Summary: It started with a documentary. The beautiful Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to unearth the life story of her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose childhood is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job, even though the only clues to Bradford's past are his hometown and an antique water bottle he's kept his entire life.
In Bradford's hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary past--a glorious domed hotel where movie stars, presidents, athletes, and mobsters once intermingled. Long derelict, the hotel has just been restored to its former grandeur.
But something else has been restored too--a long-forgotten evil that will stop at nothing to settle a decades-old score. And with every move, Eric inches closer to the center of the building storm. -- Little, Brown
If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, then you know that I recently had the opportunity to meet Michael Koryta, author of SO COLD THE RIVER, at a recent Borders Event. I was extremely excited because there has been so much hype surrounding his latest novel. SO COLD THE RIVER is one of EW's 18 Books We Can't Wait to Read This Summer, and you know I'm trying to read as many from that list as I can for the challenge I'm hosting!
Mr. Koryta looks so young that it's hard to believe that he's already had six novels published, and he's pretty cute and funny too! I enjoyed hearing him read an excerpt from SO COLD THE RIVER (even though I think he was scrambling to find one because it was kind of thrown on him last minute.) And I was pretty giddy that Kathy and I actually got our books autographed by Mr. Koryta before they were even released -- thanks Miriam!
So with all of the excitement and pre-release hype surrounding SO COLD THE RIVER, you're probably wondering what I thought of the actual book (and not just meeting Mr. Koryta!) I have to say that SO COLD THE RIVER is not my usual book fare, but I LOVED IT! I think I read this book (which is over 500 pages) in less than 24 hours! I didn't want put it down, and there actually came a time when I couldn't put it down.
I said that SO COLD THE RIVER isn't a book that I would normally pick up, but that's not entirely true. I do love a good suspense/thriller book, and SO COLD THE RIVER has all of the elements that I've come to expect from good books in this genre. What set it apart for me, though, was that it actually had some supernatural aspects; and I'm a little leery of books that are kind of "out there." I find that books like this have to be extremely well done for me to "buy" the supernatural premise, and Mr. Koryta definitely delivered in SO COLD THE RIVER! In fact, not only didn't I mind the parts of the story, but I became caught up in them, kind of believed them, and actually enjoyed them a great deal.
I have not read Mr. Koryta's other books, but I definitely intend to now. I loved his writing style! While the book was kind of long, it read as a much shorter book -- does that even make sense? What I'm trying to say is that the story was gripping and the writing was so smooth that I didn't even notice how many pages I was reading. I thought the premise of the story was extremely creative, and I definitely felt how important the setting of the novel was to the author. Mr. Koryta actually brought these small towns in Indiana to life, and after reading this novel, I will forever think of French Lick as more than just Larry Byrd's hometown! In addition, I really liked how well the author developed the characters, and the dialogue between the characters seemed very authentic.
One thing that really stood out for me in this novel was how Mr. Koryta incorporated the symbolism of storms into this story. I usually don't expect symbolism out of suspense novels, but I have to say I really liked it! I appreciated how the author wove the theme of a big storm throughout this novel through various characters, events, and descriptions. As I read SO COLD THE RIVER, I felt it was inevitable that a big storm would arrive. This is going to sound strange, but I actually felt the tension building in the story just like storm clouds build before a storm (although that probably had something to do with Mr. Koryta's excellent descriptions of the weather!) So when storm finally arrived, I actually felt as if a I were caught up in a storm along with the characters. The book's pace increased drastically as did the tension of the characters; and as a reader, I loved how this all came together and how it made me feel!
As far as I'm concerned, if you are a fan of suspense/thriller novels or even books with a supernatural aspect, then SO COLD THE RIVER is a must-read this summer! I have to say so far, EW's summer book recommendations have not let me down!
If you are interested in learning more about SO COLD THE RIVER or Michael Koryta, then you really need to check out the BlogTalk Radio show hosted by Miriam that took place a few days ago! As always, I enjoyed the show and have an even better appreciation of the novel.
And since I enjoyed this book so much and think all of you should read it, I'm going to giveaway my un-read ARC of SO COLD THE RIVER. To enter, just leave a comment with a valid email address telling me why you want to read this novel. This contest will be open until Saturday, June 26th at 11:59 p.m. ET, and I will notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Good Luck!
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel.