Title: The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.
On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter–one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island–has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.
Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.
Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell–and believe–in order to survive.
Spanning nearly twenty years, The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris is a captivating story of friendship, second chances and redemption. This well researched and intriguing novel follows Shanley “Shan” Keagan as he immigrates from Ireland to New York where he is unofficially adopted by an Italian-American family.
Orphaned at a young age, Shan is a gifted entertainer who travels to New York with hopes of finding his biological father. Calling in a favor with Nick, the young man he helped rescue from a tricky situation during the voyage, Shan is grateful to his adopted family for helping give him a fresh start in America. Shan remains loyal to his new family and while he manages to stay out of trouble, Nick is rebellious and begins working for gangster Max Trevino. Following a terrible misunderstanding with Nick, Shan strikes out on his own where he eventually achieves a modicum of success with his vaudeville act. Years later, Shan unwittingly gets involved in a crime while trying to save Nick and eventually winds up incarcerated at the infamous Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco.
Shan is a wonderful protagonist who makes the best of the opportunities afforded to him. He is hardworking, smart and loyal but he still manages to find himself in situations not of his own making. Not wanting to disappoint his adopted parents or end like up his dissolute and abusive uncle, Shan is determined to make an honest living and he keeps his distance from Nick’s illegal activities. When he feels he must leave his adopted family behind, he uses his skills as an entertainer to make a living traveling with other vaudeville and burlesque performers. Despite going out of his way to keep out of trouble, his well-intentioned effort to save Nick backfires and he is convicted of armed robbery. Following altercations with another inmate, Shan transferred to Alcatraz where he stays out of trouble with hopes that his good behavior will help get him released from prison early.
The Edge of Lost is an engaging novel that paints a vivid portrait of life as an immigrant during the Roaring Twenties. Kristina McMorris touches on the rise of illegal activity in the wake of Prohibition and the difficulties of trying to run an honest business in the midst of strong arm tactics by gangsters. The meticulous attention to detail brings the time period, characters and various settings vibrantly to life. Unexpected twists and turns bring the novel to a dramatic and highly satisfying conclusion.