As identical twins Annie and Bailey Crow celebrate their fourteenth birthday, their father Harry is involved in a fiery three-car crash that leaves all occupants dead.
Four years after the accident, Annie suddenly vanishes, and her boyfriend is found murdered. Getting little assistance from the police, Annie’s mother seeks the help of William Snow, a local man with a reputation for finding missing children.
Snow begins an investigation and soon uncovers an inexplicable link between Annie’s disappearance and her father’s deadly accident. As Snow digs further into this bizarre connection, more people start to disappear. The case eventually leads him to an uninhabited island, a madman known as The Driver, and the twisted truth behind the death of Harry Crow.
William Snow is a man obsessed. When he was a child, despite having been forewarned to the tragedy, he was unable to prevent the abduction and murder of his six-year-old sister, Sabrina. Today, under the most unlikely of circumstances, Snow meets Amber-Lee Alvarado, a six-year-old who bears an uncanny resemblance to Sabrina. When Snow discovers that Amber-Lee’s stepfather is not only a drug dealer but a pedophile, and that two hitmen have been contracted to kill the entire Alvarado family, he realizes he’s been given something he’s been seeking his whole life—the chance to prevent the murder of an innocent child, the chance to achieve redemption.
When the Alvarados suddenly disappear, Snow engages in a desperate life-or-death race against time as he tries to locate the missing family before the hitmen find them. Feeling as helpless as he did the day his sister’s body was found, William Snow realizes that if he fails again, not only will he have failed Amber-Lee, he’ll have lost any hope of saving himself.
Due to his uncanny ability to locate missing children, William Snow is rightfully called “The Finding Man”.
Suffering from PTSD after his involvement in a particularly disturbing case, Snow and his girlfriend Paula are looking forward to a peaceful, healing vacation in remote Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia. The couple rent the old McKenzie place, a farmhouse that sits on a cliff overlooking the sea. After checking in to the “unoccupied” house, Snow has an unsettling vision of Billy, a six-year-old boy who lived in the house thirty years before. Snow soon learns that Billy survived the slaughter of his entire family, only to be buried alive in the back yard by the killer.
The vacation turns out to be anything but healing as Snow feels compelled to research not only the decades-old McKenzie murders, but the truth behind the burying of Billy McKenzie by the killer locals call “The Man on the Moon”. As he uncovers new facts about the murders and the town’s bloody history, Snow is threatened by a family of ruthless men who rule over the town with intimidation and cruelty.
William Snow quickly learns that even in places of natural beauty, evil can flourish beneath the idyllic promise of paradise.
An Artificial Life is the heartfelt account of a boy’s struggle to become a man. It begins in post-war, small town America—a near perfect place to grow up—and quickly spirals into drug abuse, violence, and a fight for physical, emotional, and spiritual survival.
This is more than a grinding tale of addiction, this is a story about mustering the courage to drop the armor of denial and expose the throat. It shows that love is not just a feeling that can be extinguished, it is a countermeasure that, when nurtured and cultivated through patience and forgiveness, emerges as the only viable cure for self-hatred. Ultimately transcending its own drama, An Artificial Life is about the evolution of love.
An Artificial Life, Kirkus Reviews writes:
In novelist MacArthur’s first-person chronicle of drug dependence, he calls his addiction “Creep” and describes it as a “loping simian” that “lives in a cave at the back of my skull”. MacArthur’s narrative tone is earnest and urgent, rushing past years and events at a steady clip, encompassing both joy and grief. The author’s journey, expressed year by year, is long and grim, but it eventually makes room for the possibility of sunnier skies ahead. Despite its frenetic, unorthodox format, MacArthur’s memoir will appeal, especially to readers who’ve fought addiction themselves. The author’s dialogues with Creep are chilling.