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So Cold the River Hardcover – June 9, 2010
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2010: Award-winning author Michael Koryta's first foray into the supernatural genre is spellbinding and check-your-doors-and-windows scary, and it all begins with a check and a bottle of water. Filmmaker Eric Shaw had a knack for getting the exact right shot--an unexplained tug that unerringly put him on the right path--until his temper killed his Hollywood career. He gets a shot at redemption when a wealthy young woman commissions a video tribute for her father-in-law, a dying millionaire named Campbell Bradford. A man with a shady past, a town with a rich history, and an antique bottle of water claiming to "cure all ills" lead Shaw to small town West Baden, where things quickly go sideways. Shaw finds himself at odds with Bradford's only surviving family, a bitter and violent great-grandson named Josiah, and that once familiar tug of Shaw's becomes something darker and more dangerous. At its deliciously creepy core, So Cold the River is about two men facing down their demons, and what happens when those demons fight back. --Daphne Durham
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this explosive thriller from Koryta (Envy the Night), failed filmmaker Eric Shaw is eking out a living making family home videos when a client offers him big bucks to travel to the resort town of West Baden, Ind., the childhood home of her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, to shoot a video history of his life. Almost immediately, things go weird. Eric uncovers evidence of another Campbell Bradford, a petty tyrant who lived a generation before the other and terrorized the locals. The older Campbell begins appearing in horrific visions to Eric after he sips the peculiar mineral water that made West Baden famous. Koryta spins a spellbinding tale of an unholy lust for power that reaches from beyond the grave and suspends disbelief through the believable interactions of fully developed characters. A cataclysmic finale will put readers in mind of some of the best recent works of supernatural horror, among which this book ranks. 6-city author tour. (June)
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Top Customer Reviews
I too, do not know how this book earned a four star rating. I give it a 3...it held my attention at least but in the end it frustrated me.
The book has two timeframes -- 1) modern times and 2) the 1920's. The modern story revolves around Eric Shaw who is on a project to create a film about the area and a mysterious person named Campbell Bradshaw. The 1920's story revolves around Campbell. There is a "Lost River" that flows through two cities and a valley in Indiana, and it is the source for intrigue, mineral water, mystery, and mayhem as Eric soon finds out.
I felt a little short-changed as we learned a lot about the 1920's Campbell, but we learned very little of the modern Campbell. Without spoiling the story, I'll just say a more complete understanding of the modern Campbell would have been nice to include in the main story or at least the Prologue.
!! Warning !! There is some profanity in the book, but it isn't overdone. It seems inline with the characters, and it wasn't overly used. There is also some physical violence, but I didn't feel like it was too graphic or frequent.
The various characters' opinions and actions weren't explored in enough detail to be believable. For instance, we could have used a more in-depth self-analysis on why he single-handedly self-destructed his marriage. And why on earth does he hold such a grudge against his father-in-law, apparently simply due to jealousy over success? Who really cares about a main character that petty?
Best character was Ann; best parts of the plot were focused on the the bottle itself.