BookPage Fiction Top Pick, March 2016
On a bleak, harsh winter afternoon in Chosen, a small town in upstate New York, local art history professor George Clare comes home to find his 3-year-old daughter, Franny, hiding in fear and his wife, Catherine, murdered. George becomes the chief suspect, and the investigation turns up details about his personal life—secret relationships, temper issues, a disintegrating marriage—that cast his innocence in doubt for everyone but his closest family. Still, the police investigating remain unable to pin his wife’s murder on George, and the crime goes unsolved for decades.
Death seems to hang over Chosen; the town is rural, close-knit and poor, with a dark history—the Clares’ own house was the site of a suicide not long before the family moved in. The community struggles not only to understand who killed Catherine, but also how and why. Years will pass—and Franny Clare will have to return to her childhood home, now long abandoned—before any justice is found.
In her third novel, Elizabeth Brundage, who has an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, combines a classic murder mystery with a gripping psychological thriller, exploring the complexities of grief, relationships—romantic, familial and friendly—and small-town life. All Things Cease to Appear is a smart, original take on the mystery genre, with nuanced depictions of rural New York, the people who inhabit it and the secrets they keep.