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The Edge of Lost

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  7,776 ratings  ·  1,026 reviews

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts,
Paperback, 340 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
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Kristina McMorris Such a fun question to answer, so I hope it's okay to chime in! The shadowed figure was actually intended to be Shan. But when I first saw the cover, …moreSuch a fun question to answer, so I hope it's okay to chime in! The shadowed figure was actually intended to be Shan. But when I first saw the cover, I was still working on the manuscript and suddenly realized that the image could also be viewed as another character (as you mentioned!) -- so I purposely left it up for interpretation, depending on where the reader is in the book. :)(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Carly Gervais
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  7,776 ratings  ·  1,026 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Update: Kindle $1.99 special today! GREAT DEAL... for a WONDERFUL BOOK!

I just finished reading the last page of Kristina McMorris's debut historical novel seconds ago.
I started reading during the sleeping hours of the night -- I could not stop reading - I didn't want to stop reading! ONE SITTING -
I was fully present from page 1 to the end - in the same way I can get when watching a movie in the theater --all other thoughts are forgotten!
Or....Have you ever gone to dinner with an old friend
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The story begins on a foggy night in 1937 on Alcatraz, where the daughter of a prison guard has gone missing. We don't return to this part of the story until the end of the book, but what fills the pages until then is a fantastic read. The scene then changes to Dublin, Ireland, some 20 years earlier. There we meet young Shanley Keagan, a boy who's using his talent for mimicry and comedy, to earn a few shillings, or a free meal. Most of the money though, goes to his uncle ( who's also his guardia ...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I hadn’t read any really good historical fiction for a while, this was great! I read it in two sittings, just because I needed to sleep.

This novel was special to me for several reasons. My father was an immigrant and he used to talk about how difficult it was to learn English, how long it took to get used to certain customs in the US and how hard it was to become educated and get a job. The other reason is that I have visited A
Angela M
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a story of family and friendship , fate and second chances, spanning several decades and places beginning with Alcatraz, to Ireland to New York City and back to Alcatraz and Dublin. Maybe one of the reasons I was so attracted to the Capello family is that both sets of my grandparents were born in Italy and although I was raised at a later time than most of the story takes place , there was so much that felt familiar to me about this family.

My connection with Shan is not so easily explai
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Worthy of more than 5 stars, it was the perfect Thanksgiving read! I read it quickly and could not stop talking about with others while I was reading it. The characters - all memorable and lovable. The plot - compelling. The research - thoroughly done. The interview at the end shows how much work McMorris put into writing this. The settings (Alcatraz, Dublin, NYC) - brilliantly worked. You will be transported. You will fall in love. You will be on the edge of your seat during this moving tale of ...more
Diane S ☔
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book starts on Alcatraz, a child is missing and an all out search ensues. We are then taken back a few decades to Ireland, where we meet a boy named Shan. A character that quickly wormed his way into my heart and never left. We then travel to New York where we meet a wonderful Italian family named the Capelos. I grew up and was embraced by my next door Italian family, a warm, wonderful family full of loudness, fun and food. This family reminded me so much of that one. In New York we experien ...more
Cathrine ☯️
Nov 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: group-challenge
Somewhere between it was ok and liked it. For me it was slow and I kept putting it down or checking the page count left to read. Started out well then by the halfway point was slow and boring. Never was able to get engaged with the writing or the characters.
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like it when authors 'tease' the reader by starting the story with a pivotal event from later in the novel. This tactic works so well in peaking the readers interest from the beginning. Shan was such an easy character to root for. I can not not mention this cover... absolutely spot on in conveying the feel of this story. A wonderful novel that I believe many will really enjoy. 4.5 stars.
Oct 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
3.5 stars.
I really enjoyed this one.  While reading it, I kept coming up with little niggling questions  about this or that character or choices the author made.  Then later, the same questions would niggle at me again, and again. But by the conclusion, every question was answered and dealt with effectively .   The main character is one you can care for, even as he serves time in Leavenworth and then Alcatraz.   Ms. McMorris did her research well to nail time and place, the prison atmosphere, an
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew on the first page that this was going to be a book that I would not forget. I immediately saw myself having a personal relationship with the characters. Kristina’s straight forward way of writing an engaging, thought provoking story is my kind of book. I can’t believe I’ve never read any of her other books but I will be searching them out from now on.

