Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy [in Library Journal]
Maile Meloy (Madame Lazarus) makes her narrating debut with this disturbing thriller that showcases a parent’s worst nightmare – the disappearance of children. Best friends and cousins Liv and Nora take their husbands and two children (each) on a holiday cruise. The families bask in the easy luxury, making friends with an Argentine couple with two kids as well.
At a Central American stopover, the fathers decide to golf, the mothers and six children choose a zip line tour. When their tour van blows a tire en route, the motley group stops at a nearby beach. While the adults are distracted, the children vanish. Bonds, sanity, and truth are all tested as the parents begin their desperate search.
As reader, Meloy delivers a narrative that is disproportionately languid, a jarring contrast to one that continuously describes brutal events – dead bodies, shallow graves, drug-running, and rape. More cringe-inducing are the stereotypes that populate the Latin American cast: drug lords, an eager-to-please guide, a maid, and undocumented immigrants. Her overprivileged, private school-attending, Tesla-driving, Hollywood-connected California tourists don’t fare much better.