Book Reviews

Book Review: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest, independent review. All words and thoughts below are strictly my own.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti zeroes in on a father, Samuel Hawley, his gritty crime life and his daughter, Loo. We see Loo grow up over the course of the book as the story works itself out. Hawley is a complicated character and I found myself trying to decide what my feelings about him were, exactly. He’s not completely despicable but he’s not fully likable either. Loo, while at times, an odd child with a propensity for violence, is more relatable and easier to connect to as we watch her grow and even walk through her first love.

Told in alternating chapters, we learn the backstory of Samuel Hawley through his gun wounds he’s acquired over the years. The other chapters are from Loo’s modern day perspective and interactions. I found myself more drawn to Loo’s chapters than Hawley’s, I think because I didn’t develop a strong connection with Hawley and didn’t care much about him or the trouble he got himself (and his family) into through his career choice.  Hawley’s love for and protection of Loo is definitely admirable. He will stop at nothing to protect her.

Many have raved about this book, giving it a solid 4, 4.5 and 5 stars and while I did like the story, I didn’t love it. There was a lot of violence in the book, even a domestic violence scene, and a mechanical feel to the transitions between story lines. As a crime, mystery and thriller reader, I’m not afraid of grit or gruesome or even violence, but this one felt different to me.

Overall, it is a solid story and one I could even see as a movie, however, it just left me underwhelmed in the end.

The book releases on March 28. You can grab a copy here – **

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