The Carpenter is set in a God-fearing small Ontario town in the 1980s, a town rife with secrets, grudges passed through the generations and an undercurrent of criminal behaviour. Lee King, the carpenter, is returning after a lengthy stay in maximum-security prison to a community that still recalls his horrendous crime. His mother is dying, and he wants to see her and his sister Donna after so many years. But things are still not quite right in the town as Stan Maitland, the retired cop, knows. Not only does he vividly remember Lee’s unexplained violence from years before, he is also caught up in a mysterious new death. He has just found the body of a young woman, Judy Lacroix, in a car at the abandoned drive-in on the edge of town. Stan can’t help getting involved, though his policing days are long over. And what about Lee Kingwill he ever understand where his violent streak comes from? When Lee finally faces who he is, the lives of his family are once again overturned.
A suspenseful, darkly humorous, emotionally engaging work, The Carpenter is a powerful debut novel. Like Dennis Lehane, Matt Lennox is completely at home in the back alleys and dark corners of small-town lifeand of the human heart.
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The single scene in the novel that takes place outside the unnamed town is its last. In a key moment, a character sits on a railway trestle overlooking a river.Read Full Review of The Carpenter | See more reviews from National Post arts
Like much Canadian fiction, The Carpenter spends a great deal of time focused on the oppressive grey of the past. Only in its final moments does it tilt toward the possibility of future escape.Read Full Review of The Carpenter | See more reviews from National Post arts