Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crooked River-Valerie Geary

Crooked River
Valerie Geary
Morrow, Oct 14 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062326591

Their parents separated almost a decade ago with their mom staying in Eugene while their bee-keeper dad rusticated near Terrebonne.  Each August, the older daughter Sam stayed with her dad Bear while the younger child Ollie remained home with their mom.

In 1988, without any warning their mom died.  The grieving sisters, fifteen years old Sam and ten years old Ollie, move in with Bear, but the tweener has been mute since the tragedy occurred.  As the siblings struggle differently with their loss, they find a dead woman floating in the nearby Crooked River.  Sam tries to pull her ashore, but fails.  She obsesses over the death as she fears the law will come after Bear and consequently end her family; so Sam desperately tries to identify who murdered the woman in the river.  Meanwhile silent Ollie sees the Shimmering haunting her that no one else notices.

This is a mesmerizing coming of age supernatural whodunit starring two wonderful sisters struggling with death, change and a bone marrow foreboding trepidation more ugliness is coming to haunt them.  Except for Bear (especially his lack of parenting skills) and the mysterious Shimmering, the support cast comes across as eccentric over the top of Smith Rock.  The amateur sleuthing adventures of Sam and the wonder of whether the Shimmering are a grieving frightened tweener’s psychological crutch or really stalking her make for a fine family drama.

Harriet Klausner

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