The Vigil

Cover for the new Baen edition of The Vigil by Clay Reynolds. Double exposure image shows a worried woman superimposed over a sleep-looking, empty town

Fleeing Atlanta a bad marriage, Imogene McBride heads west with her precocious, beautiful teenage daughter, Cora, when their car breaks down in a tiny North Texas town. While her mother sits out its repair, Cora wanders off to buy ice cream—and disappears without a trace.

So begins Imma’s vigil. As her waiting stretches from days and weeks into years, Imma becomes—as the town eccentric if not madwoman—a pivotal institution. And when the local sheriff works to unravel the mystery of Cora’s disappearance, a bond develops between the aging sheriff and the eccentric woman who brings Ezra both new hope and forces him to confront his own past.

With an all-new introduction to the Baen Ebook Edition.

“[Reynolds] knows how to create and sustain tension without resorting to sensationalism. His book, like its protagonist, has a stubborn integrity that you can’t help admiring. [Imma’s] metamorphosis … is absorbing.”

—New York Times

“Reynolds evokes more in his first 200-page novel than James A. Michener manages in the average two-pounder.”

—Tom McClellan, The Texas Observer

“The small-town ambiance is convincing, and the situation packs a whallop.”

Kirkus Reviews

“The Vigil is an original and must be lauded for its unique style and holding power.”

West Coast Review of Books

“The book is deceptively simple … yet Reynolds has saturated the atmosphere with nuance, with the silky threads of sexuality, with haunting dreams.”

—Doris Ober, The San Francisco Chronicle

“Clay Reynolds’ ability to embroider a simple story makes this a quietly captivating read.”

–Kevin Whitehead, The Baltimore Sun

“The Vigil is a novel that draws a reader to itself. Good novels do that.”

—Ronald Reed, The Dallas Morning News
—Winner of the Oppie Award for Fiction, 1986