My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 5 days
Pages - 276
Publisher - Serpent's Tail
Source - from a friend
Blurb from Goodreads
A modest house in upstate New York. One in the morning. Three people—a couple and their child—hurry out the door, but it’s too late for them. As the virtuosic and terrifying opening scene of Broken River unfolds, a spectral presence seems to be watching with cold and mysterious interest. Soon the house lies abandoned, and years later a new family moves in.
Karl, Eleanor, and their daughter, Irina, arrive from New York City in the wake of Karl’s infidelity to start anew. Karl tries to stabilize his flailing art career. Eleanor, a successful commercial novelist, eagerly pivots in a new creative direction. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Irina becomes obsessed with the brutal murders that occurred in the house years earlier. And, secretly, so does her mother. As the ensemble cast grows to include Louis, a hapless salesman in a carpet warehouse who is haunted by his past, and Sam, a young woman newly reunited with her jailbird brother, the seemingly unrelated crime that opened the story becomes ominously relevant.
Hovering over all this activity looms a gradually awakening narrative consciousness that watches these characters lie to themselves and each other, unleashing forces that none of them could have anticipated and that put them in mortal danger. Broken River is a cinematic, darkly comic, and sui generis psychological thriller that could only have been written by J. Robert Lennon.
One house, a murder leaving behind a child, an observant presense, a flip forward in time and a new family. That is the history and the new family know of what happened, the daughter is young and obsessed, the mother is trying to pen her novel and deal with health issues. The husband is selfish, self involved, stoned on recreational drugs and a bit of a Lothario!
The story flips about, we have the happenings of the killers, the insights of the family members and their own personal journeys, actions and the consequences of said actions. The observer is a different angle, a presence that grows in awareness as it experiences more of the human interactions and experiences. I think what the author was aiming for absolutely went over my head, I didn't get the angle or what they were going for.
It is such a busy book, family, relationships, infidelity, murder, violence, drugs, teenage problems and that is just some of what the book offers. I found my head spinning a wee bit to be honest, so much going on and not always clear the relevance of what was happening or what it had to do with the previous happening. However, I am very much in the minority, this book has been loved by many and I think, in this instance, it just didn't work for me. A lot of people like books that pluck the brain, keep you on your toes and guessing where the book is going, for me is was just packed a bit much. There is intrigue, mystery, a who done it type thread, personal dramas and of course the unusual presence of the "observer". Certainly not your run of the mill book and as I said many have loved it, it just didn't work for me, 2.5 out of 5 for me, check it out yourself and see how you find it.