Travis Wren is a man who lives an isolated life. He has not recovered from the death of his sister and has to deal with psychic abilities that are often disturbing to him. He can touch an object and visualize when it was attached to its owner. This ability has enabled Travis to help in investigations of missing people. He is hired by the parents of Maggie St. James, an author of children’s books. Maggie mysteriously disappeared five years ago. The location of Maggie’s abandoned car and a necklace of Maggie’s lead Travis to a commune buried deep in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. The community, called Pastoral, was formed in the 1970s by a group of hippies. The story shifts to a young couple, Theo and Calla, living a simple life within Pastoral along with Calla’s blind sister Bee. Theo works security at the gate of Pastoral where its residents are not allowed to leave as they are told by their dynamic leader Levi that a deadly disease exists outside the village. Theo starts to sneak out of the gates where he finds Travis’ truck. Calla too is restless and finds items belonging to Maggie. Theo, Calla and Bee work to solve the mystery of the two missing people who they believe had made their way into Pastoral even though no one seems to recall their presence.
Author Shea Ernshaw has created a thought-provoking tale. In A History of Wild Places, the residents are essentially captives and they resist trying to leave because of the fear of what lies outside. This is a tense, skillful mystery thriller which has a fantasy element so it requires complete suspension of disbelief. Not my normal type of book but I’m very glad I took a chance and read it.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: December 7, 2021.
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