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The Cold Vanish

The Cold Vanish

Seeking the Missing in North America's Wildlands

For readers of Jon Krakauer and Douglas Preston, the critically acclaimed author and journalist Jon Billman’s fascinating, in-depth look at people who vanish in the wilderness without a trace and those eccentric, determined characters who try to find them.

These are the stories that defy conventional logic. The proverbial vanished without a trace incidences, which happen a lot more (and a lot closer to your backyard) than almost anyone thinks. These are the missing whose situations are the hardest on loved ones left behind. The cases that are an embarrassment for park superintendents, rangers and law enforcement charged with Search & Rescue. The ones that baffle the volunteers who comb the mountains, woods and badlands. The stories that should give you pause every time you venture outdoors.

Through Jacob Gray’s disappearance in Olympic National Park, and his father Randy Gray who left his life to search for him, we will learn about what happens when someone goes missing. Braided around the core will be the stories of the characters who fill the vacuum created by a vanished human being. We’ll meet eccentric bloodhound-handler Duff and R.C., his flagship purebred, who began trailing with the family dog after his brother vanished in the San Gabriel Mountains. And there’s Michael Neiger North America’s foremost backcountry Search & Rescue expert and self-described “bushman” obsessed with missing persons. And top researcher of persons missing on public wildlands Ex-San Jose, California detective David Paulides who is also one of the world’s foremost Bigfoot researchers.

It’s a tricky thing to write about missing persons because the story is the absence of someone. A void. The person at the heart of the story is thinner than a smoke ring, invisible as someone else’s memory. The bones you dig up are most often metaphorical. While much of the book will embrace memory and faulty memory–history–The Cold Vanish is at its core a story of now and tomorrow. Someone will vanish in the wild tomorrow. These are the people who will go looking.
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On Sale: July 7th 2020

Price: $14.99 / $11.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 368

ISBN-13: 9781538747568

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"Required reading for anyone concerned about the missing, Billman's authentic and encyclopedic book leads us across the landscapes of the vanished with a journalist's acumen and a searcher's sympathy. It's both true and useful, a storytelling textbook I wish I'd read before my own son went missing."—Roman Dial, author of The Adventurer's Son
"Most of us prefer to measure and celebrate natured in terms of its tendency to delight, to inspire, to instill awe. But there is another metric by which the power of wilderness can be calibrated, which lies in its capacity to take us between its teeth, tear us asunder, and swallow up whatever is left with such ruthless efficiency that no trace remains. Thanks to Jon Billman's talent for wielding words with the chilling precision of a scalpel, Cold Vanishing lays open nature's capacity to evoke terror in a way that will give you pause the next time you think about venturing into the backcountry. Haunting, spooky, and propulsive."

Kevin Fedarko, The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon.
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