Read The River Is Dark by Joe Hart Online


Ex-homicide detective Liam Dempsey is waiting to die. His career, the only thing he ever knew how to do well, is over. The single solace each day brings is the ever-growing contemplation of suicide. But when his estranged brother and sister-in-law are brutally murdered in their bucolic town set on the banks of the Mississippi River, he is drawn into an investigation surrouEx-homicide detective Liam Dempsey is waiting to die. His career, the only thing he ever knew how to do well, is over. The single solace each day brings is the ever-growing contemplation of suicide. But when his estranged brother and sister-in-law are brutally murdered in their bucolic town set on the banks of the Mississippi River, he is drawn into an investigation surrounding a string of killings unlike anything he has ever seen before. The murderer is ruthless, cunning, and without conscience. Soon Liam learns that the river is dark. And so are its secrets.Contains explicit language and violence....

Title : The River Is Dark
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780615866642
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 223 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The River Is Dark Reviews

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    2019-05-01 01:12

    The story takes place along the banks of the Mississippi river. The story however does not travel at a snails pace. The book begins with you on the edge of your seat and it did not let up until the very end.I did figure out where the story was going but it was still an enjoyable trip to get there. Hart's writing was that perfect blend of spooky and pulse racing.Liam finds out that his estranged brother and his wife have both been brutally murdered. He agrees to come down and take care of all their lose ends and do the final arrangements. Liam does have ghosts of his own but I completely adored his character. He was tough, funny and never came off as an asshole.He starts poking around town and secrets start falling out.Some of the story takes place on a rainy night and I think I lost a few fingernails as I chewed them off without even thinking. I think I'm going to have to give more of Joe Hart's books a look at now. I received an arc copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Patrice Hoffman
    2019-05-02 01:53

    The River is Dark opens to an explosively grim scene involving a child running from a monster. Immediately it's obvious the pace of Joe Hart's novel will move swiftly. Retired Detective Liam Dempsey goes to a Tallston, Minnesota after he receives news that his brother and sister in law have been brutally murdered. Their young son is in the hospital in critical condition fighting for his life.Liam initially comes off as the damaged detective many characters seem to be nowadays. It almost makes you wonder are there no good detectives out there? Must they all be one drink away from the edge? Eventually, the reasons Liam seems so broken become revealed. I really enjoyed getting to know him as he investigates the murders in this small town. As the evidence piles up, and the clues start leading towards the development of land near the river, the pieces begin to fall into place for who or what is causing the gruesome deaths.Let me tell you, during the moments of action, Hart spares no expense. He's descriptive, gory, gruesome, and encompassing. I only wish he'd spent a little more time on the characters. Although The River is Dark is a little on the short side, I still think that a little more depth could have been given to these characters. It would have made for better rounded story.Overall, The River is Dark is a fast moving novel that explores the results of what happens when greed takes over, family secrets are exposed, and the past just won't go away. I really enjoyed reading this novel and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read with an interesting mystery... oh yeah and monsters...Copy provided by Thomas & Mercer via Netgalley

  • Kimberly
    2019-05-05 03:15

    Liam Dempsey, a former detective, is called to his estranged brother's town after learning that his brother and sister in law were the second couple brutally murdered in a short period of time.Liam's own life is in turmoil after a work incident leaves him wishing that he could end his own life--but the guilt renders him unable to allow himself such an escape. Going back to bury his older brother (who had hated him all of his life), Liam finds himself being asked by the town's sheriff to help solve the brutal murder/mutilations. Aided in part by an old flame (a cousin to Liam's sister in law), he embarks on a murder mystery that hits all too close to home.My only complaint was that--aside from the murders themselves--the story fit a little too neatly into a formulaic thriller/mystery novel, complete with the obligatory love-interest. The pacing was fast enough to sustain the story, but much of it was predictable, in my opinion.Still, a good, solid read, and I will definitely be reading more from Joe Hart in the future.

  • Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
    2019-05-13 21:56

    I am a recent convert to liking the writing of Joe Hart, this book did not let me down at all from what I expected it to be. A lot of crime books have a very similar plot and approach to them, I found The River Is Dark to be different. Much of the perspective (and the detective work) is being done by former homicide Detective, Liam Dempsey, rather than a massive focus on the police and it being a police procedural, it has more of a "private detective' approach. In a small town along the Mississippi River, separate but nearly identical attacks have left two married couples brutally murdered in their homes. A young boy—the lone survivor of the killings—now lies comatose in the hospital. And the police’s only lead is the boy’s terrified description of the assailant: a “monster.”Enter former homicide detective Liam Dempsey, whose estranged brother fell victim to the killer. Dragged into the investigation as a suspect, Dempsey vows to solve the case and clear his name. But two things stand between him and the truth: a web of local politics, and the grim secrets the victims held close. All the while, a murderer with boundless hatred continues to raise the body count.Liam comes to this small town to find out what happened to his brother and his family, who were brutally murdered in their home, no known motive seems apparent at first. Friends of his brother were also killed in their home a few weeks earlier, in the same brutal manner, with one survivor this time, their young son who saw the killer and what the killer is capable of. The boy says he saw a monster. Nobody believes him.The pace is consistent and not rapid for the majority of the book, but it's very well written so it does not become boring. Liam takes it upon himself to do some investigation into the double murders and has somewhat of a handshake blessing by the town's sheriff to do so. Frankly, the sheriff came off as lazy and too close to retirement to want to do it, so he passes the buck. Liam is a gritty, damaged character, he's been through a lot in his life but thankfully we find he still has a tender spot. He's not a fearful man and goes into this investigation with a determination to find answers. I liked the raw elements to him a lot.When further killings happen and the police finally realise they have a serial killer on their hands, Liam stands on his own with saying the man they have in custody, that everyone is pointing fingers at, is the wrong man. Nobody is really listening. Again, Liam is on his own, pushing through the clues and evidence. All unofficially.I picked early in this book by a dropped clue who the killer was and why he was killing, I have to say I was a bit disappointed it was as obvious as it was (at least to me), I like my crime books to hold their reveals until near the end. Maybe I am just a good book detective? The pace picks up considerably towards the end as more blood is shed in the most horrific of ways and Liam closes in on finding the killer, putting himself in danger whilst doing so. It's on the edge of your seat stuff and whilst I predicted the ending, it still gave me a buzz of satisfaction. It's one of those ending that had me feeling both horrified and sad, empathetic and disgusted. Conflicted.The concept of who the killer is and why is great, I found that to be something a bit different, I can't spoil it for you but the imagination of Joe Hart kicks into full gear with his creation of the killer. I think this is where Joe Hart's skills in also writing horror books successfully crosses genres. The whole atmosphere of the book is that of a somewhat melancholy town and certainly melancholy characters, some so insipid they nearly vanish. Liam and the killer are the stand out, well written, tangible characters in this novel. For me the rest just have faded away already. A good read for any crime thriller fan, I have to admit I expected a bit more action than what the first two thirds of the book has, but I was not unhappy with the book and really enjoyed it from start to finish. I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Gatorman
    2019-05-09 01:58

    Pretty standard thriller from Hart about a man who returns to his hometown to deal with his estranged brother and sister-in-law's murders. Not much original here and filled with the usual cliches for the genre, but the characters are likable and the story does move along at a nice pace. I went in with low expectations which probably helped. One of those stories you forget pretty much right after you finish. Literary Chinese food. 2.5 stars bumped to 3 because, well, it didn't annoy me.

  • Bill
    2019-05-10 06:05

    This was a fast and furious one from Joe Hart. Not overly high on the originality scale and scattered with horror clichés, this one still managed to grab me from the beginning and Joe’s storytelling pulled me thru the rest of the way. This would make one hell of a movie.Ex-Det. Liam Dempsey doesn't sleep well. His estranged brother Alan and his wife Suzie fall victim to a brutal home invasion murder. Now Liam must go back to the small town of Tallston to get his brothers affairs in order and try to find out the truth about what really happened. In order to do so he will need to cross the river of secrets and lies. What he finds there is very dark, indeed.3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 because Joe Hart knows how to write an engaging tale. This one may even be a lesson in thriller/mystery/horror basics for the upcoming writer. I look forward to more from Joe.(view spoiler)[ Every time Peter came on the scene, I could not get the image of Edward Lee’s The Bighead out of my mind. Not a pretty visual, but I suppose it did work for the story.(hide spoiler)]

  • Judi Anne
    2019-05-09 03:16

    No longer a police detective, Liam Dempsey quickly sets out to investigate the barbaric murders of his brother and his sister-in-law when he gets a call from Special Agent Phelps informing him of the home invasion of his brother and sister-in-law in Tallston, Minnesota. When he arrives he learns his brother’s best friends were also murdered the day before. Liam’s nephew has survived and is in the hospital. When he is questioned he claims he saw the monster who killed his mother and father. Along the way Liam accidentally meets his former girlfriend, Dani, and they set out together to solve the mystery of the monster.This well written book is a compelling fast read that is filled with a gruesome, gory storyline. There were times I gagged but my interest was piqued so I had to read on. When I picked up this novel at night I kept looking at the corners for movement and once I jumped in fear at the sound of the ice maker! It was kind of like going to a horror movie and putting your hands over your eyes while peaking through your fingers because you cannot not watch. The sweetness of Dani and Liam’s romance was a good balance with the gruesome murders. I will try to read another of Joe Hart’s books again, however, I will be looking for one just a little lighter.

