Five Star Novels of Missing Persons

Jonathan Letham: THE FERAL DETECTIVE.

A gripping journey, in the company of Phoebe and the feral Detective Charles Heist, into the Mojave desert in search of a city girl missing from home:

“Threatening him with police had been dumb. Our here, police were as theoretical an influence as contrails. My captor was a member of the Viscera Springs confuckancy–if I meant to distract him while Melinda crawled, I had to keep that in mind. However much he came on with the Zen-cosmopolitan flippancy, his world view arose inside a Bear’s fear and desire. I should speak to him in Bearish.

Ben H. Winters: UNDERGROUND AIRLINES

A powerful alternate reality thriller that establishes 4 southern states as slave-holding and the remainder of the United States a less than salubrious destination for slave runaways given the efficiency of the agency established to return them to their owners. The narrator, an agent who is himself an escaped slave, is good at his job, but he trips up on a case of a runaway lacking the paperwork of his history.

“(He) looked like shit. Sallow and unwholesome, bunched up on the ground, a discarded thing. Someone had left a bottle of water beside his bed with a straw poking out at a steep angle; in the other corner of the room was a bedpan, a dribble of piss at the bottom of it.”

Toni Morrison: JAZZ (1993 ISBN 0-452-26965-2)

A lyrical, swirling mystery set between the Civil War and the Jazz age of Harlem, whose core sits in the eye of a Wild Girl’s appearance and disappearance, a mother who refuses to raise her son and sets in motion a jam of love, pain, longing, and hope.

“Pain. I seem to have an affection, a kind of sweettooth for it. Bolts of lightning, little rivulets of thunder. And I the eye of the storm. Mourning the split trees, hens starving on rooftops. Figuring out what can be done to save them since they can’t save themselves without me because–well, it’s my storm, isn’t it?”