This Fall 2022, what was lost is Found: Ten years after the drowning death of her daughter in the Colorado, Eleanor Clay subsists finding corpses for Bristlecone Springs PD, until the day she finds three-year-old Lizzie, living but left-for-dead in a culvert under the railroad tracks.
This crime unspools to a series of brutal kidnappings implicating a local megachurch, craft beer company, and cannabis consortium. With the help of Althea Giordano, effervescent forensic botanist for CorpsPursuit—a volunteer organization that recovers cold-case bodies—and Elan DePeña, bike cop for BSPD, Eleanor must climb out of the dark hell of her grief to end the violence before it hits too close to home.
There is plot, and then there is story. In Found by Irene Cooper, the parameters of the crime novel provide a map through which characters encroach upon one another’s territories and disturb the ground. Plot pushes Eleanor out of her dark apartment and compels her to face the violence others read about, and sometimes, even unwittingly, perpetrate. Like Eleanor, we look for a villain, quietly suspecting trouble is closer than imagined—maybe, if we admit it, within ourselves.
“Eleanor found the first child, small and precious and missed, months after Freya drowned.” Freya, her Freya, lost to the waters of a river—and so Eleanor, the protagonist, comes to sense the break in the landscape when a child has gone missing. She understands both the sorrow of the parents and the unbearable hope until the body is found. And then she begins to find them before they die. This is one subject matter I have always avoided: the suspense of children in danger. It cuts too close. And yet I love this novel. It is a thriller. Children are in danger. But in Irene Cooper’s Found, the compression of language is what compels my reading and the compassion among the characters, their relationships, their empathy for one another, their insights into what it means to lose a child. The suspense may take me on a ride, but it’s the other passengers that keep me in the car.” ~ Beth Alvarado, Jillian in the Borderlands