Publication date: June 2, 2015 by Dutton
Genre: Mystery; Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher/NetGalley via TLC Book Tours for an honest review
In the spellbinding and suspenseful Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Edgar Award–winner Lori Roy wrests from a Southern town the secrets of two families touched by an evil that has passed between generations.
On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.
It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served—or did she?
As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago.
Let Me Die in His Footsteps has such an interesting premise, that I was happy to participate in the book tour. While I am still unclear on how the title relates to the story itself, the premise most definitely delivered an enjoyable reading experience.
There are so many family secrets and possible plot spoilers, that I don't want to give too many details away. But the novel is so well written that I was instantly caught up in both of the story timelines. I thought that the two timelines worked really well in this novel and the author does a good job of teasing the details and secrets out over the length of the novel. There were more than a few places where I was taken by surprise by the direction the novel went and by the actions of certain characters.
I liked how the author used the idea of feuding families and plays with it a bit. There are all the expected cliches and then she takes is in a different direction. Like so many things in the book, nothing is quite what it seems and all the themes and tropes we are familiar with are used but then shifted just a bit so that everything seems fresh and intriguing.
I found myself unable and definitely unwilling to put this book down until I had finished reading the last page. I loved the Southern gothic-y atmosphere and the beautiful descriptions of the lavender fields and small town life. As with many small towns, there is an ample dose of scandal and most of the rumors are wrong and the truth is usually something else entirely - but equally or even more compelling than the rumors. This is definitely one of those books that needs to be approached without any preconceived ideas of what is ahead.
I enjoyed reading Let Me Die in His Footsteps immensely and can quite heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, Southern fiction, mystery, scandalous small town tales and fiction in general. This was one of those books that made me sad to finish reading. I will be looking for Lori Roy's other books to read in the near future.
About the author
Lori Roy was born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas where she graduated from Kansas State University. Her debut novel, BENT ROAD, published in 2011, was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author, named a 2011 New York Times Notable Crime Book and named a 2012 notable book by the state of Kansas. BENT ROAD has been optioned for film. Her second novel, UNTIL SHE COMES HOME, was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and was nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Novel. Her upcoming novel, LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS, will be published June 2nd. Lori also serves as treasure for the Sisters in Crime organization and is a liaison to the Author Coalition. She currently lives with her family in west central Florida.
Lori Roy’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, May 19th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, May 20th: Kissin’ Blue Karen
Thursday, May 21st: FictionZeal
Tuesday, May 26th: Feminist Reflections
Wednesday, May 27th: Sweet Southern Home
Monday, June 1st: Joyfully Retired
Tuesday, June 2nd: For the Love of Fictional Worlds
Wednesday, June 3rd: Bell, Book & Candle
Wednesday, June 3rd: The Bibliophile Chronicles
Thursday, June 4th: Reading Reality
Monday, June 8th: Bibliotica
Monday, June 8th: Books a La Mode
Tuesday, June 9th: Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, June 10th: A Reader’s Oasis
Thursday, June 11th: A Book Geek
Friday, June 12th: The Novel Life