Check It Out: The 12 Lives of Samuel Hawley

Jun 15, 2017

Following the award-winning success of her debut novel, The Good Thief, author Hannah Tinti returns with her second novel, another atmospheric and intricately suspenseful saga centered on a vulnerable child under the care and guidance of an outlaw.  Today, I’m recommending The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. 

   Samuel Hawley isn’t like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who has spent years living on the run, he has raised his beloved daughter Loo on the road, moving from motel to motel, always looking over his shoulder. Now that Loo’s fast approaching adulthood, all Hawley wants is to give her a normal life, even if that means risking settling down in the coastal Massachusetts town where his late wife Lily grew up.

Both father and daughter struggle to adjust—Hawley in his new job as a fisherman and Loo, who struggles to fit in at the local high school. Growing more and more curious about the mother she never knew; Loo begins to investigate. Soon, everywhere she turns, she encounters the mysteries of her parents’ lives before she was born. This hidden past is made all the more real by the twelve scars her father carries on his body—a scar for every bullet wound Hawley took over the course of his criminal career. Each serving as a memory: of another place on the map, another thrilling close call, another moment of love lost and found.      

As Loo uncovers a history that’s darker than she could have ever imagined, the demons from her father’s past spill over into the present—and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come.

Described by Commonwealth author Ann Patchett, as “an old-fashioned storyteller of the highest order”, Hannah Tinti’s skill truly shines through in this coming-of-age tale. The compelling way in which she writes and the empathy she is able to make you feel for her flawed characters combine to create one truly memorable story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the final page.  

          Check out The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley and other great works of suspenseful literary fiction like it at the Sioux City Public Library.     

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Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.