★ ★ ★
Blind River is a town you would not want to be caught in but makes for the ideal atmospheric thriller that everyone should be reading this fall. Gale Massey takes you to a small town in America where we focus on the Elders family—Jamie Elders is nineteen-years-old, trying to escape from the small town of Parsons, New York and away from her family’s reputation after her mother’s conviction. One choice leads to her landing in a large debt to her uncle, Loyal, which continues to unravel and put her in even more danger after he demands she clean up a mess one night—disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s powerful judge.
A slow burn for me, but still, I enjoyed the entire story. I found Massey’s style of writing easy flowing, with rich and detailed world-building behind this character-driven story. The protagonist, Jamie, is not the only complex character in this novel, and I liked that each character had layers, even if they were rough and gritty and people you would not want to encounter in real life. You really end up rooting for Jamie, even with her mistakes and questionable choices, because Massey brings a connection between the reader and main character, who is trying, despite her rough upbringing, to have a better life for herself away from the grim small town.
I am not a card player, so the terminology was often overlooked and I found myself skimming those sections, but that wasn’t really a negative on the book, because I can see as a reader why it was incorporated. This was leaning more on a 3.5 star read for me because I did really enjoy it—it just wasn’t a favorite, but I do recommend it—it held my attention, and I was intrigued by the premise and what was the outcome. You can tell it was well thought out when it came to the book as a whole with characters, setting, and premise in mind, and was executed strongly with beautiful writing.
Everyone says the Elders family are nothing but cheats, thieves, and convicts—a fact nineteen-year old Jamie Elders has been trying desperately to escape. She may have the natural talent of a poker savant, but her dreams of going pro and getting the hell out of the tiny town of Parsons, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal.
At Loyal’s beck and call until her debt is repaid, Jamie can’t easily walk away—not with her younger brother Toby left at his mercy. So when Loyal demands Jamie’s help cleaning up a mess late one night, she has no choice but to agree. But disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s most powerful judge goes beyond family duty. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and Loyal pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it—and face the consequences.
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books
I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.