10 October 2011

Review: SO COLD THE RIVER, Michael Koryta

  • Published Allen & Unwin Australia 2010
  • ISBN 978-1-74237-133-7
  • 503 pages
  • Source: my local library
Blurb (from author's site)

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 take

Michael Koryta is one of those authors that I have been meaning to try for some time, and I must have seen SO COLD THE RIVER talked about on one of the cyber networks I belong to. I have had it on my library request list for some months, and really knew little about it.

If someone had told me that it has a fairly significant paranormal element I probably wouldn't have tackled it. I would have regarded that as outside my credibility lines. However I'm glad I did read it and I will probably try another, perhaps the award winning TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE.

The idea of the past meeting the present through the central character Eric Shaw, through the offices of a bottle of very old spring water, does strain the bounds of credibility a bit, but it makes for a rollicking good yarn with an incredible tornado thrown in at the end for good measure.

My rating: 4.2

About the author

Michael Koryta's first novel, the Edgar Award-nominated Tonight I Said Goodbye, was published when he was just twenty-one and was followed by Sorrow's Anthem, A Welcome Grave, Envy the Night, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and The Silent Hour, So Cold the River and his most recent book The Cypress House. His works have been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he has worked as a newspaper reporter and private investigator, and in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Michael Koryta's website.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Kerrie for bringing new authors to our attention.

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book too. Koryta makes paranormal seem so natural.

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - In general, I'm right with you about the paranormal having too much of a central role in a novel. But when it's done well it can be effective. I'm glad that it didn't take away too much from the novel for you.


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