  • Blake Crouch
    2019-05-19 23:14

    Liam Dempsey, the protagonist of The River is Dark, arrives in Tallston, Minnesota, a sleepy, scenic town on the banks of the Mississippi River. An ex-homicide detective, he’s come to investigate the grizzly murder of his estranged brother and his brother’s wife, and to set their affairs in order. But these murders are different. His family wasn’t just killed. They were literally torn apart, and their deaths are just the beginning of a rampage of violence that’s riding into town. Such is the setup of Joe Hart’s excellent thriller, The River is Dark, which is easily one of the best thrillers I have read in a long time. I find that books often fall into one of two categories. Great story-telling/plot + mediocre writing. Or the inverse—beautiful writing + a story that goes nowhere. If the plot is sexy enough, I’ll hang with it, but great writing absent a story is always a non-starter for me. Hart, thank God, has ALL the goods.First off, the man can write. Witness this beautiful passage that describes our hero waking up:“With a grunt he rolled over and slapped at the button, eventually silencing the screeching clock. He listened. The popping sound of the late-summer sun warming the floorboards of the old farmhouse kitchen, the jangle of the wind chimes on the front porch, a breeze pressing its breath against the old windows in the bedroom, a car passing on the highway and then gone.”The River is Dark is filled with such passages. Hart approaches every sentence with a precision and care that armors the entire piece with a welcome sturdiness. More than anyone else, Hart’s delicate touch with landscape and character (especially Dempsey) reminds me of the great James Lee Burke. And never is his command of language on more of a display than his utterly riveting action sequences. Hart can flat-out write action, and with prose that’s muscular and enthralling, that isn’t afraid to linger in the thrills and scares of the moment..But the great news for readers, is that Hart’s wordsmithing agility isn’t just an exercise. It’s all in the service of creating interesting, memorable characters and dropping them into a story you simply cannot put down.Dempsey, the protagonist, is a great character. His mysterious and tragic backstory looms over the narrative like an ax waiting to drop, and when it final does, the reveal is shattering.I won’t even risk spoiling what the plot points and all this story has to offer, but once Dempsey arrives in Tallston and begins to uncover the details of his brother’s brutal murder, a sense of dread and foreboding descends on every page.Be forewarned: this is a scary, scary book, and the final climatic scenes will leave you breathless. But if you love stories that get your pulse racing and dump adrenaline into your bloodstream, there is so much to love within these pages.

  • Kimberly
    2019-04-24 02:48

    Liam Dempsey, a former detective, is called to his estranged brother's town after learning that his brother and sister in law were the second couple brutally murdered in a short period of time.Liam's own life is in turmoil after a work incident leaves him wishing that he could end his own life--but the guilt renders him unable to allow himself such an escape. Going back to bury his older brother (who had hated him all of his life), Liam finds himself being asked by the town's sheriff to help solve the brutal murder/mutilations. Aided in part by an old flame (a cousin to Liam's sister in law), he embarks on a murder mystery that hits all too close to home.My only complaint was that--aside from the murders themselves--the story fit a little too neatly into a formulaic thriller/mystery novel, complete with the obligatory love-interest. The pacing was fast enough to sustain the story, but much of it was predictable, in my opinion.Still, a good, solid read, and I will definitely be reading more from Joe Hart in the future.*I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
    2019-05-19 01:14

    I enjoyed this thriller. It was fast-paced and kept me interested. The main character, a former detective, managed to avoid the usual clichés of the role: he was haunted by his past without being practically dysfunctional because of it, and he retained a sense of humor rather than turning into an incurable brooder.A lot of times I have issues with the way male authors write female love interests (or just female characters in general), but in this case the author managed to do it in a way that wasn't completely weird to me.(Last, there's clearly an epidemic with writers not knowing when to use "sank" or "sunk" or other words of that ilk. -____-)

  • ✨Susan✨
    2019-04-30 22:00

    Liam is an ex-detective who returns to his home town after his brother and his brothers wife are murdered in their home. Upon his arrival he and an old heartthrob, who has also come back to town for the funerals, start an investigation. The local sheriff enlists Liam's help to figure out who might be behind the murder of two separate couples in their homes, within a week of each other. The murders were of such a gruesome nature that they are immediately thought to be of a personal nature. The only survivor is a little boy who right before he slips into a coma, says over and over that it was a monster. As they get further into the investigation, deep secrets are revealed and a conspiracy plot thickens. A good mystery with relatable characters, fast paced with good narration.

