Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review So Cold the River & Giveaway

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.

48 comments:

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

I want to read So Cold the River because I love a good mystery :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!
theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

bevsclark said...

I love reading books that you can't put down. The way you describe the writing and feeling like you were part of the book, really makes me want to read this even more.

bevsclark at gmail dot com

Beth F said...

Okay, okay . . . moving this one up on my list. Now I'm wondering if I should listen to it or read it. Decisions, decisions.... (no need to enter me in the giveaway).

Kay said...

First, you don't need to enter me in the giveaway. I'm reading this book right now on my Kindle. I'm only a little way in, but I'm feeling the urge to get back to it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, which I only skimmed. I'll come back to them after I've finished.

bermudaonion said...

I felt the same way about this book - I believed the supernatural aspects and I usually don't! No need to enter me.

Irene said...

Summer is when I love the "chilly, icy" page-turners! I have this book on my TBR list, and a reserve at our library (as do countless others). "So Cold the River" definitely fits the bill for my summer-reading list! Thank you!!

cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

ruthhill74 said...

Always ready to read a book you can't put down. Please enter me.

ruthaw_1974@yahoo.com

Tore said...

I love a good mystery also. This books sounds very intriguing and I am really interested in reading this. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Erika Lynn said...

I love a good mystery and this sounds absolutely gripping.
sports[dot]erikalynn[at]gmail[dot]com

chirth7 said...

I'd love to read this book. It's sounds fantastic! Count me in. Thanks for the giveaway!

chirth7@yahoo.com

Michelle said...

I'm like you - I love a good thriller/suspense novel. So Cold the River sounds like it would be a perfect summer read!

Thank you so much for the giveaway!

jmchshannon (at) gmail (dot) com

Between Library Shelves said...

I love reading a book with what seems like a good mystery line. So count me in on this giveaway.

leann.luckett@gmail.com

traveler said...

Thanks for your wonderful review and post which captivated me. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol Naomi Wong said...

I love mysteries that make you want to read as fast as possible and at the end you are a little disappointed that it ended!

Please enter me in this giveway.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

angie said...

I would love to read this book because it looks very interesting. Plus I am always looking for new authors to read.
Thanks!
bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

Beth Hoffman said...

This book sounds fascinating. Yes, please enter me.

Thanks, Julie!

Jennifer said...

From everything I have heard and read about SO COld the River it is an absolute must-read and I am keeping my finger crossed. Thank you for offering up a copy.

knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

amandawk said...

I'd never heard of this book, but it sounds really good.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

bookmagic said...

this sounds like a great one. I like supernatural aspects when it is done well and I'm glad this delivers.

bookmagic418@gmail.com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

That's a write-up that's impossible to deny!

No need to enter me, though, babe. (stupid TBR mountains) I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

katsrus said...

I love to read a thriller you cannot put down. I loved your review. Thanks.
Sue B
katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

Margie said...

This sounds like a can't-put-down book...with elements of family drama and a little mystery. My kind of book!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Carol W. said...

I love a page-turner, and this book sounds like it would be exactly that. Please enter me in the giveaway.

wolfcarol451(at)gmail(dot)com

Charleydog said...

Please enter my name in the giveaway for the book. Thanks!

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

holdenj said...

I love suspense novels! And I don't think you could beat a recommendation by EW and Booking Mama!! Thanks!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I can't wait to start this one. Now that I have my BEA books in my possession,this one is calling my name! No need to enter me in the contest, thanks for the great review!

Arch said...

I haven't heard about this author till now but then your rave review about this book now makes me want to read it...and boy, you finished reading 500 pages in a day!!! that does say a lot about your reading skills as well as the quality of book.. I sure would like to enter this giveaway...

archanaskorner(at)gmail(dot)com

Thanks
Arch

karenk said...

i want to read this book because you have highly recommended it...
thanks julie.

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

skkorman said...

I LOVE mysteries—please enter me to win!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Carol M said...

I'm a big fan of thrillers and mysteries. This sounds really good and the supernatural aspects makes it a must read! Please enter me! Thank you!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Darcie K. said...

I love suspense/thriller books. I can't wait to read this one!
dmkayes@gmail.com

Steve Capell said...

I found your review to be intriguing and one that I think I would take pleasure in reading.

Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway.

steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

Amy said...

I admit that I'm not one who usually goes for books that contain "supernatural" elements or story lines. But the fact that you feel similarily, Julie, and yet found that that part of Mr. Kortya's book extremely well done and you believed it and got caught up in the supernatural parts really intrigues me. I think this book sounds captivating because of the storm aspect since I am interested in bad/wierd weather but I also want to read & experience the supernatural part of this book and see how I feel about it. I also like how much you enjoyed the author, he sounds like quite a nice man!
So please enter me in your giveaway!

Thank you!

~ Amy
Aimala127@gmail.com

Cindy W. said...

I love suspense/thriller novels and would love to read So Cold the River. Thank you for the opportunity to win it.

Smiles,

Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sarah E said...

I want to win So Cold the River because I have read several great reviews about this book. Please enter me in this giveaway!

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Meredith said...

This would be a great addition to my summer reads which all seem to have a supernatural or paranormal theme to them!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Anita Yancey said...

I want to read this book because thrillers are my favorite books to read. This one sounds really good. Please enter me. Thanks!

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

ruthiekb72 said...

This sounds like a great pick for my book club!
Thanks, ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

Debbie F said...

count me in! sounds like a great read!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Journey2Goal said...

I want to read it so I can mark it off 1 of the 18 and it looks great! it's on my list!
ajreinecke at yahoo dot com

rubynreba said...

I love mysteries and would love to read it!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Misusedinnocence said...

I would love to read this, especially for all of the history that will be in it! ;)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

CherylS22 said...

I want to read this because it looks like a great read & I have never read any of Mr. Kortya's books yet. Thanks for the chance!
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

Melissa T said...

I love mysteries and finding a new author to like.

ChristyJan said...

I would love to win a copy of this book because I really enjoy suspense/thriller novels

hawkes(at)citlink.net

Steve Capell said...

Thanks so much I am really looking forward to reading this book!

Steve Capell said...

Thanks so much ... I am really looking forward to reading this novel.