In a dusty trailer park on the far edge of the California dream, Michelina Bellsong contemplates the choices she has made. At twenty-eight, she wants to change the direction of her troubled life but can't find her way - until a new family settles into the rental trailer next door and she meets the young girl who will lead her on a remarkable quest.
Despite the brace she must wear on her deformed left leg, and her withered left hand, nine-year-old Leilani Klonk radiates a buoyant and indomitable spirit that inspires Micky. Beneath Leilani's effervescence, however, Micky comes to sense a quiet desperation that the girl dares not express. Leilani's mother is lost in drugs. The girl's stepfather, Preston Maddoc, is educated but threatening. He has moved the family from place to place as he fanatically investigates UFO sightings, striving to make contact, claiming to have had a vision that by Leilani's tenth birthday aliens will either heal her or take her away to a better life on their world. Slowly, ever more troubling details emerge in Leilani's conversations with Micky. Most chilling is Micky's discovery the Leilani had an older brother, also disabled, who vanished after Maddoc took him into the woods one night and is now "gone to the stars."
Leilani's tenth birthday is approaching. Micky is convinced the girl will be dead by that day. While the child-protection bureaucracy gives Micky the runaround, the Maddoc family slips away into the night. Micky sets out across America to track and find them, alone and afraid but for the first time living for something bigger than herself. She finds herself pitted against an adversary, Preston Maddoc, as fearsome as he is cunning. Yet Micky pursues her quest, and her passion, her courage, draw a burned-out detective to her side. Hundreds of miles away, a motherless boy and a homeless dog begin an even more astonishing journey. Ahead for them all lie incredible peril, startling discoveries, and paths that will draw them through terrible darkness to unexpected light.
Original title: One Door Away from Heaven
Genre: Fiction→ Crime and Mystery→ Suspense
Fiction→ Science Fiction→ Alien Beings→ Interspecies Relations