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So Cold the River    by Michael Koryta order for
So Cold the River
by Michael Koryta
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Kelly Thunstrom

So Cold the River's book jacket uses words such as irresistible suspense and spellbinding. I wouldn't go that far, but if you are looking for an original, well-written tale very reminiscent of Stephen King's The Shining, then this might be the book for you.

Eric Shaw is a down-on-his-luck, back-from-LA, Chicago filmmaker who is now reduced to designing video life portraits at funerals to make ends meet. To make matters worse, he is also on his way to divorce from his wife, Claire. When he is approached by Alyssa Bradford to spend a few weeks in French Lick and West Baden to document the mysterious past of her dying father-in-law, Campbell, he can't say no. Both are small towns with deep histories in their extraordinary hotels (I told you to expect The Shining). Shaw meets many people along the way who are willing to help him, but becomes addicted to the towns' water. The water shows him visions of Campbell's life in the early 1900s. The plot takes a sinister turn when Eric's visions become stronger.

The story begins strongly with a penchant for page turning. Midway through, it loses some steam, but everything is nicely pulled together in the end. Though I did not find it an icy, terrifying winner, as Dennis Lehane's blurb on the cover suggests, if you are looking for sheer entertainment, you can find it here.

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