VANISHED, Mary McGarry Morris
I don't know if anyone saw this book as crime fiction 25 years ago. It's certainly noir and straight out of the Woodrell/Jim Thompson universe. It was nominated for the National Book Award.
A laborer is lured into helping an attractive woman he sees on the road. He deserts his family and embarks on an odyssey with Dotty, who is a femme fatale of the highest order. She has kidnapped a baby and the three cobble out a life on the road over the course of the next five years.
Their fate is further complicated when they run into an
ex-con and his family, who come up with the idea of demanding ransom.
This is one dark, often heart-breaking tale, and amazingly Morris' first
novel. Highly recommended. Her other novels aren't bad either