This is the ancient myth of Hercules — the plot of all plots — re-engineered into a modern-day wonder. Tinti knows how to cast the old campfire spell. I was so desperate to find out what happened to these characters that I had to keep bargaining with myself to stop from jumping ahead to the end ... a master class in literary suspense. Hercules himself might feel daunted by the labor of writing tales for 12 bullets, but Tinti is indefatigable. Each one of these stories drops us into a different setting somewhere in the country, establishes a tense situation in progress and then barrels along until slugs start tearing into flesh. Given the repetition, you would think we would come to anticipate Tinti’s methods and grow weary with these near-escapes, but each one is a heart-in-your-throat revelation, a thrilling mix of blood and love ... This would all be empty calories if Tinti weren’t also such a gorgeous writer, if she didn’t have such a profound sense of the complex affections between a man wrecked by sorrow and the daughter he hoped 'would not end up like him.'”
...[a] beautifully constructed second novel...Tinti has fused a cowboy-noir action adventure and a coming-of-age tale into a father-daughter love story ... The scenes of his mayhem are gory, with no shortage of innocent people permanently harmed — and this, actually, is one of the novel’s most distinctive features. Aside from the final action sequence, which is pure Hollywood-style derring-do set on the ocean (and includes one plot twist, involving a temporary inability to navigate, that feels bizarrely false), Tinti never glamorizes violence. She forces us to look at the damage wrought, to hear the crunch of bone, to see the copious blood, to take in the bystanders, now broken or dying or dead.
...an intricate mélange of propulsive thriller and sophisticated character study, narrated à la mode from shifting points of time and place and dusted lightly with supernatural suggestion ... the mise-en-scène is full of vibrant visual detail, the characters are idiosyncratic, and the climax is as heartwarming as it is unexpected — Tinti’s novel seems premade for the screen (so long as the cinematic realization is in the hands of a director who can somehow channel Hitchcock, Michael Curtiz, and Ingmar Bergman) ... The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley displays such a high degree of polish any trace of the maker’s hand is removed. Every sentence perfect, every circumstance layered with meaning, effect, intrigue, and forward motion. Can a writer be too good?