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Let Me Die in His Footsteps: A Novel Hardcover – June 2, 2015

3.9 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Let Me Die in His Footsteps

"Open Let Me Die in His Footsteps anywhere and Lori Roy’s melodious voice will float off the page….This Depression-era story is a sad one, written in every shade of Gothic black. But its true colors emerge in the rich textures of the narrative, and in the music of that voice, as hypnotic as the scent coming off a field of lavender." --New York Times Book Review

"Let Me Die in His Footsteps is a hybrid of mystery, coming-of-age and Southern gothic literature…it’s taut and evocative – things simmer and tickle and sizzle underfoot, and the book practically smells like a lavender field." --LA Times

“It teems with family feuds, forbidden love, second sight and wronged innocents, all held together by Roy's taut style and gift for suspense.” –Tampa Bay Times
 
"With pithy characters and a winding plot leading readers to dark places they won't anticipate, this is a story of sisters, lovers, mothers and daughters, and what can happen when evil slips its way between those ties." --Associated Press

“A richly detailed, highly suspenseful Gothic novel filled with indelible imagery.” –Huffington Post

“An atmospheric, vividly drawn tale that twists her trademark theme of family secrets with the crackling spark of the “know-how” for a suspenseful, ghost-story feel.” --Booklist (starred review)

“This powerful story…should transfix readers right up to its stunning final twist.” --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A Faulkner-ian tale of sex and violence from the Kentucky hills.” --Kirkus

“The richness of [the] characters makes their decisions crackle. . . . Which, as any Harper Lee fan will tell you, is what makes these stories endure in our very protective hearts. . . . While intense and at times a little ruthless, Roy's novel has elements of both what we love about the southern gothic mixed with the other perennial American classic: the coming-of-age tale. This is a dark story of adolescence in all of its awkward, terrible, exhilarating glory. And that's what makes it sing.”—Bustle

“Edgar Award winner Lori Roy…serves up a mystery with a thick, rich blend of Southern Gothic mainstays…This coming-of-age story dropped into a world of hardscrabble existence has an almost painful poignancy.” –Fort Worth Star Telegram

"There are echoes of Flannery O’Connor here: poverty, violence, malevolence, and grace. Roy’s writing is spell-like, using a simplicity of language, deft characterization, an understanding of the dark side of human nature, and relentless plotting in order to pull together every aspect of the conjuring necessary to create a masterpiece of Southern Noir" -- Historical Novel Society

"Reading Lori Roy is a sinuous, near-physical experience, her stories so rich and well-told they twine into the reader in a manner both gentle and profoundly deep. I consider her writing a love-sonnet to American letters. Simply lovely."  --John Hart, Edgar-Award winning and New York Times bestselling author of The King of Lies and Iron House

“Rich and evocative, Lori Roy's voice is a welcome addition to American fiction." --Dennis Lehane
 
"This is a beautifully observed story whose details of time, place, and character are stunning little jewels sure to dazzle the eye on every page. . . . Quite simply put, I loved this book." --William Kent Krueger, Edgar-Award winning author of Windingo Island and Ordinary Grace

“Young love, Southern folklore, family feuds, and crimes of passion . . . Roy describes life on a lavender farm in rural Kentucky in vivid detail, and the mystery of what happened years ago will keep readers engaged until the end.” --Library Journal 
 

 

About the Author

LORI ROY is the autho of Bent Road, winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and Until She Comes Home, finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her family.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (June 2, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525955070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525955078
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.Prather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 23, 2015
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Even though I had a rather difficult time getting started with this Southern mystery, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it for its firm grasp of setting, its complex characters, and chilling plot twists. This is a story told in two different time periods, and even though most of the characters were the same in each time frame, their relationships to each other were pretty unclear. It took a while to get my footing with this story and to determine just exactly who was who. Ultimately, this initial confusion only heightened my enjoyment of the novel when things started to finally come together.

