Set on the rocky and at times unforgiving coast of Maine, Stephen Russell Payne's emotionally powerful debut novel, Cliff Walking, shares a poignant tale of loss and love that weaves together the lives of three desperate people who struggle mightily to find a way to save each other. Kate Johnson is a recovering addict from California, married to a cunning, cruel man named Leland Johnson. When she gathers the strength to escape her hellish life, she leaves with her bright, artistic twelve-year-old son, Stringer, crossing Canada as stowaways on a freight train. They eventually find their way to Winter's Cove, a provincial town on the coast of Maine. Francis Monroe is a famous Maine seascape artist whose wife died windsurfing on the bay in front of their bungalow the year before, after losing her battle with breast cancer. Emotionally paralyzed since her death, Francis has been haunted both by her loss and his subsequent inability to paint. When Stringer appears at Francis's bungalow, the meeting triggers events that dramatically alter the course of their lives. Thrust into a life-threatening altercation, Stringer is forced to take action, and ends up facing felony charges. As Stringer and his loved ones do battle with the local sheriff and the politically aspiring state's attorney, the citizens of Winter's Cove have to navigate their own deep-seated prejudices, their beliefs about family and community, and the painful necessity to reexamine justice in their town. An intimate, probing novel that mines the healing power of hope that can grow out of shared desperation, Cliff Walking is a captivating love story that carries readers on an intense, thought-provoking journey. Both fast-paced and complex, this novel is nearly impossible to put down.