If you ever wanted to read about the dark side of human nature, itís right here in the Rockies, in Abandon, Colorado. A group hikes to the remains of a town with a bizarre history: a paranormal psychologist and his photographer wife; history professor Lawrence Foster; Fosterís journalist daughter, Abigail; and two guides.
By the time the party reaches the old gold-mining town, a couple of people are dead and strangers stalk the rest of Fosterís party. What was already a suspicious situation turns deadly, Foster and his daughter scrambling to escape their mysterious pursuers.
Abigail has thought to speak to her estranged father about the long years she and her mother struggled, but as events transpire, father and daughter join together on an increasingly dangerous quest to get out of Abandon alive, its dark secrets left behind with the rotting buildings. But Foster has been keeping secrets from his daughter and making deals. Lawrence has invested years in the pursuit of Abandonís history, refusing to leave without the secret buried in this place.
Then 2009 shifts backwards to Christmas 1893 and a bloody night in a ragged town of desperate people: one hundred twenty-three people, the whole of Abandon, vanish never to be seen again. Here, then is another mystery, this one laced with greed and violence as two forces converge in a deadly confrontation, an empty town the silent witness, random artifacts left to disintegrate in the snow pack and decaying structures.
There is chaos - and murder - in Abandon in 2009 and 1893, the worst of manís nature accelerating the mayhem. Crouch describes cold-hearted men with hardscrabble lives, stone killers and drunken reprobates, a female bartender with a price on her head, a stash of gold bars, and a ruthless band of bloodied warriors.
1893 encroaches on the present, where Abigail is trapped in a nightmare not of her making. The essence of evil hovers over all, a fine mist of greed and malevolence in the thin air. Retribution is called for and Crouch delivers, his eccentric, sometimes awful characters like puppets dancing to the demands of an indifferent fate. Riveting in its depiction of human nature and manís worst intentions, you canít help rooting for a little frontier justice.