The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha {Review}

About The Crying Tree:
Taken from

This complex, layered story of a family’s journey toward justice and forgiveness comes together through spellbinding storytelling. Deputy sheriff Nate Stanley calls home one day and announces he’s accepted a deputy post in Oregon. His wife, Irene, resents having to uproot herself and their children, Shep and Bliss, from their small Illinois town, but Nate insists it’s for the best. Once they’ve moved into their new home, Shep sets off to explore Oregon’s outdoors, and things seem to be settling in nicely until one afternoon when Nate returns home to find his 15-year-old son beaten and shot in their kitchen. After Shep dies in Nate’s arms, the family seeks vengeance against the young man, Daniel Joseph Robbin, accused of Shep’s murder. In the 19 years between Shep’s death and Daniel’s legal execution, Bliss becomes all but a caretaker for her damaged parents, and a crisis pushes Irene toward the truth about what happened to Shep. Most of the big secret is fairly apparent early on, so it’s a testament to Rakha’s ability to create wonderfully realized characters that the narrative retains its tension to the end.

If I had to find one word to describe this book it would be amazing.

That’s it.

In her debut novel, Naseem Rakha has written a story about family, lies, trust, love, justice and forgiveness. She gives us such a candid look into one family’s life, which has been ripped apart by the sudden shooting death of their son/brother, as she takes us through how each person deals with this death in their own way.

Every time I thought that I knew what would happen next, almost instantly Naseem’s characters hit me with a curve ball and proved me wrong. The story is full of suspense- which I loved.

I loved that the story is told in third person. This way, we are really taken to the core of each character’s being- their thoughts, feelings, etc… This makes the story all the more interesting.

A mother’s dedication to her deceased child, a father dedicated to bringing justice to his son’s killer, a daughter left to pick up the pieces after both of her parents check out and finally deciding to find a life of her own and a prison guard brought into the mix by fate with his own story to tell.

This family could be your next door neighbors- that is how believable, captivating and passionate this novel is.

Imagine your teenage son being murdered. What would it do to you? What would it do to your family?

This, I think, is the main question to consider before reading this book and as you read the question to consider as you “see” the characters develop.

I don’t want to spoil the awesomeness of this book by telling you any more, but I will say this: I can absolutely see this book becoming a movie.

You will probably have a hard time putting it down. And

I highly recommend this book- it is quite the page-turner.

Buy It:

The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha is available for purchase in paperback on for $10.08.

About Naseem Rakha:
Taken from the publishing company’s press release

Image borrowed from

Naseem Rakha is an award-winning broadcast journalist whose stories have been heard on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” among many other outlets. Prior to writing The Crying Tree, Naseem reported on Oregon’s September 1996 execution of Douglas Franklin Wright by lethal injection, the state’s first execution in 34 years. She received an Associated Press Award for her feature article. The Crying Tree is her first novel.”

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