Saturday 3 April 2021

#BlogTour The Distant Dead by Heather Young

 It's my turn on the BlogTour The Distant Dead by Heather Young.

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 CrimeReads.

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.

Follow @HYoungwriter on Twitter, Visit

About the book

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.


It begins with sadness defined as a great act of the gods and ends with the acceptance of the fact humanity is full of imperfections and there is no clear line between right or wrong. Sometimes the noblest of gestures can be the selfish of acts. The dead have no thought for the living.

The story works in circles around the untimely tragic death of a local maths teacher. His death becomes a staunch memory in the maelstrom of modern desperation and vulnerability that destroys populations quietly bit by bit.

In the last few chapters Nora alludes to the aspect of selfishness in regards to Adam and his actions, but perhaps more so because his needs or desperation supersede the wellbeing of a young man. No thought to how his actions will reverberate and cause damage after the fact.

The story is an exploration of death in a certain type of environment - the rural small town community with all its idiosyncrasies both of the surroundings and the mindset of those who live there.

I really enjoyed the way the author managed to bring the story full circle and end the book as it began with a tragedy and mystery - in a cave. It gives everything a sense of connection. It shows us our differences and similarities. It's a mystery, a domestic thriller of sorts, but it really draws on other genres and in doing so Young creates this nostalgic mysterious rift of moving sand and time. It's a slow burner, an atmospheric dark read.

Buy The Distant Dead at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Verve Books pub date March 18, 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

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