A RIVER OF CROWS
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Date of Publication: April 18, 2023
Number of Pages: 372 pages
In 1988, Sloan Hadfield’s brother Ridge went fishing with their father and never came home. Their father, a good-natured Vietnam veteran prone to violent outbursts, was arrested and charged with murder. Ridge’s body was never recovered, and Sloan’s mother— a brilliant ornithologist— slowly descended into madness, insisting her son was still alive.
Now twenty years later, Sloan’s life is unraveling. In the middle of a bitter divorce, she’s forced to return to her rural Texas hometown when her mother is discharged from a mental health facility.
Overwhelmed by memories and unanswered questions, Sloan returns to the last place her brother was seen all those years ago: Crow’s Nest Creek. There, she is shocked to hear a crow murmuring the same syllable over and over: Ridge, Ridge, Ridge.
When the body of another boy is found, Sloan begins to question what really happened to her brother all those years ago. What she discovers will shock her small community and turn her family upside down.
Clueless Gent’s Rating for A River of Crows
Most people know after a few bites whether they’re going to enjoy their meal. After biting into the first few paragraphs of A River of Crows, I knew I was going to enjoy this story. I wasn’t wrong.
This book is a rave example of the talent of a good storyteller. For all I know, the initial premise of the story could have been a family of four sitting at a table, the brother, the sister, and the parents. The only odd fact would be that the parents weren’t married. To that premise, ask yourself: what could happen?
The story follows Sloan and her dysfunctional family. The two time periods of the story are 1988 and 2008. The chapters alternate between the two. I found it interesting that I could quickly discover the ramifications of something twenty years after it happened. The author did this so well.
The author took her time at getting into the characters. And she got pretty deep with some of them, such as Sloan and her mother. The author created her characters with a grace and elegance that were sometimes at odds with the true characters. That may be hard to understand, but it’s even harder to explain without spoilers. With that being said, and with all the dysfunction in this story, the character arcs are pretty amazing—especially Sloan’s.
I think the one thing that stands out to me in this story are the reveals. There are several of them, and if anyone says they saw them coming, I’d doubt their sincerity. The reveals start around the halfway point of the story, and they continue until the end. I still can’t get over how utterly clever this storyline is.
I have to make note of this in my review. The author had some wonderful analogies in the story. For example, when a male character discovered something very sad, the author wrote, “His entire face had fallen, like a boy who had just watched Santa Claus skip his house.” In another example, when an intoxicated character was speaking, the character felt “like she was speaking in slow motion, like a cassette getting chewed up by a boombox.”
This is a wonderful story, filled with emotion and secrets. I highly recommend it!
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