a crisp winter morning just before the start of deer season, Ethan and Nate set off together to discover the beauties of the forest. As he parks the truck, Ethan spots a pair of magnificent bucks, and, eager to take a closer look, leaves Nate asleep in the car seat, a brief, impulsive decision any parent might make. When he returns only a few minutes later, the door of the truck is open and Nate is nowhere to be seen.
As an unexpected blizzard blankets the woods, Ethan searches for the missing three-year-old with the help of other townspeople: Ethan’s ex-wife and his ex-best friend; an older Jewish judge, whose concern and involvement is colored by recent problems with his own son; a middle-aged lesbian couple; and others touched by the crisis. Nate’s disappearance brings up past wounds for everyone, but also miraculously provides the chance for love and redemption as they struggle to make sense of the inexplicable.
ANGEL’S CREST is a beautifully wrought work, a seamless blend of dramatic suspense and emotional truth.
"A father pays the price for a brief moment of distraction in this histrionic lost child novel set in the mountains of California. Ethan Denton finally has everything he ever wanted. He's just won full custody of his three-year-old son, Nate, and they're living together in a tiny isolated town near a stunning peak called Angels Crest. That's where the two head one chilly morning at the crack of dawn, as part of Ethan's quest to 'indoctrinate his son with the divinity of the forest.' But Nate falls asleep in the truck, and Ethan makes the fateful decision to leave him for a moment while he follows the trail of two handsome bucks. By the time Ethan gets back, Nate has walked away in his footie pajamas and disappeared into the forest. Before long, nearly everyone in town is engaged in Ethan's parental nightmare, including Ethan's alcoholic ex-wife, Cindy ('with her wear-and-tear body'), lesbian couple Rocksan and Jane, ex-con woodsman Glick, diner waitress Angie and tormented Jewish judge Jack Rosenthal. Writing from seven separate points of view, Schwartz (Jumping the Green) lingeringly explores the different ways parents desert their children, and the aftereffects of their abandonment. She manages to keep the plot pounding forward, but hammers home her maudlin message relentlessly. Agent, Henry Dunow. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Ethan Denton's near-perfect life is shattered when his three-year-old son disappears just before an unexpected blizzard blankets the region. Schwartz creates a rich cast of characters whose reactions to the tragedy reflect the complexities of human emotions.
About the Author
Leslie Schwartz is the author of Jumping the Green, which won the James Jones Literary Society Award for Best First Novel. Her short stories have appeared in dozens of literary journals, and her nonfiction has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Shape, Self, and other magazines and newspapers. She teaches fiction writing at UCLA Extension and poetry to at-risk high school students through PEN in the Classroom. She is also a mentor for young writers through PENs Emerging Voices fellowship program and writes a monthly column for the nonprofit Council of Literary Magazines and Presses based in New York City. She lives in Los Angeles.