The River is Dark by Joe Hart

theriverisdarkThe River is Dark by Joe Hart, delivers a satisfying chunk of dark, suspenseful entertainment. I recently met Joe (as a guest on The Horror Writers Podcast) and instantly liked the guy. During the interview, Richard asked Joe if he would send us both a signed paperback copy of The River is Dark. He did. As soon as I finished Pet Sematary, I jumped into Hart’s book.

I’ll be honest. I get requests from authors I’ve never met to read their books which is not a great way to introduce yourself to a fellow writer. If we’ve just started “dating” and you’re already asking me to “go all the way” with your book, it puts me in a bit of an awkward situation. However, I’m usually good-natured about it and will give just about any title an opportunity to grab my attention. Well, I would have continued reading Joe’s book whether he asked me to read it or not. He didn’t, for the record.

The story is set in in Minnesota, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Detective Liam Dempsey is pulled into a murder investigation as a suspect. The murders are gruesome and one of the bodies is Liam’s estranged older brother. It turns out that Liam is an ex-cop with an accidental shooting on his record that has haunted him ever since. An old flame reappears and helps Liam solve the mystery. To give you any more would be a spoiler.

Hart is masterful with his imagery and his characters are flawed heroes making them easy to identify with and root for. I’ve never been to Minnesota but Joe made me feel like I have. The pace of the story accelerated, as a good thriller should. The conclusion left me surprised and satisfied.

If you’re looking for an engaging, suspenseful and satisfying mystery, grab yourself a copy of The River is Dark. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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