Author: Sterling Watson
Narrated by: Nick Walther
Release date: January 31, 2023
Audiobook Duration: 12 h 4 min
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BOOK DESCRIPTION: A taut thriller set in Florida’s desolate panhandle, part coming-of-age story, all hard-boiled noir.
“Compelling . . . Watson crafts the plot of Night Letter skillfully, keeping the tension between Travis’s past and present tight. Key to that tension is the narrative voice, which draws us into Travis’s struggle to understand his obsession and the danger it can unleash . . . Memory, he discovers, is a slippery thing, and what emerges from the past has shocking reverberations in the present, and into the future.”
—Tampa Bay Times
“Amid the classic noir elements, author Sterling Watson slow-rolls a moving reflection on the costs to the human heart of vast social and economic change.”
—New York Magazine
“In this bleak and beautiful noir, we follow 18-year-old Travis Hollister, just released from reform school, driving through the Florida panhandle, and trying to find the woman he’s pined for since he was 12—his aunt, who’s also four years older. Publishers Weekly compares it to the works of S. E. Hinton, which is really all I need to know to want to read it.”
Eighteen-year-old Travis Hollister is always the stranger who comes to town.
As a twelve-year-old escaping a disordered and unhappy home and parents who loved hard but couldn’t make it work, Travis left the Midwest to spend a summer with his grandparents in the Deep South. There he met Delia, the love of his life, who, tragically, was beyond his reach for two reasons—she was his aunt and she was sixteen years old. That summer made Travis guilty of crimes discovered and undiscovered. For his public wrongs, he did time, six years in a Nebraska reform school. For his undiscovered wrongs, he suffers mightily and wants desperately to be shriven. Can he achieve redemption or is he bound for the hell on earth he can imagine all too well?
Driven by his need to rejoin the human community, he becomes the stranger who arrives in Panama City, Florida, searching for Delia, the aunt who was the idol of his twelve-year-old passion. Who is she now? What have the years done to her? Will she welcome the return of Travis or fear it? What will she do about the return of the stranger she once held to her teenage heart.
Jean Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people.” In the course of this story, Travis learns that other people can also be salvation. Amid a cast of characters struggling with their own needs, desires, tragedies, and, yes, crimes, Travis finds violence, hatred, vengeance, and, in greater measure, friendship, honor, loyalty, and at least a glimpse of the road to redemption.
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