Publisher: Random House, Ballantine Books (2012)
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What if your life was all about the quest for adventure and danger in climbing the highest mountains, and then your passion killed you? That’s the question faced by Aidan James, who dies in an avalanche on Mount McKinley after promising his family he would come back from Alaska.

What if the love of your life was a thrill seeker, and you begged him not to go this time because of a sense of foreboding, and he went anyway? And then was lost forever under tons of ice and snow. Maddie, Aidan’s wife, faces conflicting feelings of anger and grief and loss.

In this eloquent first novel, each character has a personal avalanche of emotions to cope with. J.C., Aidan’s best friend and fellow climber, is racked by grief and survivor’s guilt, but as he strives to comfort Maddie, he also struggles with the secret that he has always loved and wanted her for his own.

Even four-year-old Gabriel James has secrets he doesn’t know how to handle. His daddy visits him at night but says he cannot stay. He leaves behind a puddle of icy water that Gabe cannot explain to his mother.

The fatal accident on the mountain even affects Nicholas Sullivan, a stranger who lives on the other side of the country. After a motorcycle accident, Nicholas awakes with no memories of his own life. Instead, his injured brain is filled with visions of fresh snow blowing down his neck, cold fingers wrapped around an ice axe, and a nearly unbearable longing for a mysterious woman and a tiny boy Nicholas has never met.

Aidan James kept his promise to come back. He just didn’t expect to do it like this. And now everyone, including himself, must find a way to deal with his death, and find a way to move on with their lives. The Memory Thief is a beautifully written story, with evocative descriptions of a love for nature and adventure, a deep appreciation of friends and family, and heart-breaking expressions of regret and grief and lust and joy. This book is a haunting ghost story, but above all, it’s a memorable tale of how, even after a terrible tragedy, love lives on.