THE CRYING TREE, Naseem Rakha. This accomplished literary debut deals with one of my hot-button issues: capital punishment. In 1985, 15-year-old Shep Stanley is killed during a home invasion. The 19-year-old boy convicted of the crime, Daniel Robbin, is sentenced to death. Justice grinds just as slowly in fiction as it does in real life and 19 years pass in the novel before Robbin is given an execution date. In the meantime, Shep's devastated mother, Irene, strikes up a secret correspondence with the man she hates for ending her son's life. But Irene's not the only one with a secret here. Her husband Nate, a Vietnam vet; Tab Mason, the prison official charged with overseeing the execution; even Robbin himself - all are harboring secrets which figure into their roles in both the crime and its aftermath. Ms. Rakha does a stunning job of nonlinear storytelling here, jumping back and forth between past and present to weave a strong tale that will make readers think while moving them more than once to tears. Not to be missed.
How about you - read anything great in the past week?
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