David Harwood, a reporter at the \\\"Standard\\\" has been working on a story about privatizing prisons. Star Spangled Corrections wants to build a private prison in the town and has been paying off town officials. David has most of the story but when he goes to his editors, they delay, telling him they need more information.
One day, David, his wife Jan, and four year old son, Ethan, go to Five Mountains, an amusement park. Jan returns to the car to get her back pack and disappears.
When David begins searching and the police arrive, they look at the film of the park enterance and see no evidence of Jan ever arriving. At first they are sympathetic but turn skeptical when they find no evidence of Jan ever being there.
David attempts to get help from the local police but as they look into the case, they find that there were only two tickets purchased (on line) and wonder what David might be hiding.
As David attempts to conduct his own investigation, he discovers that many of the things that he and Jan built there lives on were fabricated. His son, Ethan, is asking for his mother and David needs to find her and learn why she couldn\\\'t tell him the truth about her past.
David is a well described character and is easy to sympathise with, although as a reporter, it took a long time for him to realize what was going on. Jan is a true Machavellian, out only for herself and unlikable, which is what the author must have intended.
The plot is magnificant. Barclay is like a master fisherman who casts his line in various places and then reels in the catch. In this case, he reels in the story that catches the reader\\\'s breath.