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The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
The Missing is set right after World War I. Sam Simoneaux is from Louisiana and has dodged fate which has claimed other lives. Hoodlums killed the rest of his family when he was a boy. He arrived in France to fight the war just as the armistice was signed. His son was claimed by a fever that spared him. After the war, Sam takes a job as a floorwalker in a New Orleans store. He tries to stop the abduction of a little girl in the store, but is knocked unconscious for his efforts. The girl's parents are riverboat musicians, so Sam, fired from the store, takes a job on the riverboat so that he can hunt the girl's kidnappers. This trip down the Mississippi and into the backwoods of Arkansas also leads to clues about his own family's massacre. Tim Gautreaux's novel has received mostly positive reviews with the Richmond Times-Dispatch saying, "It's how you deal with that tragedy that distinguishes you from others, Simoneaux learns. The Missing has its grim moments, but the suggestions of hope that Gautreaux offers shine brighter because of them."