When I read this book, it was called The Twelve Bullets of Samuel Hawley, which I think is a much better title, as each incident gets a chapter. Plus, it just sounds more intriguing: as in, really, one person survived twelve bullets? But then, Samuel is near mythic in his bad boy status, his exploits and his magnetism. He’d also do anything for his teen-age daughter Loo, and still grieves for her mother Lily, both exceedingly tough themselves. All three are pretty fabulous characters, as is the setting of a fictionalized Gloucester, MA, where Samuel and Loo try to make a normal life for themselves despite the constant threat of Samuel’s violent past catching up to them. It all adds up to substantial fun with broad appeal.
“Hannah Tinti has accomplished something rare in The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley: she has written a book too exciting to put down, but too well written to race through or, heaven forbid, skim. Her novel, however, is more than just a treat for those of us who love literary thrillers; it is also a provocative exploration of violence and the extremes to which men and women will go to defend those they love. Because Tinti is so good at what she does, it is virtually impossible for us, her readers, not to become complicit in the mayhem and to be left wondering, in the end, what we would do in her characters' places.”
— Ezra Goldstein (E), Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
A father protects his daughter from the legacy of his past--and the truth about her mother's death--in this thrilling new novel from the prize-winning author of The Good Thief.
After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife's hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother's mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past--a past that eventually spills over into his daughter's present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks. Both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most.
Praise for Hannah Tinti
"She is an adventuress who lays bare her characters' hearts with a precision and a fearlessness that will leave you shaken."--Junot Diaz
"The key to Tinti's success . . . is the constant tension between tenderness and peril."--The Washington Post