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Let Me Die in His Footsteps: A Novel

by Lori Roy

Publishers Weekly The scents of Lavender and regret are heavy in this suspenseful coming-of-age novel centering on two generations of rural Kentucky women-and those unlucky enough to become enmeshed in their lives-from Edgar-winner Roy (Bent Road). The devastating tale alternates between chapters set in 1936 narrated by Sarah Crowley and chapters set in 1952 from the third-person perspective of teenage Annie Holleran, whom Sarah has been raising as her daughter. But the key figure, never heard from directly, is Juna, Sarah's younger sister (and Annie's birth mother), a seductive, sinister force responsible for sending one man to the gallows and a boy to his death. Gifted (or cursed) with Juna's startling black eyes and a sixth sense country folk call "the know-how," the spirited Annie has been making nearly everyone uneasy for as long as she can remember. Annie's discovery of a dead body on a neighboring farm leads to the unearthing of long-buried, still-dangerous secrets. This powerful story inspired by the last legal public hanging in the U.S. should transfix readers right up to its stunning final twist. Agent: Jenny Bent, Bent Agency. (June) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal The last lawful public hanging in the United States, held in Owensboro, KY, in 1936, provides the inspiration for this atmospheric suspense novel. The story opens with Annie Holleran sneaking away to her neighbor's well in the dead of night. Local folklore holds that if you look into a well at midnight, you will see the reflection of your future husband. But for Annie, the events of that evening have far-reaching consequences. There's a rift between Annie's family and the Baines family next door-a gulf that dates back to when Annie's Aunt Juna, a dark-eyed beauty, cast a spell over the Baines boys. Roy's tale moves back and forth in time between Annie's experiences in 1952 and those of her mother, Sarah, and Juna in 1936 when one of the Baines sons was accused of a terrible crime. VERDICT In her third novel (after the Edgar Award-winning Bent Road and the Edgar-nominated Until She Comes Home) Roy describes life on a lavender farm in rural Kentucky in vivid detail, and the mystery of what happened years ago will keep readers engaged until the end. Her engaging story of young love, Southern folklore, family feuds, and crimes of passion is bound to satisfy readers who enjoy Southern fiction and coming-of-age tales. [See Prepub Alert, 12/8/14; Dutton is pushing to breakout Roy with extensive marketing.-Ed.]-Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Someone will return, and someone will die; that's foretold when the rocking chair on Annie Holleran's porch rocks by itself. It's Annie's ascension (her 15-and-a-half-years birthday), and she has gone next door to peer down the Baines' well to see the image of her true love. Hollerans and Baines aren't meant to mix since Annie's Aunt Juna's accusations made Joseph Carl Baines the county's last official hanged man. But using the Baines' well, as tradition dictates, is Annie's only hope of secretly glimpsing her future husband. Instead of a future lover, Annie finds Cora Baines' body and knows the prickling sensation she has been feeling wasn't excitement about her ascension; it's a warning from her know-how (a sort of spirit connection) that something is coming. Is it her birth mother, Aunt Juna, returning to rain down more evil? Or is it one of the Baines brothers returning for revenge? Annie's know-how warns that the past is rising up, and she sets to sorting out the time-muddled truth in hopes of warding off tragedy. Roy easily reaches back in time to conjure small-town Kentucky of 1936 and 1952, as Annie and her adoptive mother reveal the aftermath of a young boy's mysterious death. Edgar winner Roy's third novel (following Until She Comes Home, 2013) is an atmospheric, vividly drawn tale that twists her trademark theme of family secrets with the crackling spark of the know-how for a suspenseful, ghost-story feel.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.