Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Review: So Cold the River by Michael Koryta

So Cold the RiverIn a review I posted yesterday, I said that the book was one of my favorites this year. I think I'll have to say the same about So Cold the River. I began reading it one night and finished it two days later. Considering that it contains 500 pages and I have a part time job, I was reading this book most of my free time in those two days. I didn't want to do anything else. It was that good!

Synopsis from the author's website:

It starts with a beautiful woman and a challenge. As a gift for her husband, Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to make a documentary about her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old millionaire whose past is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job even though there are few clues to the man's story—just the name of his hometown and an antique water bottle he's kept his entire life.

In Bradford's hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary history—a glorious domed hotel where movie stars, presidents, athletes, and mobsters once mingled, and mineral springs whose miraculous waters were reputed to cure everything from insomnia to malaria. Neglected for years, the resort has been restored to its former grandeur just in time for Eric's stay.

Just hours after his arrival, Eric experiences a frighteningly vivid vision. As the days pass, the frequency and intensity of his hallucinations increase and draw Eric deeper into the area's dark history. He discovers that something besides the historic resort town has been restored—a long-forgotten evil that will stop at nothing to regain its lost glory. Brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, So Cold the River is a tale of irresistible suspense with a racing, unstoppable current.

My thoughts:

I had never read any books by Michael Koryta before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Boy, was I in for a wonderful surprise! I haven't had so much fun reading a book in a long time. The story flowed so well, even though some of it shifted from present to past in visions and hallucinations in the minds of two of the main characters. I was simultaneously thrilled and disturbed as I became pulled along by the mysterious plot.

This book reminds me of Stephen King, or Dean Koontz novels. It has an element of the supernatural that sends chills up the spine. There were many times when I was reading that I just had to stop and shiver because of what I was reading. This was how I felt as a child when I read Alfred Hitchcock stories. Like I had to lock the door before I could continue. So exciting! I will be putting Michael's other books on my TBR list.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense and a good mystery. And, be sure to read it with all the lights on!

***Warning: some rough language and a mild sexual scene. Sensitive readers be aware.

About the author:

Michael Koryta (pronounced ko-ree-ta) is the author of six novels, most recently So Cold the River, and his work has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Great Lake Books Award, and St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Novel prize, while also earning nominations for the Edgar, Quill, Shamus and Barry awards. In addition to winning the Los Angeles Times prize for best mystery, his novel Envy the Night was selected as a Reader's Digest condensed book. His work has been translated into nearly twenty languages. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, Koryta graduated from Indiana University with a degree in criminal justice. He currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Bloomington, Indiana. His next novel, The Cypress House, will be released by Little, Brown and Co. in January 2011.

(I received this book from Little, Brown and Co. for review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed in the review are entirely mine.)

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