A young boy finds himself at the center of a murder mystery in this timely and twisty thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Lost Girls–a compelling and indelible story set in small town America that examines the burden of guilt,the bitter price of forgivenessand the debts we owe our deadboth recent and distant. A body burns in the high desert hills. A boy walks into a fire stationpale with the shock of a grisly discovery. A middle school teacher worries when her colleague is late for work. By day’s endwhen the body is identified as local math teacher Adam Merkela small Nevada town will be rocked to its core by a brutal and calculated murder. Adam Merkel left a university professorship in Reno to teach middle school in Lovelock seven months before he died. A quietseemingly unremarkable manhe connected with just one of his students: Sal Prentissa lonely sixth grader who lives with his uncles on a desolate ranch in the hills. The two outcasts developed a tendertrusting friendship that brought each of them hope in the wake of tragedy. But it is Sal who finds Adam’s bodycharred almost beyond recognitionhalf a mile from his uncles’ compound. Nora Wheatonthe middle school’s social studies teacherdreamed of a life far from Lovelock only to be dragged back on the eve of her college graduation to care for her disabled fathera man she loves but can’t forgive. She sensed in the new math teacher a kindred spirit–another soul bound to Lovelock by guilt and duty. After Adam’s deathshe delves into his past for clues to who killed him and finds a dark history she understands all too well. But the truth about his murder may lie closer to home. For Sal Prentiss’s grief seems heavily shaded with fearand Nora suspects he knows more than he’s telling about how his favorite teacher died. As she tries to earn the wary boy’s trustshe finds he holds not only the key to Adam’s murderbut an unexpected chance at the life she thought she’d lost. Weaving together the last months of Adam’s lifeNora’s search for answersand a young boy’s anguished moral reckoningthis unforgettable thriller brings a small American town to vivid lifefilled with complexflawed characters wrestling with the weight of the pastthe promise of the futureand the bitter freedom that forgiveness can bring.
The Distant Dead
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