When the story opens with a prologue in 1937, a little girl, one of the Alcatraz guard’s daughter is missing. The island is in an uproar try
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review Copy Provided by Author

Kristina is one of my favorite authors and THE EDGE OF LOST proves exactly why. I couldn't stop flipping the pages and couldn't wait until the mystery was solved. I had no idea it would end the way it did but I absolutely loved the ending! Kristina McMorris pulls her readers back in time with this gripping story and I loved every single page! My heart went out to Shan and all he had to go through in his life.

While on his way from Dublin to America, he meets Nick Ca
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm quickly becoming a Kristina McMorris fan. This is the 2nd book I've read by her this month.
This is a wonderful story of second chances and opening hearts to include an orphan. I loved the character of Shan, and rooted for him throughout the book.
I looked forward to coming home to read this each day, and highly recommend it.
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The Edge of Lost follows the travails of Shanley Keagan (Shan) from his orphaned 12-year-old existence through his ‘adoption’ by an Italian family (the Capellos) when he made his passage to Brooklyn (U.S.), to his checkered return to Dublin in 1937. It is an event filled story that packed in Shan’s struggles as a young boy working as a pub performer to support himself and his foul-tempered maternal uncle/guardian, his longing to be truly a part of the Capello family, his passion as a Vaudevillia ...more
Carol Brill
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Edge of Lost spans about twenty years in the life of Shanley "Shan" Keagan. An orphaned pre-teen, living with his alcoholic uncle, Shan is entertaining in Irish pubs to help make ends meet. When his uncle realizes Shan can make more money in Vaudeville, he decides unexpectedly to move them to New York. On the voyage, Shan befriends Nick Capello, a good-hearted, risk-taking scammer. For reasons that unfold as the story progresses, the Capello family take Shan in when they get to New York. Sha ...more
Erika Robuck
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am a long-time fan of the novels of Kristina McMorris. She is one of those writers whose books manage to get better and better, and her latest, THE EDGE OF LOST, is no exception.

Intricately plotted in a series of vividly rendered settings from Ireland, to New York, to Alcatraz, THE EDGE OF LOST is an addictive read with a sympathetic and memorable protagonist. Each period and location is represented so true to life, the book unfolds like a film in the reader's mind. There are many surprises in
Jeanette Lewis
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a story of human endurance. It also gives an insight into the desperation of people wanting a better life and what they will do to achieve it. The book is well written and enjoyable, however it does have too much going on and parts could have been edited out.

1919 Dublin, a bad time in Irish history, the war of Independence from the British has begun. Poverty is at many people's doorstep.

Shanley (Shan) Keagan after the death of his mother and father where he enjoyed a relatively good life

I enjoyed Shan’s story, especially his early life in Ireland and New York. I’ve read other books about the time and Irish migrants, and it seemed plausible to me that a young orphan could end up on the other side of the Atlantic, struggling to find a safe place to live.

Shan is an enterprising young chap who honed his talents for entertaining adults in the local pubs in Ireland. He has a good ear and mimics people as part of his act. This particular talent serves him well when he hitches up w
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To try to put together the right words that will let others know how much you enjoyed the story without giving anything away, or repeating the "blurb" is sometimes difficult for me. But here goes...

This is a book that covers quite a few elements. Love, loyalty, forgiveness, second chances...but for me, it was mostly about survival.

I loved the cast of characters, Shan, Nick, Josie, The Capellos, Sadie - all of them. The settings: Ireland, New York, Alcatraz and more all came to life in the story
♥ Sandi ❣
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-have
He started as Shanley Keagan - became Tommy Capello - and fought his way back to Ireland, his birth land.
This novel encompasses many characters and most of them fought for freedom and redemption.
Immigrating as a youth, Shan lost his Uncle on the boat trip to America. He was saved by a young acquaintance - Nick Capello, and accepted into the Capello family. As the family grew older the boys split their ways - one going rogue and one staying lawful. Until one of them was in grave danger of dying
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 Stars

Kristina McMorris skillfully delivers an impeccably researched and compelling novel, AT THE EDGE OF LOST, a blending of historical fact and fiction---ultimately, a story of second chances, love, forgiveness and sacrifice.

