By Scott Heim
A dark and compelling novel of addiction, obsession, love, and family from the acclaimed author of Mysterious Skin
A teenage boy is found murdered in a field near a small Kansas town. A woman named Donna, who is recently widowed and battling cancer, becomes obsessed with the case. She persuades her son--who, like the novelist, is also named Scott--to move back home and join her in researching missing, “disappeared” people. Scott is battling demons of his own--he is addicted to methamphetamines and sleeping pills--but he agrees to return to Kansas. The new morbid obsession helps him focus his energies on other peoples’ woes, and he vows to care for his mother as she grows increasingly sicker. During that autumn, Scott and his mother begin driving to small Midwest towns, interviewing family and friends of disappeared people, claiming to do research for a make-believe book (all to the concern of Donna’s doctor and her oddball best friend, Dolores). But one day their world changes when Scott discovers his mother has kidnapped a teenage boy. The boy, whom they have nicknamed Otis, is handcuffed and locked in a shadowy room in their basement. Scott, his addictions growing worse, tries to hide the crime from the world. As his mother’s health deteriorates and she enters the hospital, Scott begins to notice eerie similarities between Otis and other missing teens, and even more, to his own self when he was young.
WE DISAPPEAR is a novel about lost innocence, family responsibility, and the dangers of obsession. It examines our fascination with mystery and crime, and ultimately shows the power of love between a mother and son.