Review: Long Bright River by Liz Moore
I have been doing very well at keeping on top of the books I have received from my subscription box: Books with a Conscience. Initially, I was surprised when they chose this book for me. As much as I like thrillers, this one didn't immediately strike me as something I would enjoy. After reading a few reviews, it was clear that this book was more than a mysterious detective story - it was also a painstakingly sad story about drug addiction and what it can do to familial relationships. It was proven yet again that Books with a Conscience know my taste better than I know my own!
In a Philadelphia neighbourhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vice of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks as a local policewoman. They don't speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.
Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey's district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit - and her sister - before it's too late.
This book is not what you think it's going to be. I was gearing up for a heart-pounding thriller that I wouldn't be able to put down. I certainly got a book that I couldn't put down, however this falls more on the literary side. I was incredibly impressed with Moore's ability to keep me enthralled with the plot and the characters despite the steady happenings in the plot. Don't get me wrong, there are several occasions where I gasped in shock, but this book deserves more credit than just being a page-turner.
Arguably, the most impressive aspect of Long Bright River is the characters. They are fully realised and despite following a familiar trope of two inseparable sisters with contrasting personalities - the wild one and the responsible one - both characters were very well fleshed out and developed. These weren't cliched sisters that you would find in a chick lit novel; they were highly realistic.
A key reason for their superb realism was they were both incredibly flawed. You would expect to like responsible Mickey more - she has a job and works very hard, trying to fit in as much time as possible to raise her young son, Thomas. Equally, you'd expect to dislike Kacey - drug addicted and selling her body for money towards her next score. However, both characters had so many highs and lows that I never felt a distain towards either; only a desire for them to reconnect and come out ok by the end of the novel! This is not a run-of-the-mill psychological thriller. This is a literary triumph that I'm so glad I was able to read. I will certainly be looking out for any new releases from Liz Moore, as her writing is truly wonderful.
Initial Prediction: 4.5 stars
Final Rating: 4.5 stars
Publication Date: 7 January 2020
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
# of Pages: 464