Author: William Kent Krueger
Published by: Atria Books on Sep. 5, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Source: Simon & Schuster Canada
Book Rating: 10/10
In 1958, a small Minnesota town is rocked by the murder of its most powerful citizen, pouring fresh fuel on old grievances in this dazzling standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of This Tender Land.
On Memorial Day, as the people of Jewel, Minnesota gather to remember and honor the sacrifice of so many sons in the wars of the past, the half-clothed body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. Investigation of the murder falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a highly decorated war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service. Even before Dern has the results of the autopsy, vicious rumors begin to circulate that the killer must be Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran who has recently returned to Jewel with a Japanese wife. As suspicions and accusations mount and the town teeters on the edge of more violence, Dern struggles not only to find the truth of Quinn’s murder but also put to rest the demons from his own past.
Caught up in the torrent of anger that sweeps through Jewel are a war widow and her adolescent son, the intrepid publisher of the local newspaper, an aging deputy, and a crusading female lawyer, all of whom struggle with their own tragic histories and harbor secrets that Quinn’s death threatens to expose.
Both a complex, spellbinding mystery and a masterful portrait of midcentury American life, The River We Remember is an unflinching look at the wounds left by the wars we fight abroad and at home, a moving exploration of the ways in which we seek to heal, and a testament to the enduring power of the stories we tell about the places we call home.
Haunting, intimate, and impactful!
The River We Remember is a gritty, moving, character-driven tale that sweeps you away to Jewel, Minnesota, during 1958 and into the lives of a handful of people, including a sheriff with a tormented past, a wealthy murder victim who seems to have had sadistic tendencies, and a suspect who the people are more than happy to convict purely due to his Dakota Sioux blood and choice of a bride.
The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, scarred, and strong. And the plot is a raw, absorbing tale about life, loss, love, grief, strength, bravery, hope, survival, violence, injustice, racism, abuse, gossip, suicide, community, and fear.
Overall, The River We Remember makes you think, makes you feel, and ultimately resonates long after the final page. It’s a beautifully written, sobering, memorable story by Krueger that uses extraordinary character development to weave a combination of an impressive, intricate mystery with a heartbreaking, nostalgic tale, all steeped in an abundance of tragedy, discrimination, and pain.
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.