#TheDistantDead by @HYoungwriter

A body burns in the high desert hills. A boy walks into a fire station, pale with the shock of a grisly discovery. A middle school teacher worries when her colleague is late for work. When the body is identified as local math teacher Adam Merkel, a small Nevada town is rocked to its core by a brutal and calculated murder.

In the seven months he worked at Lovelock’s middle school, the quiet and seemingly unremarkable Adam Merkel had formed a bond with just one of his students: Sal Prentiss, a lonely sixth grader who lives with his uncles on a desolate ranch in the hills. It is Sal who finds Adam’s body, charred almost beyond recognition, half a mile from his uncles’ compound.

Nora Wheaton, the school’s social studies teacher, sensed a kindred spirit in Adam – another soul bound to Lovelock by guilt and duty. After his death, she delves into his past for clues to who killed him. Yet, the truth about Adam’s murder may lie closer to home. For Sal’s grief seems shaded with fear, and Nora suspects he knows more than he’s telling about his favourite teacher’s death.

This unforgettable thriller brings a small American town to vivid life, filled with complex, troubled characters wrestling with the weight of the past, the promise of the future and the bitter freedom that forgiveness can bring.

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The boy shouldn’t have been in the cave.

LONG AGO

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(@Verve_Books, 18 March 2021, 264 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 6 April via @RandomTTours)

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This is a new author for me. The Distant Dead is a terrific read, my kind of thriller. I’d highly recommend it. I was yanked into the story from the first page and could barely tear my eyes away. I loved the fact the book uses multiple narrators. This structure doesn’t always work but it’s the perfect set-up for this book as so much is going on. I loved the way the author sets up the town the book is set in, a dying desert town where drugs are common, and everyone is struggling just to make through the next hour. This is somehow the perfect location for a strange murder and a strange investigation. The book is quite slow paced despite the events depicted and I got swept up in it all. This is a great book.

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