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The Distant Dead

(2020)
A novel by

 
 
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 young 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 new math teacher Adam Merkel, a small Nevada town will begin its reckoning with a brutal and calculated murder.   
Adam Merkel left a university professorship to teach middle school math in Lovelock seven months before he died. A quiet, seemingly unremarkable man, he spoke little about his past and connected with only one of his students: Sal Prentiss, an orphaned sixth grader who lives on a remote ranch in the hills with his uncles. 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, and Sal who must carry his darkest secret.
Nora Wheaton is the middle school's social studies teacher. Twelve years ago she abandoned her dream of being an archaeologist to care for her disabled father, a man she loves but can't forgive for her brother's death. As she delves into Adam's past for clues to who killed him she draws closer to Sal, unearths difficult truths about her relationship with her father, and finds an unexpected chance to -- perhaps -- live the life she thought she'd lost.
Over the course of one fateful school year, all three of these kindred spirits must wrestle with the burden of remorse, the price of forgiveness, and the debts they owe their dead. The very questions, it turns out, that also haunt Adam's killer. 
Weaving together the last months of Adam Merkel's life and Nora's search for answers after his death, this literary thriller crafts a taut web of suspense that builds relentlessly to its shattering, unexpected conclusion.

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"Bright, flawless writing, wonderful characters, and a sense of pacing that ratchets up the tension—what more could you want from a thriller? I loved this book. I bet you will too." - Rene Denfeld

"With her usual blend of inventive storytelling and gorgeous prose, Heather Young delivers big themes and a poignant coming-of-age story in this complex, page-turning mystery/thriller. Resonant and relevant, The Distant Dead kept me reading late at night, and the characters followed me around during the day, especially a precocious and unusual sixth-grade boy named Absalom who is hard to forget. As a fan of Young’s debut, The Lost Girls, I found myself swept into another beautifully-crafted story that’s even more suspenseful, at times more terrifying, and ultimately just as surprising. The Distant Dead is not to be missed." - James A McLaughlin


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Used availability for Heather Young's The Distant Dead

Hardback Editions

June 2020 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Distant Dead: A Novel
Author(s): Heather Young
ISBN: 0-06-269081-7 / 978-0-06-269081-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: William Morrow
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

June 2021 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Distant Dead: A Novel
Author(s): Heather Young
ISBN: 0-06-269082-5 / 978-0-06-269082-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Custom House
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

June 2020 : Audio CD
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Title: The Distant Dead
Author(s):
ISBN: 1-09-416019-9 / 978-1-09-416019-1
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 2020 : Audio CD
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Title: The Distant Dead: Library Edition
Author(s):
ISBN: 1-09-416018-0 / 978-1-09-416018-4
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 2020 : Audio CD
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Title: The Distant Dead: A Novel
Author(s): Heather Young
ISBN: 1-09-416020-2 / 978-1-09-416020-7
Publisher: HarperCollins B and Blackstone Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


June 2020 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The Distant Dead: A Novel
Author(s): Heather Young
Publisher: HarperAudio
Availability: Amazon   


June 2020 : Australia Audio edition
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Title: The Distant Dead: A Novel
Author(s): Heather Young
Publisher: HarperAudio
Availability: Amazon AU   


June 2020 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: The Distant Dead: A Novel
Author(s): Heather Young
Publisher: HarperAudio
Availability: Amazon CA   


June 2020 : UK Audio edition
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Title: The Distant Dead: A Novel
Author(s): Heather Young
Publisher: HarperAudio
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

June 2020 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Distant Dead: A Novel
Author(s): Heather Young
Publisher: William Morrow
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU