First, a nine-year-old girl goes missing. The people of her hometown of Boise, Idaho, comb the hills in search of her. Among them are the little girl's neighbors, Wells and Francine Davidson, a couple expecting their first child.
Next, a stranger arrives in town, under the auspices of helping to search for the missing girl; his real motivation is to locate and reunite with Francine. As children, Francine and this stranger (named Colville) had been raised side by side in a religious sect called The Activity, which is modeled after the real-life Church Universal and Triumphant (see 'Beyond the Book').
The ways in which these characters Francine and her husband, the long-lost friend, the missing girl orbit and twine around each other in Peter Rock's The Shelter Cycle is something of a feat. Their alternating perspectives add up to a novel that is poignant but...
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