Buy This Book: So Cold the River by Michael Koryta

I'm still trying to recover from that long, dark night in 1979 when I huddled in a corner till dawn reading The Shining. Michael Koryta is not helping. His latest novel, So Cold the River is exactly that engrossing, terrifying, and hack-down-the-bathroom-door entertaining, and it continues a trend in thrillers whose literary style has evolved along with Me the Reader.

Floundering documentary filmmaker Eric Shaw has been reduced to a workmanly career doing family home videos. A lucrative gig doing a retrospective on an elderly millionaire takes him to the resort town of West Baden, Indiana, where he's sucked into  freaky/ mysterious/ sinister/ seductive circumstances surrounding the town's unusual water supply.

Some of the reviews I've read gave away too many secrets and surprises, so I'm going to resist summarizing the plot, which twists, flows and dips underground. The dynamics of the story are all about greed, ambition, frustration -- all manner of dark human elements condense, evaporate, boil over and freeze just like the water that haunts the living and the dead in West Baden.

This book is hefty, dense, and very heavily populated, so for me, it was a great binge read, but if I'd been picking it up and putting it down over several days, I'd have been lost. What kept me up all night and made it so effectively chilling is the relatable, full-bodied characters, who get you just comfortable enough to suspend disbelief. Ultimately the weirdness works because the writing is realistic and a pleasure to read.

A starred review in PW says, "Koryta spins a spellbinding tale of an unholy lust for power that reaches from beyond the grave... A cataclysmic finale will put readers in mind of some of the best recent works of supernatural horror, among which this book ranks."

Click here to buy from IndieBound and watch this space tomorrow for 3Qs with author Michael Koryta. Meanwhile, check out the video below in which he talks about the extraordinary setting for this terrific novel. It'll forever change your reaction to that old chestnut about "something in the water."

Comments

jeanna Thornton said…
I relate...
Whoa . . . going to have to buy this book NOW.

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