Eric Rickstad’s psychological thriller, What Remains of Her, is at once a tense, chilling mystery, as well as a probing look at secrets held for decades.

Jonah Baum is a mild man, a poetry professor with a difficult childhood he’s put behind him. Married to the lovely Rebecca, with a young daughter, Sally, his small Vermont town suits them all.

Sally’s best friend is the Sheriff’s daughter, Lucinda, who had sworn to keep Sally’s secret about what the two girls saw in woods where they shouldn’t have playing.

But does a promise made in friendship hold when that friend and her mother suddenly go missing?

As the search for the missing mother and daughter escalates, lives are torn apart with suspicions, especially Jonah’s.

Forward 25 years to the anniversary of the disappearance, and Jonah has become a hermit, living in seculsion, when a young girl who reminds him eerily of his daughter shows up in his woods.

Is she a real being, or borne out of his desperation and grief?

It will take Lucinda, now the small town’s deputy Sheriff, to figure out exactly what’s been happening, and what really happened all those years ago.

A taut thriller, filled with a creeping sadness, this is throughly unsettling and fantastic when it comes to revealing human nature.

Moving, and very atmospheric in the unsettled landscape, a character in itself, this one riveting read. Highly recommended.