The author does a fantastic job of evoking time and place with just enough detail and description to evoke a lifestyle of hardship in a land that is both bleak and fragrant. This is a woman's story, with female characters that are complex and well rounded. The male characters sometimes come across as mere accessories to the story, even though they often drive the events. The wisdom and power reside with the women.

The alternating time periods do slow the pace, leading to some frustrating moments when I found myself wishing this story could move along. I found the ending to be gratifying and in some ways unexpected. This was an interesting, unpredictable story that was well written and suspenseful. The gothic elements made this a chilling read and an enthusiastic recommend.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I feel somewhat obligated to start this review out with a disclaimer: this just wasn't my type of book. As a result I really didn't enjoy this book personally, which makes me feel a little guilty about leaving any sort of star rating. I didn't really get four stars worth of enjoyment out of this work but I can clearly see where others will.

Roy is clearly a talented writer and at times I can see what all of the fuss is about: her character are beautifully flawed, which made this one of the strongest, most appealing parts of the work for me. I do prefer books where the characters are neither perfect nor completely awful. There are some great interactions and character descriptions, along with some very well done world building.

Unfortunately what turned me off of this book somewhat was the jumping between time periods and the fact that this ultimately wasn't the type of book I'm really into, at least not at this point in time. No matter how hard I tried to get into this I just kept finding my attention wandering. I know that this may make some feel that the book isn't any good but that's really not the case here: this is something that you'll either like or dislike.

So... would I recommend this book? Ultimately, yes. This would appeal most to fans of slow, gothic "hidden family secrets" type of mysteries and to fans of books like Gone Girl. (Which I didn't like despite liking the author's other work.) It's definitely something that I can see becoming a popular summer read and one that will likely become the focus of several book groups. I'd just recommend that if you're somewhat on the fence about this, check it out at the library first. If you're a fan of Roy's work or you're pretty sure that you'd like this book, feel free to add 1-2 stars to my rating.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel is well worth the read. It's entertaining and full of suspense. The book alternates between 1935 and 1952, and untangles the hidden secrets of two generations of the same families in the tobacco fields of Kentucky. Ms. Roy accurately captures the sluggishness of the lives of these characters and their need to hold onto aged superstitions. There is murder, child abuse, rape allegations, lust and a curious custom by which a 15 1/2 year old girl will stare into a well and see the face of the man she will marry. There is an old family feud, and a staged hanging that is loosely modeled after the last public hanging in the United States. I see that reviewers are likening this work to that of Faulkner and I can see the link. My thanks to the author and the Penguin First to Read program for a complimentary copy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a moody, intelligent, suspenseful novel, full of lovely cultural details of rural life, customs and regionalisms. The dark narrative is set against this mountain setting. I'm not sure how the title of the book relates to the story, and I actually purchased the book by accident. But it's truly a literate, lovely, haunting piece, and I couldn't put it down. It skips between the stories of two generations, and ends with a shocking revelation. I loved it, and want to read more by this author.
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Format: Hardcover
In rural Kentucky in 1952, Annie Holleran and her sister, Caroline, trespass onto a neighbor’s yard to look into their well, which will give a vision of Annie’s future. They discover a dead body nearby. It is all tied into the past. Specifically, 1936 when Annie’s Aunt Juna also looked into the well and caused chaos and death. This led to the hanging of Joseph Carl Baines, a next-door neighbor who might have been innocent of the charges against him.
Lori Roy is a fine writer. She evokes such realistic settings. Her characters are so very lifelike and rendered in such loving detail. Her writing is so very literary full of flowery phrases. But I hate her style of storytelling. The plot is so freaking tedious. Some event that should take half a page is dragged out to four to five pages with endless description and side stories. Characters come and go and there are so many of them. A reader could skip four or fives pages at a time and little would be missed because the pacing is so languid. When violence happens, it is described in almost a perfunctory manner unlike everything else in this book. Personally, I hated this book. Others will disagree as it is nominated for an Edgar Award for best novel.
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