"Hughes is a very good writer, if 'good writing' has to do with precision, eloquence, beauty, and passionately held belief."-Times Literary Supplement Welcome to Crooked River, population 2,851 and falling. Eli has lived in Crooked River his whole life, ever since he was born in the dead of winter with the cord wrapped around his neck nearly thirty years ago, and he knows better than anyone about that shrinking number. His father, uncle, and grandmother have all died, he didn't know his mother, and his grandfather, Clarence, founder of the town and eccentric builder of hotels and a now-underwater castle, walked to the river one day and never returned. Eli's childhood best friend, George, went missing, too, when they were kids, around the time his dad started going a little bonkers, and George was never seen again. Eli's always been obsessed with Clarence and George's disappearances. Now, while the town half-heartedly celebrates its centennial and the river, long ago diverted to make way for a mine, reclaims its original path, Eye Lake is vanishing day by day. As new tensions in town rise and the lake's water level drops, Clarence's castle-and his many secrets-begin to surface. But when another young boy goes missing, Eli's past and present collide. Tristan Hughes is the author of three previous books: The Tower, Send My Cold Bones Home, and Revenant. He was the winner of the 2002 Rhys Davies Short Story Award. He lives in Wales.