Book Review: Down River

Five years ago Adam Chase was acquitted of murder during a trial sensationalized by Janice, his stepmother’s testimony as she took the stand against him. Adam’s father along with most of the community chose to believe Janice forcing Adam to leave Salisbury, N.C. and rebuild his life elsewhere. Long time friend Danny Faith’s phone call prompts Adam’s return to the community that cast him out. Adam’s arrives to only to have his car vandalized, get soundly beaten up by thugs and find Danny missing, all within hours of his arrival. The only bright spot in Adam’s grim homecoming is Robin Alexander, his old love interest who chose to remain in Salisbury when he left town. The residents of Salisbury are now deeply divided by a proposed power facility that promises to make some landowners incredibly wealthy but Adam’s father, who refuses to sell is stalling the land sales. Emotions run high on both sides of the issue and that’s just for starters as Adam begins digging into long buried secrets. Old bitterness and resentments boil to the surface as complex family ties, betrayals and murder tear families apart.

Hart’s dynamite second novel maintains an authentic small town feel, a number of subplots augmenting the main storyline and a credible tension level throughout. The many characters are well conceived with the lines between protagonists and antagonists blurring just enough to be interesting. Although bitterness and betrayal remain consistent themes throughout, Hart avoids being depressing by leaving avenues for forgiveness and growth open to those most in need of it.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.