  • Jon Recluse
    2019-05-10 21:50

    Review pending

  • Thomas Strömquist
    2019-05-20 01:12

    I've agonized over this review for quite a while now and decided that it was time to bite the bullet. My decision was to go strictly with the Goodreads definition of rating and therefore this one gets one star from me; "did not like it" - this should be interpreted as "I did not like it" and says absolutely nothing (as always, but seems to merit pointing out sometimes) about how someone else might feel about it.(view spoiler)[The blurb tells about the main protagonist being dragged into the investigation as a suspect and that happens on extremely loose grounds; basically being related to a victim earns him the honor - and basically he counts himself as a suspect from the get go for the same (un)reasons. At the same time he's invited into said investigation as kind of a freelance investigator...(?) The tough ex-cop is also apparently damaged by some event that is hinted upon but not reveled for most of the book and this is done in a way that feels a lot like cheating; we get to know everything that goes through this guys head - except for what he thinks about most! Throwing in a very uninspired love story (because these stories are required to have one I guess) and the naive and ignorant reasoning of the hero (showing up as a sometimes bit awkward writing) brought my interest down. (hide spoiler)]Nothing singles this book out from a huge number like it I thought. I finished on account of it being so short, but I would not recommend it.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-27 21:54

    ****3.5 stars****

  • Mommacat
    2019-05-22 00:13

    THE RIVER IS DARK is a traditional murder mystery told from the point of view of Liam. His brother and sister-in-law have just been killed leaving his nephew hospitalized. Two weeks prior, their best friends were brutally murdered. Why is the killer singling these people out? Are the murders going to continue?When the town Sheriff gives Liam the go ahead to investigate on his own he finds out more than he ever expected about the small town doctor and his friends. Joe Hart keeps the secrets held close to the vest until near the very end with nary a clue for you, the armchair detective to deduce the answers in this dark thriller.The story is well written, well edited and boasts a cover by one of my favorite writers, Kealan Patrick Burke. It was time well spent reading this!I received an e-arc of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my review.

  • Kristin ❋extols death with luminescent brilliance❋
    2019-05-22 05:10

    I received an arc copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley!Quite predictable and the writing was a little clinical at times, particularly at the beginning, but overall, I really did enjoy it. Fast paced and kept me turning the pages as the story unfolded. The characters were well developed and likeable, particularly Liam, Dani, and of course Ashes. If you like thriller/mysteries, it's worth the read.

  • Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
    2019-05-07 01:14

    This was a good quick thriller. Joe Hart did a great job. Characters were detailed and the writing just grabbed your attention. Excellent!

  • Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
    2019-04-23 00:11

    This book is weird and thus this review will be weird. Probably. It's hard to describe this book... I know. I know. I said I'd never try another Hart book but I needed something -- ANYTHING -- to get the memory of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea out of my mind (still need to write a review for that but can you see me cringing?)Anyway!This book isn't bad on the surface and the idea isn't bad. I don't even mind the premise and, while the monsters are rather uninspired and this seems to be another 'protect nature or the monsters will eat you' cliche thing, I was willing to go with it.The problem comes from the execution of this idea/premise and the main character's actions in regard to that.To put it bluntly, this reads like uninspired Liam Neeson fanfiction written by a 5th grader who doesn't understand how police stuff work. Everything the character does (who is named Liam) is so bizarre and unwarranted, but this leans on this bizarre police fantasy he has going.So Liam's bro died badly and he comes down to talk to police... Only, the police pretty much say from the get-go that he's not a suspect. I think he spends a total of 10 minutes in the police station giving a statement. They continuously tell him he's not a suspect.Yet he keeps telling everyone, and keeps thinking to himself, that he is a suspect. There's even the (uninspired) romance and he says, numerous times, that 'he doesn't want her to go down with him in this stuff' (not sex, just get arrested I guess?) No one is following him. There's no suspicion at all. It's like 'Okei-Dokei hun' ... The sheriff tells him early on that he thinks his men are terrible and wants him (a not-police) to investigate, because that wouldn't be suspicious at all. So there seems like there should be suspicion, but there isn't any directed to him. The author just pretends there is. In his mind, apparently.Then he gets hurt by these killers (or maybe monsters) and he says to the girl 'I can't go to the hospital! They'll try to take me down' or 'this is too dangerous' and even after the police leave the hotel room (they spent 30 seconds telling him to stay away from the crime scenes -- which I feel was warranted), he's still all stoic and 'everyone's out to get me'.And then he also apparently does showy martial arts... Bleh! It's very much like how a kid would play at being a police officer trying to find the bad guy.

