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Review: So Cold the River

June 29, 2010

Alyssa Bradford hires Eric Shaw to make a documentary about her ailing father-in-law after seeing a memorial he put together for her sister.  Alyssa tells Eric her father-in-law’s name and hometown (West Baden, Indiana) and gives him a bottle of Pluto Water, a secret from his past.

Eric travels to French Lick and West Baden, Indiana and discovers two towns working to restore their grand hotels to the glory days of the past.  He also finds himself curiously drawn to the Pluto Water and can’t resist tasting it.  The water causes Eric to have visions that frustrate him and withdrawal symptoms that almost cripple him.

With the help of a new friend, Kellen, Eric tries to unearth secrets from the past to bring himself peace of mind.  Those secrets put him in a danger he could never have imagined.

If you’re looking for a page turner this summer, then So Cold the River, by Michael Koryta is for you!  I was drawn to the book right from the start – at first for its vivid descriptions of the hotels in West Baden and French Lick and later because I had to know the secret of the Pluto Water!  I didn’t want to put this book down, and found it to be a fairly quick read in spite of its 500 pages.

I found the story to be complex enough to keep my interest, but not too complex as to confuse me.  There are some supernatural elements to So Cold the River, which normally wouldn’t appeal to me, but somehow, it works for this book.  It just seemed logical and believable in the story.  It makes me wonder if supernatural elements never appealed to me because I’d never encountered them so well written before.  This book just may end up being one of my favorites of the year, so I do highly recommend it!  Check out this Blog Talk Radio interview with Michael Koryta and then watch this video and see the fabulous hotel that’s featured in the book:

Challenges: EW Summer Books Challenge

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2010 6:26 am

    I just got this one the other day and I am looking forward to reading it. I have no idea what is going on in some books when the plot gets too convoluted, so I am glad to see that it will be easy to know what is going on.

  2. June 29, 2010 6:28 am

    Kathy, I’m the same way about the supernatural! I was so afraid I wasn’t going to like this book since I’ve always loved Michael’s writing before this. But it’s really his amazing talent and writing style that make the supernatural seem completely normal and believable.

    Very nice review!

  3. June 29, 2010 6:55 am

    You already know how much I loved this one! I am anxious to read more of Mr. Koryta’s books.

  4. June 29, 2010 7:37 am

    Great review. I’ve seen this book on a couple of sites and it looked interesting. You’ve peaked my interest and it’s going on my wish list.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

  5. June 29, 2010 7:54 am

    Love the video and your review. “Haunting magic” and the Lost River fascinate me.

  6. June 29, 2010 8:07 am

    I’ll have to keep this one in mind. I’m certainly curious about the Pluto Water!

  7. June 29, 2010 9:08 am

    So glad you liked this! Now I am intrigued enough!

  8. June 29, 2010 9:18 am

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the supernatural elements in this story. I love when they are well written and believable in stories. I have this on my ipod from a free download from BEA. I cannot wait to get to it.

  9. June 29, 2010 9:53 am

    One of my kids went to college not too far from this area yet I’ve never heard of this place. Sounds like such a unique story. It’s going on my tbr list.

  10. June 29, 2010 11:13 am

    You’re right: it’s a tricky line to have a plot complex enough to intrigue you but not so much so as to confuse you. Sounds like you hit the jackpot!

  11. June 29, 2010 11:25 am

    This is a book I probably would have never considered but after reading your review I may have to read it. It sounds very intriguing.

  12. June 29, 2010 11:34 am

    I want to know the secret of The Pluto Water too now!

  13. stacybuckeye permalink
    June 29, 2010 11:57 am

    One of your favorites of the year and it’s a page turner? I’m in! The 500 is difficult for me at the moment, but I’ll try and clear some time for this one. I like supernatural elements if done well and it sounds like they were here.

  14. June 29, 2010 12:01 pm

    Great review, Kathy! Now I also want to know the secret in the water! It sounds like this would make a great read for the beach or poolside. I am so glad that you had such an awesome time with it as well.

  15. June 29, 2010 12:22 pm

    Sounds interesting, between the hotels and the water. You’ve hooked me.

  16. June 29, 2010 12:43 pm

    Before we retired, we lived not too far from this area. I traveled through the two little towns on my work travels. For that reason I will read the story but I’m very glad to hear it’s a page turner.

  17. June 29, 2010 1:35 pm

    oooo! Sounds like a terrific book for a lazy summer Saturday. Thanks for your review.

  18. June 29, 2010 1:51 pm

    Kathy, I’m still thinking about this book. It will make it to my top 10 this year. Yes, there are supernatural elements, but they are not the same as some of the current books. Glad you liked it so much and I’m also glad that word of mouth is getting some real notice for this well written story. I’m definitely going to talk it up at both of my book group meetings.

  19. June 29, 2010 2:34 pm

    Glad you enjoyed this one Kathy; it sounds good.

  20. Kathleen permalink
    June 29, 2010 3:52 pm

    Sounds like a good one. That hotel is incredible!! Thank you for including the video of the author explaining what inspired his story. I am just blown away by that hotel!

  21. June 29, 2010 4:14 pm

    That sounds like a good book, and that place looks amazing!

  22. stilettostorytime permalink
    June 29, 2010 6:28 pm

    Sounds interesting! I really liked that you linked the video as well.

    Courtney

  23. June 29, 2010 8:01 pm

    Thanks for linking the video!

  24. June 29, 2010 8:16 pm

    Great review! You have definitely piqued my interest. A quick read at 500 pages! Thanks for sharing!

  25. June 30, 2010 2:53 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed this so much! I do think that well written fantastical elements are the ones that make complete sense in the context of the story.

  26. June 30, 2010 2:35 pm

    Oh, I had never heard of this one but it sounds really good! Sounds original, too.

  27. June 30, 2010 6:30 pm

    Darn it … now I need to know what Pluto Water is!!

  28. July 1, 2010 12:15 pm

    this books sounds great! i’m definitely adding it to my wish list. i love reading mystery books and i’m with you on supernatural things so i definitely want to see how he managed to do it appropriately.

  29. July 2, 2010 3:53 pm

    I’ve been wondering about this book. I’m glad you liked it. I’m going to have to mosey on over to your giveaway and see if it’s open to me. lol.

  30. August 1, 2010 4:10 pm

    I don’t like supernatural elements at all, but I like Koryta so I think I’m going to still give it a try. I’m happy to see your positive reaction to it.

  31. November 7, 2010 3:22 pm

    This is on my list to read. Perhaps I can get it closer to the top 🙂

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