The Distant Dead

The Distant Dead

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 forgiveness, and the debts we owe our dead, both recent and distant.

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. By day’s end, when the body is identified as local math teacher Adam Merkel, a 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 quiet, seemingly unremarkable man, he connected with just one of his students: Sal Prentiss, a lonely sixth grader who lives with his uncles on a desolate ranch in the hills. The two outcasts developed a tender, trusting friendship that brought each of them hope in the wake of tragedy. But it is Sal who finds Adam’s body, charred almost beyond recognition, half a mile from his uncles’ compound.

Nora Wheaton, the middle school’s social studies teacher, dreamed of a life far from Lovelock only to be dragged back on the eve of her college graduation to care for her disabled father, a 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 death, she 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 fear, and Nora suspects he knows more than he’s telling about how his favorite teacher died. As she tries to earn the wary boy’s trust, she finds he holds not only the key to Adam’s murder, but an unexpected chance at the life she thought she’d lost.

Weaving together the last months of Adam’s life, Nora’s search for answers, and a young boy’s anguished moral reckoning, this unforgettable thriller brings a small American town to vivid life, filled with complex, flawed characters wrestling with the weight of the past, the promise of the future, and the bitter freedom that forgiveness can bring.

Title:The Distant Dead
ISBN:9780062690814
Format Type:

    The Distant Dead Reviews

  • Diane S ?

    In a desert town outside of Reno, Nevada and a young boy, Saul finds a burnt body. The body is that if a fairly new math teacher, and except for Saul and Nora, another teacher, he has made few friends...

  • Denise

    I had no idea what to expect when I started this book, and wow! Was I ever pleasantly surprised. This book is the best of the best when it comes to a slow-burn, whodunnit thriller. The book opens with...

  • Rene Denfeld

    Bright, flawless writing, wonderful characters and a sense of pacing that draws time out like a long knife. What more could you want from a thriller? I loved this book. ...

  • Heather Young

    I wrote it, so I like it just fine :)...

  • Dennis

    A dark, coming of age story focuses on a small town's mysterious death of a local math teacher, Mr Merkel. The body was found by a student, Sal, who becomes one of the main protagonists of this story....

  • Janis Williams

    The book to read. The NYT reviewed it recently and inaccurately as a mystery or thriller. There is a mystery in the plot, but this book transcends genre. Graceful writing, a compelling story, characte...

  • Nat

    This is a slow-burn mystery with cast of mostly introverts that do not mindlessly babble sarcastic quips. Not a book with a gotcha twist....

  • Joy E Perry

    Review to come......

  • Onceinabluemoon

    This pulled me in slowly, although very depressing, the ah ha moment was crushing and played out even worse than I could imagine. The setting is very familiar to me, perfect backdrop for this hard scr...

  • Jensen Smith

    I received a copy from of The Distant Dead from Harper Collins goodreads giveaway! Thanks so much. I think this has been my favorite giveaway I’ve received. It was fast-paced, interesting, and kept ...