Jason Allen is the author of the novel “The East End” and the poetry collection “A Meditation on Fire.” He was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont and spent the first year of his life in a log cabin, and then grew up in a working-class home in the Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy estate owners. He has an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches writing.
The East End
“The East End” is an atmospheric debut novel of family secrets and scandal, of love and heartbreak, of working-class struggle versus the privileges of the super wealthy, all set in a place whose incredible beauty means both pleasure and pain – a place where people will die for love, kill for truth, and dream of escaping forever. “The East End” opens with Corey Halpern, a Hamptons local from a broken home who breaks into mansions at night for kicks. He likes the rush and, admittedly, the escapism. One night just before Memorial Day weekend, he breaks into the wrong home at the wrong time–the Sheffield estate where he and his mother work. Under the cover of darkness, their boss Leo Sheffield — billionaire CEO, patriarch, and owner of the vast lakeside manor — arrives unexpectedly with his lover, Henry. After a shocking poolside accident leaves Henry dead, everything depends on Leo burying the truth. But unfortunately for him, Corey saw what happened and there are other eyes in the shadows. Hordes of family and guests are coming to the estate the next morning, including Leo’s surly wife, all expecting a lavish vacation weekend of poolside drinks, evening parties, and fireworks filling the sky. No one can know there’s a dead man in the woods, and there is no one Leo can turn to. With his very life on the line, everything will come down to a split-second decision. For all of the main players—Leo, Gina, and Corey alike—time is ticking down, and the world they’ve known is set to explode. Told through multiple points of view, “The East End” highlights the socio-economic divide in the Hamptons, as well as how the basic human need for connection and trust can transcend class differences. Secrecy, obsession, and desperation dictate each character’s path. In a race against time, each critical moment holds life in the balance as Corey, Gina, and Leo approach a common breaking point.