Reviews for So Cold the River
Booklist Reviews 2010 May #1
Eric Shaw's promising career as a Hollywood cinematographer crashed and burned. Now he's back in Chicago, making "video life portraits" of recently deceased people. One of these portraits brings a new commission: Eric is to travel to tiny West Baden, Indiana, and document the early years of Campbell Bradford, a wealthy, about-to-die Chicago businessman who was born in West Baden but has never spoken about his childhood. Within hours of his arrival, Eric experiences a vivid and portentous vision and hallucinations that seem related to the town's mineral springs. Signs and portents of a resident evil bombard him as he researches his project, and eventually the evil becomes manifest. After successes with noirish mysteries (The Silent Hour, 2009), Koryta has ventured into genre-bending, successfully melding thriller elements to a horror story that recalls Stephen King. His tight, clear prose makes West Baden as creepy as Transylvania, and Eric is a compellingly flawed protagonist. Legions of King and Peter Straub devotees will be delighted by this change of direction; Koryta's hard-boiled fans may feel a bit nonplussed at first, but they, too, will fall under the spell of this very strange Indiana town. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2010 April #1
A gothic horror story set in--wait for it--rural Indiana.Filmmaker Eric Shaw, reduced to preparing video montages for memorial services since the failure of his Los Angeles career caused him to retreat to Chicago and leave his marriage to Claire, is approached by wealthy Alyssa Bradford, who offers him $15,000 to re-create the life of her father-in-law, Campbell, 95 and near death in a nursing home. The only clue to his past is a green glass bottle, still stoppered, that he's kept in his safe--a bottle of something called Pluto Water from some hidden spring between the twin towns of French Lick and West Baden, Ind. Quicker than Stephen King conjures goosebumps, Shaw finds himself hearing train whistles, having visions of an old gent in a bowler hat and suffering world-class headaches. Kellen Cage, a black student working on a doctoral thesis concerning French Lick and West Baden, offers some help. Meanwhile, the last Bradford, ne'er-do-well Josiah, hopes that the video may bring him money. The weather turns ominous. Shaw's headaches worsen. His scary visions continue. Would a sip of that reputed elixir, Pluto Water, help? As the visions intensify, Josiah turns more menacing, killing with no provocation a private eye sent from Chicago to stop Shaw. Old Anne, a weather spotter, senses that the wind is up. Shaw becomes obsessed with finding out more about Pluto Water. But four tornados will hit the county within an hour, the Lost River will rise and a major conflagration will almost annihilate Claire before the Campbell past is bottled up tight once more.A departure from Kortya's Lincoln Perry p.i. series (The Silent Hour, 2009, etc.) that's every bit as well-written. Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2010 February #2
When documentary filmmaker Eric Shaw is asked to reconstruct the life of beauteous Alyssa Bradford's secretive father-in-law, he discovers a mysterious town with a glamorous past-and creeping evil. Koryta isn't as huge as some of his mystery confreres-about 250,000 copies of his books are in print-but he is a multiple award winner who bears watching. With a seven-city tour. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal Reviews 2010 May #1
Hired to make a documentary of a dying but secretive billionaire's early years in rural West Baden Springs, IN, Eric Shaw finds more than he bargained for in a small town still mired in its former glory and a hotel that holds more than just memories. A mysterious antique water bottle, a town reluctant to let go of old connections to fame and infamy, hallucinations, and a resurgent evil combine to bring readers a gripping chiller that will keep them guessing--and looking under the covers--until the last page. VERDICT This "Midwestern Gothic" by Los Angeles Times book prize winner Koryta (Envy the Night), who is making his Little, Brown debut, is a departure from the author's prior neo-noir crime novels, but it's being positively compared to Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Peter Straub. Fans of horror and supernatural suspense will enjoy his latest, and darkest, work yet. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/10; seven-city tour.]--Colleen S. Harris, North Carolina State Univ. Lib., Raleigh [Page 66]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 April #1
In this explosive thriller from Koryta (Envy the Night), failed filmmaker Eric Shaw is eking out a living making family home videos when a client offers him big bucks to travel to the resort town of West Baden, Ind., the childhood home of her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, to shoot a video history of his life. Almost immediately, things go weird. Eric uncovers evidence of another Campbell Bradford, a petty tyrant who lived a generation before the other and terrorized the locals. The older Campbell begins appearing in horrific visions to Eric after he sips the peculiar mineral water that made West Baden famous. Koryta spins a spellbinding tale of an unholy lust for power that reaches from beyond the grave and suspends disbelief through the believable interactions of fully developed characters. A cataclysmic finale will put readers in mind of some of the best recent works of supernatural horror, among which this book ranks. 6-city author tour. (June) [Page 42]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.