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.
Carl 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 as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?
Current GoodReads Rating: 3.90 Stars
Paperback, 303 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Seventh Street Books
This book was almost impossible to set down throughout the second half. It continually grew in anticipation and never quite solved itself till the end. I was constantly second guessing my verdict and enjoyed the twists and turns this story held. The only reason it received four instead of five stars in from my perspective was the beginning being such a slow build as Joe and his backstory were introduced and his decision to interview Carl was put into motion. Once you get past how Joe came to interview Carl, the meat of the story begins and the detective in you never stops trying to guess what will happen next.
There were many parts I wanted to reread in the second half as everything was unfolding at once, just to make sure I got all the details. It was definitely a thriller and held strong to the end. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a good mystery. I would warn that there is a flash back to a war rape that almost had me wanting to stop reading the book, but the scene was cut short and not fully delved into so I bared through it. It is a murder mystery revolving around a rape so there are a few mentions to the act to warn the sensitive.