Monday, October 13, 2014

The River Is Dark

The River Is Dark by Joe Hart
Thomas & Mercer: 10/14/2014
eBook, 234 pages
ISBN-13: 9781477825778 
In a small town along the Mississippi River, separate but nearly identical attacks have left two married couples brutally murdered in their homes. A young boy—the lone survivor of the killings—now lies comatose in the hospital. And the police’s only lead is the boy’s terrified description of the assailant: a “monster.”
Enter former homicide detective Liam Dempsey, whose estranged brother fell victim to the killer. Dragged into the investigation as a suspect, Dempsey vows to solve the case and clear his name. But two things stand between him and the truth: a web of local politics, and the grim secrets the victims held close. All the while, a murderer with boundless hatred continues to raise the body count.
As the troubled ex-cop tries to pull justice from the town’s emotional wreckage, he realizes that his could be the next life lost to the killer’s ruthless, twisted plan for revenge.
My Thoughts:  

The River Is Dark by Joe Hart is a highly recommended, fast paced thriller that will hold your attention right to the end.

The opening scene is of a frightened young boy trying to escape from a murderer. Then the action focuses on Liam Dempsey. Liam has just learned that his brother, Allen, and sister-in-law, Suzie, have been brutally murdered in the small town of Tollston, Minnesota where his physician brother had his medical practice. What he doesn't know until he arrives in Tollston is that another couple, who just happened to be best friends of his brother, was murdered that same week. A young boy has survived, but is in a coma.

The homeless man called Nut told Liam, “Wasn’t two weeks ago Jerry and Karen Shevlin were found the same way as the ones last night. Their boy was luckier, but not by much. Lost an arm from the elbow down and hasn’t woke up yet. Poor little bugger, he can’t be more’n ten or eleven.”
Liam set his cup down and turned to fully face the man. “You’re telling me there was a double murder here last week?”

While law enforcement won't specifically say that the two murders are related, clearly they are - but there doesn't seem to be a sinister connection between the two couples that would give anyone a reason to murder them. Liam was previously a homicide detective for the Minneapolis police department, so he inserts himself into the investigation after he is questioned as a suspect. Liam also renews his acquaintance with Dani, a friend of his sister-in-law. Dani and Liam begin to work together, with some assistance from the local sheriff.  From their investigation, Liam has good reasons to believe that more people might be in danger.

The River Is Dark sets a furious pace and leaps along to the end. It is well written and a perfect choice for anyone looking for that fast-paced thriller with gory details and a plot that moves at break-neck speed to the end. While there aren't many rabbit trails and false leads to spread the action out, the conclusion is nicely done. Most readers will connect with Liam as a character and want him to succeed.

This is a re-release of a previously published edition.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Thomas & Mercer for review purposes.

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