As a young boy, Shanley Keagan was forced to eke out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Thanks to his Uncle Will’s drinking and belligerence, the two of them are no longer welcome to even receive the meager meals offered to the poor and hungry so it is up to Shan to provide for them. Thrilled when Uncle Will announces they are setting sail for America, Shan dreams of finding his biological father, an American sailor Shan has never met. But the voyage creates new challenges for Shan and sets in motion a series of events that will forever shape his life, relationships, and perspective. Sean settles in Brooklyn and becomes known as Tommy Capello, posing as the son of Italian immigrants.
Nearly two decades later, on a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz where a prison guard’s ten-year-old daughter, Sadie, is missing. Tommy Capello, now a convicted bank robber assigned to work as a passman tending to the Warden’s greenhouse, is the only person on the island who knows the circumstances surrounding Sadie’s disappearance. Both of their lives hinge upon Tommy’s ingenuity, skill . . . and luck.
The Edge of Lost is the story of Shan/Tommy and how loyalty, sacrifice, lies and betrayal fuel his survival and search for the home and family he has always longed for.
McMorris whisks readers off to 1919 Dublin and pulls them into the trials of twelve-year-old Shan, orphaned when consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis) claimed his parents. Although Shan is abused by his Uncle Will, an alcoholic ne’er-do-well, he fears the horrors that await him in the orphanage Uncle Will threatens to deliver him to more than Uncle Will’s predictable mistreatment. And tender-hearted Shan cares for the only family member he has left. He valiantly attempts to earn enough money to survive by traveling from pub to pub seeking employment as an entertainer. Shan is a talented impressionist and comedian who might actually have a shot at success if only Uncle Will could stop getting into drunken disagreements and brawls with the local tavern owners. Shan fantasizes about the father he has never known, who wrote to Shan’s mother but never managed to reconnect with her. Armed with the sailor’s photograph and last letter, Shan dreams about what it would be like to again be part of a real family.