Quercus | September 2018 | 352 pgs
Ten years ago, Josiah Blackthorn and his son, Lucas, trekked into the wilderness of Minnesota's Boundary Waters and were never heard again. As their campsites were found ravaged, everyone's initial thoughts was they might be attacked by some wild animals. A decade later, Lucas was found ransacking an outfitter store. He was caught but his mental condition appeared unstable; he was violent and uncommunicative so he is now incarcerated in Congdon Psychiatric Institution.
Speech therapist Maya Stark is assigned to Lucas's case. Having grown up at the Boundary Waters, she has her own sad story and secrets to hide. She is intrigued by Lucas no doubt, after all he is a high profile patient in the Institute and the fact that they are both familiar with Boundary Waters. Lucas isn't cooperative initially but through Maya's persistence efforts Lucas starts to open up. Eventually Maya feels she needs to help Lucas find his father, even if she is to break some protocols.
"A father had disappeared. A son was desperate to find him. And I would tell a thousand lies if it brought him one step closer." ~ Pg 134
While Leave No Trace may read as a psychological thriller, I think it's also right to say it's about the emotional struggles and connections between a therapist and a patient. The characters development was great; and I felt so much for both Lucas and Maya. However, their connection also made me uneasy; especially Maya took matters into her own hands and broke a few work ethics rules.
Aside from this, there's also the mystery surrounding Maya's mother's disappearance when Maya was younger and how it continues to haunt her as an adult. I thought this was an intriguing aspect throughout the story, though I was equally curious about Josiah's whereabouts and whether or not if he's still alive. The pace starts out a bit slow in the beginning but picks up quickly once events start to unfold. While overall this was a satisfying read, I liked her previous novel (Everything You Want Me to Be) better.
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