Book Review: Long, Bright River

Author: Liz Moore

Mickey and Kacey are sisters bound by the early death of their young mother due to an Opiod overdose. Raised by their maternal grandmother, “Gee,” they rely on each other to fill in the missing spaces of their parents. Gee has a bitter heart after the loss of her daughter, and she only speaks of the girls absent father in derogatory terms, as she blames him both for the death, and her having to be saddled with the care of two young girls. She provides only the barest of necessities for the girls, who grow in very different directions.
The backdrop of the narrative is provided by the hard streets of tough neighborhoods in Philadelphia, where Mickey serves as a police officer and Kacey works the streets to feed her habit. Mickey is duty-bound to make a life for herself and her young son despite the hardships she has endured as a single parent with little support. Her job allows her to spy on the activities of her younger sister while keeping their relationship mostly under wraps.
I found this book very compelling even though I’m not usually a fan of this thriller type of genre. The believable characterizations and unusual conversational style made me pay rapt attention so as not to miss anything. I found some trouble with some character names interspersed with their nicknames, it was hard for me to keep them straight. Readers with a grounding on “Police Procedurals” may find this less distracting than did I.
In all of the darkness, I found hope and a deep sense of empathy for the flawed people inhabiting this surreal, carefully drawn story. I would highly recommend it for people who like domestic noir with a dash of generational chaos.


Compelling and deep.

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