“A daringly inspiring and raw tale [...] addictive from the first sentence.”
Redbook, Mar 28, 2017
“Riveting and thought-provoking, Carl Sever establishes himself as an author to-watch with this amazing debut.”
“10 Debut Novels To Read This Summer,” BuzzFeed Community, Jun 6, 2017


After twenty years of riding the rails, Alphonse has earned a reputation for being a kindhearted soul always ready to help. When he helps the Sadlers, a young couple seeking a better life in small-town 1950s Indiana, he doesn’t intend to stay. But stay he does, keeping a close eye on the Sadlers and their two young sons―and an even closer eye on the town’s new priest, Father Brennon.

On the surface, Brennon seems perfect for the job―but Alphonse crossed paths with him years earlier in the railyard jungle, and he knows better. Brennon doesn’t recognize Alphonse, but Alphonse has never forgotten Brennon . . . or his crimes. So when Brennon assigns the Sadlers’ son, Francis, who is now thirteen, the thankless task of cleaning and maintaining the church’s bell tower―work that often continues into the night―Alphonse immediately grows suspicious. Soon, he discovers that his worst fears have come to pass, and he races to find a way to protect Francis and reveal the truth to the Sadler family.

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Gold Medal Winner

for Best First Book — Fiction


of the 2017 International Book Awards