The Homecoming by Marc Merrill ....This is one of the most difficult reviews that I have had to do. It is not because it is too good or too bad of a book, or any other reasons a book reviewer might find. It is because this book covers a subject that is all too familiar to me. Marc Merrill and I both come from the same hometown, Yankton, South Dakota. The story he has written about in this novel is based on the real life murder of teenager Tammy Haas, who was only a few grades ahead of me. She was a victim of an unsolved murder/accident which occurred in the early 1990's. There is still much controversy and sides being taken on this subject in Yankton. It is difficult for me mainly because I know that I should be biased one way or another about the situation, which I really wanted to make sure didn't happen in this review.
As I said the novel is based on a true event, and the author did make sure to change many of the names of people who were involved in the murder (allegedly) All, except a few, especially the main two characters in the novel.....The deceased (Tamara Haas) and the accused killer, boyfriend (Eric Stukel).
The author, Merrill claims that he had a good friendship with Haas and in this novel he breaks down the investigation of the murder, all of the "cover ups" that were happening in Yankton at the time, and the trial, which in the end was a not guilty verdict against Eric Stukel. There was more to the story that many in Yankton were aware of besides what people had heard in rumors, etc. I believe that this story is one that Marc wrote, in order for him to reveal to "Yanktonites" what he perceives as his truth of what happened. I learned much about the evidence and the trial from Marc's eyes. It is definitely a biased written novel, and very emotionally based. I wonder what the other side's story would be....if they would tell it. well written, short novel. ***