From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Oates' daring journey through the labyrinths of criminal minds takes a fierce turn in this unflinching yet restrained tale of the sick symbiosis between an abducted child and his fiendish captor. Dinah, a white woman living in Michigan, defied her nasty mother to marry Whit, a black radio personality. They love and adore their son, Robbie, who is a smart if high-strung five-year-old when a stranger ambushes Dinah in a mall parking lot, grabs her son, and nearly kills her when she desperately runs after his van. Known as Chester Cash, a secretive itinerant preacher and craftsman, this monster calls himself Daddy Love as he conducts his gruesome regime of torture, rape, and reward, which we witness from both his and Robbie's perspectives over the course of six grim years. For all the horror and sensationalism of her wrenching subject, Oates judiciously charts Robbie's brutal metamorphosis and Dinah's resilience in an urgently compelling and drastically revealing study of evil, habitual terror, and survival. HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: Expect heated interest from Oates devotees and all readers drawn to strongly wrought, psychologically incisive dark tales.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
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At the start of this gripping psychological thriller from Oates (The Gravedigger's Daughter), Dinah Whitcomb is playing the "find our car" game with her five-year-old son, Robbie, in the parking lot of an Ypsilanti, Mich., mall when a stranger seizes the boy and runs over Dinah in his van, maiming her. Robbie is renamed Gideon by Daddy Love, his abductor, who has kidnapped several little boys through the years, killing them when they're adolescents and "too old" for him. The outside world knows Daddy Love as Chet Cash, a loving father, a sensitive artist, and itinerant preacher. Spanning six years, the action shifts between Gideon and Daddy Love, who's quick to mete out cruel punishments, and Dinah and her husband, bonded by guilt in a crumbling marriage. The creep factor ramps up when the intuitive Gideon realizes that he's not Daddy Love's only "son" and the fate that awaits him. This unsettling tale showcases Oates's masterful storytelling. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Associates. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.