The River Is Dark
by Joe Hart
In a small town along the Mississippi River, separate but nearly identical attacks have left two married couples brutally murdered in their homes. A young boy?the lone survivor of the killings?now lies comatose in the hospital. And the police's only lead is the boy's terrified description of the assailant: a ?monster.?
Enter former homicide detective Liam Dempsey, whose estranged brother fell victim to the killer. Dragged into the investigation as a suspect, Dempsey vows to solve the case and clear his name. But two things stand between him and the truth: a web of local politics, and the grim secrets the victims held close. All the while, a murderer with boundless hatred continues to raise the body count.
As the troubled ex-cop tries to pull justice from the town's emotional wreckage, he realizes that his could be the next life lost to the killer's ruthless, twisted plan for revenge.
I am embarrassed to say that I have never read anything by Joe Hart before ... well, after this, I won't make the same mistake again and I am so pleased that I took a punt and requested a copy via www.netgalley.com and am grateful that the publisher, Thomas & Mercer, sent me a copy in return for an honest review.
I liked everything about it ... the story, the pace and style of writing, the sense of tension that grows in intensity, the characters, etc, etc ... it was great.
The beginning of the story hits you right in the face straight away and leaves you wanting to read on to find out what "the monster" is and why "it" has murdered in such a brutal way? The middle of the book develops the story and provides more background to the characters as well as introducing more interesting players but what links the murders and does it have anything to do with the proposed development over the river? The ending is fast and furious and even though I saw part of it coming, it still came as a bit of a surprise.
The main character, Liam, is excellent and, again, makes you want to read long into the night to find out more about him and why he is in the place he is. All the while, the story develops and pieces of the jigsaw start slotting together. The introduction of a bit of romance was well done, not too much and, I think, appropriate for the story and the development of the understanding of the characters of Liam and Dani.
I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a good thriller with a bit of blood and gore thrown in for good measure.
I also feel this has more mileage for prequels and sequels especially around Liam who is an extremely interesting character and I would definitely give them a go if they were to be developed ... hint hint Mr Hart ;)