The Distant Dead by Heather Young, 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.
The Distant Dead by Heather Young, 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.
The Distant Dead by Heather Young, 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 favorite 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.
A slow burning story that will keep you haunted for days!
This is not an easy story to read, all the characters have a difficult baggage and secrets hidden from the rest of the world; drugs, abuse, family problems… But even if it’s hard, the story is full of layers of reality, none of the characters had an easy life, even Sal who is just a kid. As you start reading their stories you’ll be unable to stop thinking about them and how wrong is the society we live.
This is a psychological thriller, Adam Merkel’s body, the teacher, has appeared burned, and young boy Sal Prentiss is the one who found the cadaver. What really happened to Adam? And what part took Sal in his death? It will be Nora Wheaton, a friend, that will be the one to start investigating the case, she only wants answers, to know the truth.
The story is told between the different characters; mixing from memories from the characters and the present. This made it sometimes a little difficult to follow the story completely, but without their stories the book would not have been complete.
I really don’t know how to explain how I felt at the end of the story, it’s not a happy book but the ending felt real and in a way, deserved. Unexpected but a way to make things right for everyone. I think this is a book that will make you think and value what you’ve achieved but never forget that you can lose everything with just a bad decision.
Are you ready for “The Distant Dead”?
About The Author
Heather Young is the author of two novels. Her debut, The Lost Girls, won the Strand Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for an Edgar Award. The Distant Dead was named one of the Best Books of Summer 2020 by People Magazine, Parade, and Crime Reads.
A former antitrust and intellectual property litigator, she traded the legal world for the literary one and earned her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars in 2011. She lives in Mill Valley, California, where she writes, bikes, hikes, and reads books by other people that she wishes she’d written.