Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Twelve-year-old Louise "Loo" Hawley and her loving yet tough father, Samuel, live a peripatetic existence, until Samuel decides to settle down in his late wife's hometown of Olympus, MA. He wants to give Loo a more traditional life, although it will still be one filled with guns, secrecy, and bathroom shrines to Loo's mother, Lily. Loo knows her father has 12 bullet wounds but not how he came to have them-something the listener finds out in intermittent chapters that recount each fascinating, fraught story. As Loo becomes a teenager and experiences dangerous circumstances of her own, her father grows increasingly tense. In addition, Loo begins to investigate the truth about her mother's tragic death. All this leads to a convergence between Samuel's criminal past and his and Loo's present. Elizabeth Wiley's nuanced narration perfectly suits the complicated, suspenseful story, allowing inflection to indicate the speaker. -VERDICT This excellent production, with superb pacing and narration, is a must-have for most library collections. ["There is enough action and suspense to satisfy thriller fans, but the core of the story is the character development and exploration of relationships common to literary fiction": LJ 1/17 review of the Dial hc.]-B. Allison Gray, Goleta Lib., CA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Seamlessly transposing classical myth into a quintessentially American landscape and marrying taut suspense with dreamy lyricism, Tinti's beautifully intricate second novel is well worth the wait since 2008's The Good Thief. As his beloved daughter, Loo, hits adolescence, longtime criminal Samuel Hawley forswears life on the run and moves with her to the coastal Massachusetts town where her late mother Lily was raised. Though father and daughter both struggle to adjust, Samuel finds a place in the town's fishing industry as Loo experiences first love with the quirky son of environmentalists who oppose it. But the consequences of Samuel's violent past continue unfolding, while Loo's quest to understand the truth of her mother's death by drowning may fracture her bond with her father forever. Alternating chapters chronicle Samuel's past-traced through the 12 bullet wounds that scar his body-and Loo's attempts to find an authentic self and a future. As the story lines converge, Tinti's imagery evokes time, space, the sea, and the myth of Heracles without losing the narrative's sure grounding in American communities and culture. This is a convincingly redemptive and celebratory novel: an affirmation of the way that heroism and human fallibility coexist, of how good parenting comes in unexpected packages, and of the way that we are marked by our encounters with each other and the luminous universe in which we dwell. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
With her first novel since her Alex Award-winning The Good Thief, Tinti has produced another excellent, teen-friendly narrative, a blend of thriller and coming-of-age that's full of fascinating characters. Samuel has led a dangerous life, which began with petty crime as an adolescent and became more difficult as he grew older. He bears the scars of 12 bullets, and the story behind each injury is revealed in exciting flashbacks. Samuel and his daughter, Loo, move often to avoid enemies who are looking for him. When Loo is ready for high school, Samuel feels safe enough to settle in Loo's mother's Massachusetts hometown, where he becomes a fisherman. At school, Loo is bullied until she attacks her tormentors, and a romance with a bright classmate eases her loneliness and lightens the tense plot. She is a clever, courageous teen who surprises her father when his past catches up with him. The pace of the novel is incredibly fast, and the characters are well developed. VERDICT Tinti's deft combination of gripping action and deep characterization will attract high school readers, especially those with a literary bent.-Karlan Sick, formerly at New York Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Tinti follows her acclaimed first novel, The Good Thief (2008), with another atmospheric, complexly suspenseful saga centered on an imperiled child under the care and tutelage of an outlaw. Sam Hawley's sole reason for living after the drowning death of his wife, Lily, is his daughter. As for Loo, she is mostly content living on the run with her father, driving cross-country in a truck full of guns and staying in shabby motels in which Sam carefully sets up a bathroom shrine to Lily comprising photographs and her makeup, shampoo, and robe. But as Loo nears 12, Sam decides she needs a more stable life and risks settling down in the coastal Massachusetts town where Lily grew up and where Lily's angry mother, Mabel, still lives, certain that Sam is responsible for her daughter's demise. As Loo and Sam take measure of the troubles at hand, Tinti turns back the wheel of time and tells the hair-raising stories of each of the 12 bullet wounds scarring Sam's battle-ready body. In between these wild flashbacks, Loo comes of age and embarks on her own dangerous escapades. With life-or-death struggles in dramatic settings, including a calving glacier, and starring a fiercely loving, reluctant criminal and a girl of grit and wonder, Tinti has forged a breathtaking novel of violence and tenderness.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2017 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
The daughter of a career criminal explores her family's past along with the family business.Loo, the hero of Tinti's second novel (The Good Thief, 2008), has spent much of her childhood living out of a suitcase with her father, Samuel, who helps steal and fence jewelry and antiques. Her mom, Lily, died under vague circumstances shortly after Loo was born, but her presence has been constant: Dad places mementos of her every place they've lived. So when their travels bring them to the Massachusetts fishing town where Lily grew up, it's time for a reckoning. Loo spends her adolescence there drawing from dad's tough-guy playbook, breaking the finger of a boy who crosses her and learning how to shoot guns and hot-wire cars. Those present-day chapters are interwoven with scenes from Samuel's criminal pastthe "lives" of the title refer to the number of times he's been shot, and Tinti wittily explores each bullet for alternately comic, tragic, and thriller-ish effects. We wear our emotional pains and struggles in our bodies, Tinti means to argue, and scene to scene the novel is graceful and observant. But a dozen bullet wounds also represents a lot of metaphorical heavy lifting in addition to the other overt symbols that lard the narrative (watches, gloves, disorienting carnival rides, a whale, etc.), and at times such detail overshadows Loo's budding relationship and push and pull with Lily's mother; a subplot involving a petition to stop overfishing gets short shrift. The novel is at its strongest when it focuses on Sam and Lily or Loo, whether they're getting out of scrapes or plotting their next move. But for a story about a man who has to travel light, it carries plenty of baggage. An accomplished if overstuffed merger of coming-of-age tale and literary thriller. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.