Light from a Distant Star is a gripping story of family love with a brutal murder at its heart and an unforgettable hero.
It is early summer and Nellie Peck is on the cusp of adolescence – gangly, awkward, full of questions, but keenly observant and wiser than many of the adults in her life. The person she most admires is her father, Benjamin, a scholarly man of great integrity. But Peck’s Hardware, his family’s century old store, is failing fast, forcing Nellie’s mother, Sandy, back to work as a hairdresser after years at home with their three children. Nellie’s older half-sister, Ruth, is caught up in the teenage whirlpool of parties, pot, and sex, when she secretly launches a disturbing search for her neglectful birth father. Often saddled through the long, hot days with her timid younger brother, Henry, Nellie is determined to toughen him up. And herself as well.
Three strangers enter Nellie’s once protected, small town life. Brooding Max Devaney is an ex-con who works in her cranky grandfather’s junkyard. Reckless Bucky Saltonstall has just arrived from New York City to live with his elderly grandparents. And pretty Dolly Bedelia is a young stripper who rents the family’s small, rear apartment and becomes the titillating focus of Nellie’s shameless eavesdropping.
When violence erupts in the lovely Peck house, the prime suspect seems obvious. Certain she knows the real killer’s identity Nellie is soon silenced by fear and the threat of scandal. The truth, as she sees it, is shocking and unthinkable. Her last, best hope for justice is the looming murder trial. Finally, with everyone’s eyes riveted on her in the courtroom, Nellie finds herself seized with doubt and compromised by moral confusion.
No one will listen. No one believes her, and a man’s life hangs in the balance. In this moving evocation of innocence lost, Nellie Peck struggles to stand up for what is right, for the truth she’s been taught to defend – even at the cost of her family’s well-being.
Raised to believe in honor, Nellie Peck is every inch her father’s daughter. Benjamin Peck is an honorable man and it is his dignified example that informs his daughter’s life – and always has. But Benjamin Peck’s grand illusion is in thinking the world a good place because he wants it to be. Needing goodness in those closest to him, he sees no evil – not even when his daughter confronts him with its shocking existence.
Truth denied can exact a deadly price. And this is the burden Nellie must endure as she discovers that the world isn’t black and white, just painfully complicated. Wanting to be strong, trying to “get tough,” she finds herself trapped in a grownup world of conflicting motives and selfish desires.