As the book opens on Alcatraz Island, Oct 1937, an inmate (Capello) inside the warden’s greenhouse strains to listen. A little girl ten years old has gone missing. A pris
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Long ago and far away" I snuggled deep into warm blankets as my grandmother told me stories in an outdoor sleeping pergola. Perhaps this started my life-long love of story which has permeated my life and richly filled me with knowledge of far away places and diverse thought. How grateful I am to her.

It has been a long time since I have been so captivated by a novel. Why this so piqued my interest at this time I know not. It is easy to read but not condescending. The characters are likeable and
Deborah Blanchard
This was my first book by Kristina McMorris and it will definitely not be the last. This book grabs you from page one and won't let go. I became invested in the characters, especially Shan, the main character. The characters come to life right off the pages and you know them, you really know them! They are well developed and true to life. This could truly be the biography of an Irish immigrant, that is how it reads. It reads like a true story. I love how the author integrated real places and peo ...more
A young boy's destiny is changed forever when his father dies on a ship heading to America. He had saved another boy on the ship from definit peril and the young boys incredibly kind family ends up protecting him from the authorities by claiming him as their own. For the rest of his life he considers them as his own. Unfortunately his new brother is all about getting rich fast which turns out terrible for him on more than one occasion. In the end while trying to protect his fast and loose, new b ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
Review Copy Provided by Author

There are some authors when a new book comes out that you drop everything and read, Kristina McMorris is one of those authors and added to that, its been a LONG two years since her last book was released. So when the Edge of Lost popped as a author donated book in one of my Goodreads groups, there was almost virtual bloodshed over who got to read it first (unfortunately, I lost out and had to wait not so impatiently). So when it finally showed up in the mail, I gaze
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris gripped my attention right from the beginning and never at any point did it slip. I fell in love with Shanley and many of the people that he connects with. The story begins on Alcatraz in 1937 where a child is lost and a prisoner is preparing to escape and then moves back a couple of decades into 1919, Dublin, Ireland. We first meet Shanley as an almost penniless urchin in the care of his uncle. His mother is dead and his father unknown.

Shan was
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For my full review, visit

I enjoyed the story of a young Irish immigrant and his travails as a newcomer to America. The book is well researched and gave me a good look at the hardships of immigration at that time for several ethnic groups, among them the Irish and the Italians. The young man, Tommy aka Shanley, unfortunately lands up in prison on Alcatraz while trying to help someone else. The book's account of life on Alcatraz, for inmates as well as the
Lisa Montanaro
So so good!! From Ireland to NYC to Alcatraz Island, this book evokes such a strong sense of place. I loved the historical details and learned so much. And as an Italian American married to an Irish American, I loved that this book featured so much of those two groups. A great storyline with surprises along the way, I enjoyed the way it all unfolded and came together, leaving you guessing right up until the end. Featuring strong themes of family, belonging, forgiveness, redemption and missed cha ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2016
You'd be forgiven for thinking The Edge of Lost is a book about prisoners, guards, and guards' families on Alcatraz. After all, that's the story the blurb describes. Actually, the first 2/3rds is an ungraceful YA novel in disguise telling the predictable story of an orphaned Irish immigrant making his way in America. Not something I would've picked up on my own, and now I'm wondering why I bothered to finish it. I am annoyed.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable, hard to stop listening to story. I found the characters engaging and real and the circumstances in the book the same, all except for one, which I will leave for the future reader to decide on. I liked how the book opens with a desperate event, and then switches to the tie in. Should be a good read for YAs too.
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KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her novels have garnered more than two dozen literary awards and nominations, including the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Penguin Random House, HarperCollins ...more

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