The Distant Dead

Heather Young. Morrow, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-269081-4
The discovery of a charred corpse outside Lovelock, Nev., drives this moving psychological thriller from Young (The Lost Girls). Middle school social studies teacher Nora Wheaton has deferred her dream of exploring the world as an anthropologist to care for her father, who’s partially disabled after drunkenly crashing his truck and killing her older brother 13 years earlier. Precocious recently orphaned sixth grader Sal Prentiss, who finds the body, has only a pair of menacing and possibly criminal uncles standing between him and foster care. Flashbacks reveal that the victim, former university professor Adam Merkel, was reduced to teaching math at the middle school—where he befriended fellow outcast Sal—for unknown reasons. Through the course of the murder investigation, in which Nora, Sal’s teacher, assists, Young gradually reveals her characters’ complicated pasts while skillfully building suspense. Never mind a tad too much symmetry in some of the backstories. This emotionally resonant saga, firmly rooted in the high desert hills, will keep readers turning the pages. Agent: Michelle Brower, Aevitas Creative Management. (June)
Reviewed on : 02/26/2020
Release date: 06/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-269083-8
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