Best known for his acclaimed mystery fiction set in ancient Rome, Steven Saylor delivers a striking departure with HAVE YOU SEEN DAWN?, a contemporary novel of suspense set in a small Texas town. The result is "rocket of a read."*
When young Rue Dunwitty travels from San Francisco back to Texas to visit her wheelchair-bound grandmother, she quickly discovers that something is terribly wrong in the little town of Amethyst. Her unease begins when she see signs posted all over town with a photo of a missing high school student and the haunting question, “Have You Seen Dawn?” Then, in the middle of the night, from the window of the bedroom where she grew up, Rue see what appears to be a moving flashlight in the fields surrounding an abandoned house on the outskirts of town.
A series of seemingly small discoveries gradually turn Rue’s unease into dread. Someone in Amethyst is hiding a ghastly secret—and it seems that Rue is the person destined to uncover the awful truth. A web of white lies and unexplained movements make her suspicious of almost every man around her. Which of them was behind the disappearance of Dawn, and what happened to the pretty young teenager? Unless she can discover the truth in time, it looks like Rue will face the same harrowing fate…
“This is my most autobiographical work,” says Steven Saylor, “because it draws deeply on memories of people and places in the small town in Texas where I grew up. But the plot is pure contemporary suspense—a definite change of pace for me. As Gore Vidal said of one of his novels, this is ‘autobiography done with mirrors.’”
At once a literary novel, a murder mystery, and a story of romantic suspense, HAVE YOU SEEN DAWN? celebrates the genres to which it pays homage, even as it quietly subverts them.
*A “rocket of a read...with enough red herrings and things that go bump in the night to keep you entertained all the way...Yet the real pleasures of DAWN lie in Saylor’s rendering of small-town Texas. [The fictional town of] Amethyst is the true jewel here.” Austin American-Statesman
“Saylor essays something really different with a small-town Texas Gothic. Having escaped Amethyst to San Francisco, Rue returns to visit her aging grandmother and plunges into the drama of the missing teenager Dawn from the opening page....An interesting, offbeat book, written in a quiet tone despite its sensational subject and its twist in the conventional serial killer psyche.” The Poisoned Pen Booknews
Saylor “sets the hook early and keeps the plot in constant motion with well-drawn characters and a protagonist who doggedly pursues the task that unexpectedly becomes the mission of her visit home: Find Dawn....Enjoy it, with a cup of hot tea, on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” San Antonio Express-News
“Taut narrative, good characters, and a well-drawn setting: an enjoyable and suspenseful read.” Kirkus Reviews
“Saylor takes the pulse of small-town America without missing a beat. For anyone who hails from a small town, the incidents and atmosphere Saylor generates are spot-on; the darkness at night, the uneasy silence, the brittle layers of familiarity and affability that too easily vaporize, are all instantly recognizable. Against this unsettled background, Saylor calmly builds his story, part mystery, part bodice-ripper, and completely nerve-jangling, until you literally want (along with Rue herself) to scream from the tension. This cleverly constructed novel is a good thriller — too good to read late at night — and it keeps the reader guessing right up until the inevitable Texas showdown.” Wigglefish.com
“His gift for evoking a certain time and place is manifest.” Publishers Weekly
“Very atmospheric...the tension slowly but steadily amplifies until the audience is ready to jump out of their skin...a mesmerizing story.” TheBestReviews.com
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