Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review: "So Cold the River" by Michael Koryta

Eric Shaw was once a promising cinematographer poised to be the next big thing in Hollywood, until his temper destroyed his career, which significantly damaged his marriage. Now, he mostly makes retrospective films about people, usually used for funerals and other special events. So when Alyssa Bradford hires him to do a biography of her 95-year-old billionaire father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, whose childhood is a mystery to their family, Eric jumps at the chance. Armed only with a vintage bottle of mineral water from Bradford's hometown of French Lick, Indiana, he gets the opportunity to visit an historic hotel that once transformed the area and has now been restored to its former grandeur.

Yet the minute Eric takes a sip of the once-famous Pluto Water, and arrives in French Lick, things start to get a little strange. He starts seeing visions which get more and more vivid, he encounters a very distant relative of Campbell Bradford who has an axe to grind, he discovers more than just a few secrets and legends about Bradford, and it appears he has unleashed a menace set on destroying the town and everyone in it. But motivated by the need to get at the truth, and the power of finding the ultimate story to film, Eric is determined to stay in French Lick—no matter what the costs.

I read this entire 500+-page book on a flight from Paris to the U.S., and it kept me riveted the entire time. Clearly this book isn't based in reality, but it's a terrific paranormal thriller with enough character and plot development to hook you. And it's a little creepy, too, once the characters make some realizations about what's in the water. I picked this book up a while ago because I remember Stephen King saying it was one of his favorite books; it's definitely a book worthy of a read. (Note: This review is kind of vague because I don't want to spoil anything for you.)

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