A young man finds himself caught in the dark maze of circumstances surrounding a crime that occurred thirty years ago, and must confront several ugly truths and threats to his own life.
College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same. Iverson is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.
As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.
Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But by the time Joe discovers the truth, it is too late to escape the fallout.
2015 EDGAR® AWARD NOMINEE: BEST FIRST NOVEL! MINNESOTA BOOK AWARD FINALIST: BEST GENRE NOVEL OF 2014! WINNER! LEFT COAST CRIME ROSEBUD AWARD: BEST DEBUT MYSTERY! 2015 ITW THRILLER AWARDS FINALIST: BEST FIRST NOVEL SUSPENSE MAGAZINE - BEST BOOKS OF 2014, DEBUT AUTHOR MYSTERYPEOPLE - BEST DEBUT NOVEL 2014 2015 BARRY AWARD FOR BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOMINEE
“A solid and thoughtful tale of a young man used to taking on burdens beyond his years–none more dangerous than championing a bitter old man convicted of a horrific crime.” –KIRKUS REVIEWS
“An intelligent and compelling story with characters that will capture you from the start…. This debut novel never lets the reader off the edge of the seat–the mark of a great story.” –THE BIG THRILL
Allen Esken’s crime series chronicles the residents of a Minnesota town.
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