REVIEW by William Dylan PowellThe Past Never Dies - cover

The Past Never Dies is a taught and suspenseful mystery that brings together old flames and new in an explosive clash between oil executives, lawyers, cops, investors, investigators, lovers and a younger generation trying to make both sense of–and peace with–their parents’ deeds.

The story centers on Matt Langdon, the owner of an independent oil and gas operating company. A smart, hard-working and well-respected leader, he’s built his company up from scratch. With the right financing, he could take his business to the next level. It looks like everything is coming together nicely for him.

But what kind of boring book would that be?

On the way to meet a demanding potential investor, Matt finds a bloodied woman lying in the middle of the road. He’s forced to choose between flaking out on his investor meeting and stopping to help. Of course, there was no real choice for a stand-up guy like Matt. So in his character’s “save the cat” moment, Matt takes her to the hospital and does his best to help.

Still, he has a business to run; once the young girl’s situation seems in hand he dashes off to salvage what he can of his meeting. Things don’t go well. In fact, they don’t go well time and time again after his Good Samaritan deed. As it turns out, this was one accident that was unavoidable as its course was set in motion decades ago.

Elvebak’s prose style is tight and sparse, with fast-paced plotting and down-to-business dialogue. Tension between characters is as thick as tar sands.

You’ve got the intense and hard-nosed investigator Lillian Wallace—who seems to have it in for Matt from the beginning. His son is going through a transitionary period. Multiple people from his past seem to be somehow involved in plotting his bankruptcy, including the ruthless Duncan Rosendekker, who seems like a modern day version of Daniel Day Lewis’s character in There Will Be Blood. The girl he found was less of a coincidence than it seemed and practically everyone in the story appears to both be connected and have a few marked cards tucked up in their sleeve.

I personally enjoyed this book because I always appreciate a good story about the oil business. I grew up the son of an oilfield engineer, and these days I owe a lot of my living to the business the rest of the nation loves to hate. Here in Houston, we don’t complain when oil prices are high—we’re relieved. For us, high crude oil and natural gas prices mean job security, opportunity and billions of dollars sloshing around town. Sure, it makes us seem like a bunch of Bond Villains. But on the other hand, it helped make Texas a rare island of solvency during recent recession years. So if, like me, you’re open-minded enough to see oil and gas people as actual humans involved in a vital and interesting business, you may dig this book.


The Past Never Dies, Laura Elvebak

Review by Redheaded Book Lover

Matt Langdon has it all. A beloved son in college. An ex-wife who understands him. An exploration business in oil and gas which has shown a profit. Then, suddenly, his investors back out, and he faces bankruptcy. As Matt rushes to meet the one man he believes can help him, he finds an injured girl on the road. If he’s late for his meeting, he could lose his funding. But he can’t leave the unconscious girl. Being a Good Samaritan changes everything when he’s arrested and charged with assaulting her.

Lillian Wallace is an investigator for Matt’s attorney, and she’s determined to discover the truth. A close look at the mystery girl reveals she holds the key to a past Matt never knew existed. Dark secrets are exposed as the girl recovers and points a finger at Matt’s long-time nemesis—a murderer who has gone undetected for years, and who will now stop at nothing until he destroys both Matt and the girl…

The Past Never Dies is a thrilling, compelling, multi-layered, fast-paced novel that kept me hooked and intrigued from beginning to end! This book is phenomenal, and I genuinely mean that; this book is not your typical mystery/suspense novel, it is so much more than general fiction; instead, it is a multi-layered novel which takes an intricate look into the life of one man whose life is crumbling around him. Reading about the protagonist of this story, Matt, was thrilling because the more we learned, the more truths come to light, and this is one of the many reasons why I would implore you lovely readers to read this brilliant novel!

The Past Never Dies is a multi-layered mystery that takes the reader on a shocking, compelling journey. It follows the protagonist of the novel, Matt Langdon, as his life de-rails, we follow him as he goes from a man with everything to a man with almost nothing, what is worse is that he is charged with a terrible crime. This is the premise of this brilliant novel, when Matt is accused of a crime we are introduced to Lillian Wallace, Matt’s attorney’s investigator and what she discovers is shocking, and soon the reader is drawn into a thrilling mystery that will compel you to the very end.

The story of The Past Never Dies is electric, as I read it you feel a sense of urgency to reach the end. The reader is immediately thrust into the thick of the story, and I have to say that I loved this! I loved how the author of this excellent novel, Laura Elvebak places the reader in the midst of the drama…this is how it should be with mystery/suspense novels,! I loved being in the midst of the action and drama, it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through, I was enthralled thanks to the novels numerous twists and turns, Elvebak continually keeps the reader guessing, and for that I admire her!

Laura Elvebak is a talented writer who knows how to grasp the reader’s attention. To say I was enthralled by this book is an understatement, I loved everything about it! I loved the story, as well as the brilliant characters and lastly, I adored her beautiful, descriptive writing. Her words flowed effortlessly from page to page, as you reached the end of one page and one chapter, she would write something which made you turn the page with haste. This is the definition of an excellent writer; a great writer compels the reader to read, they make the reader not want to put the book down or look at the page number and Elvebak surely done this.

To conclude my thoughts on this brilliant novel, if you are looking for an intelligent mystery that will keep you entertained from beginning to end then this book is perfect for you! It has everything you would want and more in a compelling mystery, and so, I have no choice but to give this excellent book five stars!

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