Excerpt

VANISHED IN THE DUNES

1

Posner first sees the woman in profile as she moves past him at the bus stop. There is a flash of pink and white dress, smooth tanned arms, and black hair cut short with a tight curl that kisses her ear. He doesn’t know why he looks up at that moment. Perhaps it is just habit, seeing if the bus has turned the corner, or possibly it’s the flicker of her dress’s pink that seizes the edge of his eye, but as soon as she passes, he returns to his newspaper.

He’s waiting for the Hampton Jitney to take him to Amagansett on the East End of Long Island. But for Amos Posner, the summer season, which officially begins in four weeks with the Memorial Day weekend, brings too many people, too much noise, an excess of money and boasts, all of which he has been trying to avoid for the last two years.

He waits in front of a Victoria’s Secret window on 86th Street. The bus is due at 8:30 a.m., but it is already a few minutes late. He folds The New York Times in half and slides it into the backpack between his legs. A few years ago he carried a wide expandable leather briefcase, but circumstances have drastically changed his life, and he finds the backpack roomier and more convenient. The air is cool and spasms of wind appear and vanish with indecisive regularity. The beach will be much cooler than the city. He knows this from years of irregular residence in Amagansett.

The woman stops a few yards away and again draws the corner of his vision as she looks up at the Jitney sign. She has no suitcase, but carries a large straw bag. She speaks to a man standing nearby, who, pointing to the bus sign, seems to confirm that she is standing in the right place. Posner briefly studies her