Michelle and Cliff Stage bought their isolated vacation cabin in the mountains of North Carolina with hopes of repairing their eighteen-year marriage. But when Cliff disappears one night searching for the source of a mysterious light in the woods, Michelle’s life will change in unimaginable ways. After the sheriff’s department fails to find him, Michelle scrambles down the same dark mountainside alone, the strange, beckoning light her only guide.
What she discovers is a cabin, identical to theirs, housing a life she barely recognizes—and a husband she hardly knows. Cliff is a changed man. Now caring and considerate, no longer a manipulative womanizer, he is also missing a finger. He claims that Cassie, their teenage daughter, is dead, killed in a car accident over a year ago. Michelle knows that’s not possible—Cassie had phoned her from Atlanta only hours before. Even when shown Cassie’s grave, Michelle refuses to accept she’s gone.
Michelle wants her daughter and her life back, and the only clue to what has happened is a man named Pink. A real estate agent and the man who years earlier built Michelle and Cliff’s cabin, Pink was rumored to have killed his wife and buried her on the property, then vanished, never to be seen again. But in Michelle’s new reality, Pink and his wife still reside in town and Pink’s smile-splashed billboards are everywhere. To get back to the world where her daughter exists, Michelle must unravel the mystery of Pink while questioning her very reality—and her sanity. Haunting, atmospheric, and deeply thought-provoking, The Cabin on Souder Hill questions the very nature of our existence and the choices we make to form it.
“A wild ride of suspense and mystique that is thought-provoking and compelling.” —Lisa Renee Jones, New York Times bestselling author of The Poet
“Busch keeps the mysterious atmosphere thick enough to cut with a knife.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Part mystery, part marriage story, and full-on thriller, Lonnie Busch’s novel, The Cabin on Souder Hill, follows Michelle Stage on a riveting adventure to solve a seeming schism between two realities based around the cabin she and her husband bought in the western North Carolina mountains to escape the city, a tragic death, and their failing marriage. A conflicting memory between Michelle and her husband begins her search for her truth. Busch weaves his tale with indelible characters, well-wrought prose, both durable and lyrical at turns, and brings the eye of a literary writer to provide a multilayered and exhilarating read. Besides creating a highly engaging narrative, Busch captures the details and inner workings of his southern setting perfectly. The Cabin on Souder Hill is a remarkable debut novel the reader will not forget, relishing in its story as well as its telling by a true wordsmith.” —Jubal Tiner, author of The Waterhouse
“Award-winning author Lonnie Busch has honed his craft over the years, creating memorable characters in unpredictable circumstances. Now he’s at the top of his game with The Cabin on Souder Hill, a skillfully plotted thriller with more twists and turns than a mountain road with perilous switchbacks. A haunting story I couldn’t put down.” —Susan Snowden, author of Southern Fried Lies and A Closet Full of Masks
“Michelle’s journey through a landscape of fading memories and false realities is made all the more arduous by the eerie and atmospheric world that surrounds her. It all seems correct—but how can it be? Busch’s characters are layered and complex, veering from tragic to comic and back again. Absorbing and compulsively readable, The Cabin on Souder Hill illustrates the power of the mind to overcome the dichotomy of what is rational and what is true.” —William Kowalski, author of Eddie’s Bastard and The Best Polish Restaurant in Buffalo
Lonnie Busch is an award-winning author whose work has also appeared in Southwest Review, the Minnesota Review, the Baltimore Review, and others. His awards include the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize, finalist for the Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction, and the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Award. He is also a painter, illustrator, and animator who has created artwork for many companies, including the “Greetings from America” stamps and “Wonders of America” for the USPS.
Sarah Mollo-Christensen is a voice talent and an audiobook narrator. A stage and voice actor, she received her BA from Dartmouth College and graduated from the Atlantic Theater Company’s Acting Conservatory in New York City. As an actress, she has appeared on prestigious regional stages, including the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC.