Ash Falls by Warren Read
Book Review: 4 out of 5 star rating
Ernie Luntz is a convicted murderer and now he’s on the loose and is being hunted by the police. Back at home at Ash Falls, his family and all of the residents wonder if he’ll return there. That’s where the murder happened and Ernie would be a fool to set foot in that town again. But his ex-wife Bobbie and his son Patrick still live there and that may be enticement enough for Ernie to return.
I became completely immersed in this compelling tale. Not only is there the suspense of “will Ernie return and what will happen if he does” but there’s also the interconnecting stories of others living in Ash Falls. This is a quiet book that slowly pulls you in. The author masterfully tells the story of each of these people who have been touched by the same horrendous event in the past and presents their stories through their everyday lives. These characters are real – Marcelle, the too-young-to-be-married wife of Eugene, Hank, the pot dealer, Patrick, the gay teenager who is struggling to deal with his father’s crime, and Bobbie, the single mom who feels to blame. I grew to know and care for these people. The ending brought me to tears.
For those animal lovers out there, there is quite a bit about mink farming though I felt the author was not a fan of it, which made it easier to read. Though personally I had to skip the part about the day the minks’ skins are harvested.
There were sections throughout this book that I had to stop and read again. This quote may not appear in the final edition but I’d like to share it so you can see this writer’s potential. “The vista shifted quickly from wheat fields to a wide spread of stunted trees, perfect geometrical grids of them that stretched on forever, naked branches reaching up, shocked, as if crying out to be released from the roots that anchored them into the cold earth.” This is the author’s first novel, though he did write a memoir, “The Lyncher in Me: A Search for Redemption in the Face of History” about his discovery that his great-grandfather had incited the lynching of three black circus workers. I’m looking forward to what he’ll come up with next.
This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.