***NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER***
"Will grab your heart on page one and won't let go until the end."
—Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
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.
McMorris (The Pieces We Keep) subverts the rags-to-riches immigrant story in this breezy tale set between Ireland and Alcatraz. In the preface, we meet inmate 257 of Alcatraz before the story opens years earlier in Ireland when young Shanley Keagan, orphaned and scraping by with his drunken uncle, discovers he has an American father. They set off to find him, but Shan's uncle dies in transit, leaving Shan to fend for himself. Fortunately, the Capellos, an Italian family on the ship, take an interest, although the tradeoff is that Shan must give up his name and become a Capello. The story makes for compulsive reading as it jumps between Shan's youth and young adulthood, touching on such diverse underworlds as the Black Hand mafia, which Shan becomes entangled with when he joins the Capellos, and the Vaudeville life, which he aspires to join as a performer and comic. There is a lot to cover however, and at times Shan's character as presented to the reader sensitive, loyal, and passive contrasts rather unconvincingly with how others characters perceive him tough and ruthless, but this is still an intricate and intriguing entry into the American immigrant canon.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris is an interesting historical novel. The novel begins on Alcatraz Island with Inmate 257, Tommy Capello, trying to escape and hoping they do not find lost little girl of one of the guards. Then the novel goes to 1919 to begin the story. Shanley Keagan is twelve years old in and lives in Dublin, Ireland. He is an orphan at the mercy of his Uncle William O’Mara. Shan is good at impressions, acting, singing, and comedic routines. His uncle books him into various venues to earn money (which the uncle spends). Shan discovers that his biological father was an American sailor named John S. Lewis. Shan wants to go to America to look for him and works at convincing his uncle that it would be a good opportunity for them. After a bout of sickness, his uncle agrees to go. Upon arriving in New York at Ellis Island, Uncle Will is dead in his bunk. Shan does not want to be sent back to Ireland. He had rescued Tony Capello from some bullies on the ship, and he is hoping Tony can help him get into America. The Capello family agree to let Shan pretend to be their deceased. The Capello’s take Shan into their home and he has a good home for the first time in years. Shan goes on a search for his father while forging a new life for himself in America. Find out what happens to Tommy Capello and Shan Keagan in The Edge of Lost.
The Edge of Lost is an intriguing novel. I was not sure I would like this novel (I usually do not read books with a male main character), but this novel captured my interest right from the start. There are a couple of slow areas, but overall an enjoyable novel. There is some violence and foul language in the book (as well as sex). The story takes us through the 1920s and we get to experience bootlegging, speakeasies, and boys growing up into men (and the choices they make). The Edge of Lost is well written (the author did a good job showing us New York in the 1920s). The writer takes us from Ireland to New York (provides great descriptions). I liked the authors writing style and how she wove the story together. The Edge of Lost has an enjoyable ending that will leave you smiling. I give The Edge of Lost 4 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy of The Edge of Lost from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A very intriguing story. Well written. Loved the characters. Didn't expect the new direction of the story the last 200 pages! A must read.