Let the Dead Bury the Dead
by Joan King
Available in print and e-book formats.
In rural Oklahoma, near the end of World War II, seven-year-old Gracie Timmons watches her grandfather die of a heart attack after confronting a gang of moonshiners on their farm. Gracie has memories of her deceased mother, but only a photograph of a uniformed soldier for a father. With no more family willing to care for her, she is taken in by the dauntless spinster who owns the general store. Plagued by fear, guilt, shame, and nightmares, Gracie often retreats to the depths of her closet to pray for her father’s quick return.
When Sargeant Aaron Timmons does return he is not the medal-adorned hero of Gracie’s dreams. A prisoner for most of the war, Aaron is jumpy and easily angered. In the upper drawer of his dresser, he keeps a stolen Bible and a row of small boxes he claims are coffins filled with dead soldiers. The town’s people whisper he is a broken man because he has “fits,” and “spells” and wets himself.
Gracie and Aaron have nothing in common except nightmares of the dead, poetry—the good kind that rhymes—and Miss Redding, Gracie’s teacher. As Aaron feuds with the gang of moonshiners who’ve set up on the family farm, Gracie learns to trust her troubled father’s attempt at love and care.