Welcome to another Crawford’s Mysteries and More! Book Club Novel Review. Novels read in book club will fall into the following categories: Detective (crime is solved by a detective/police officer), Cozy (no violence), Caper (told from the criminal’s POV), and More (not strictly a mystery)! Mysteries will be reviewed based upon the crime taking place, the intrigue of the information that gets revealed, the relative success of red herrings, and the satisfaction of the ending.
Long Bright River by Liz Moore is a Detective Mystery Novel. This is her fourth standalone novel.
Mystery novels are great at piquing your interest with just the title. “Long bright river” of what? To where? And because it’s a mystery, it makes you shiver because you know it’s not really so bright; it’s dark and winding and you’re sure to end up somewhere you don’t want to be.
But Moore also has some great hooks. Her first page is a list of names. You think it might be a character list but they also seem like real people’s names. Then her opening sentences, “There’s a body on the Gurney Street tracks. Female, age unclear, probably overdose, says the dispatcher.” You know exactly where you are and who you are and it cuts you to the core. Second chapter sentence, “The first time I found my sister dead, she was sixteen.” From there, it’s a torrid race to the finish. You don’t want it to end but you’ve got to know what will happen next.
The mystery unravels in alternating POVS: Then and Now. You see our detective as a young girl, broken and needing love. You see her hardened and sure of herself, making her mark on the world. You see her sister sure of herself, bright and alive. And you see her strung out and hungry, bruised by the world. You see their upbringing, their neighborhood, the cops and the teachers who prowl the streets. You’re looking for who’s to blame, but when society’s broken, who can be held responsible?
Moore’s language is dry and to the point. There are no quotation marks in her dialogue; it’s all em dashes and contextual evidence. She puts you in the story and you can’t detangle yourself from the detective who’s positive that each victim on the street is going to be her sister and the street that’s insatiably consuming the lives of the inhabitants of Kensington.
Pick up your copy soon. Long Bright River is Crawford's Books’ October’s Book Club pick. Grab your copy today and then join the virtual meeting on October 14, from 6:30-7:30pm.Interested in what the Mysteries and More Book Club is reading? Check out past reviews and what’s on the horizon: 1/14 Magpie Murders, 2/11 The Henna Artist, 3/11 Mr. Mercedes, 4/8 And Justice There is None, 5/13 The Song of Achilles, 6/10 The Big Sleep, 7/8 The Ice Princess, 8/12 The Devil and the Dark Water, 9/9 A Duty to the Dead, 10/14 Long Bright River, 11/11 The Guest List, 12/ 9 American Dirt