  • Kim
    2019-05-05 05:06

    Liam is called to a small town on the Mississippi River when he learns that his brother and his wife have been killed. He learns that another couple had been found in similar circumstances. Although he is feeling very low at the moment he is leading the investigation into his estranged brothers murder.A little boy holds the only clue- he’d made a terrified call saying that the monster was killing his parents. He is in a coma in the hospital.This is a very fast paced thriller- will Liam become the next victim? What will he discover about his brothers town and the small town politics. It keeps the pages turning in suspense wondering what secrets will be revealed and how they all connect to provide the answers to this killer’s motives. With an added love interest this book really holds your interest.My first Joe Hart book- but I will definitely add him to my list of authors to look out for.With many thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book.

  • Erin
    2019-05-12 03:07

    ARC for review. Liam Dempsey is a former cop (for all the normal former cop reasons) and he's feeling suicidal (for all the normal former cop reasons). When he hears about the murder of his estranged brother and his wife he feels obligated to go to the small town where his brother died and, naturally, becomes involved in the mystery.Overall this was a perfectly serviceable thriller, if a bit standard (the re-appearing love interest, the local cops who miss everything). It gets extra points for being a stand-alone and I'll take those points away in a second if this becomes a series. Note to authors: not everything needs to be a series.

  • Jool
    2019-05-06 04:03

    What a great read! The main protagonist, Liam Dempsey, is likeable, serious, realistic, and makes this a great book. All the characters are realistic. I plan to read book 2 in this series soon, and I know it will be engrossing and I will be unable to put it down, just like this one! Highly recommend.

  • Trish R.
    2019-04-25 23:14

    This was a pretty good murder mystery. It involved a retired detective who had a whole lot of baggage when he got a call that his brother and sister-in-law had been murdered. So, now he had more problems, including his desire to use his service revolver on himself. I really wasn’t crazy about reading that. That makes me think our hero isn’t wrapped to tightly. But, when he got to the town where his brother had lived he ran into the girl that he’d danced with ten years before at his brother’s wedding and that changed his attitude. It was also about a couple that had been murdered the week before and their 12 year old son had his arm cut off before he was rescued. And the boy, Eric, said it was a “monster” that’d done it. In the meantime, Liam met a homeless man and made the man, Nut, a deal that if he heard anything he would call Liam. Well, the info that he gave to Liam cost him a trip to jail and charged with the murders. Then the “monster” attacked Liam and he found out what Eric had meant. It was an exciting story and I really enjoyed it. AND it was a free read and free read with one awesome narrator. I’ve already gotten to next book and it’s also free. You can’t beat that.There isn’t any sex, just fade to black, and the F-bomb was used 27 times.As to the narration: What can I say. It was Eric G. Dove, who is totally wonderful. His voices and his emotions are spot-on.

  • Sandy
    2019-05-01 06:06

    3.5 stars"The monster is killing my parents". (Eek!)So Eric, a young boy hiding upstairs under a bed, tells the 911 operator while a horrific crime is committed in his home. Meanwhile, miles away, former police detective Liam Dempsey wakes up to another day where his first thought is whether or not to use the gun in his closet. He's interrupted by a phone call informing him his brother & sister in law have been murdered in their home outside a small town in Minnesota. He & Allen had a contentious relationship & haven't spoken in years.Upon arrival, he learns another couple were recently killed in a similar fashion. Only their son survived. The soon to retire Sheriff Barnes & a couple of BCA agents are strangely economical with information & Liam quickly decides to do his own snooping. Also in town is Dani Powell, cousin to Allen's wife & a former crush of Liam's. She insists on helping him investigate & as the body count rises, they have their hands full. The only other game in town is the prospective sale of an old mill to a big conglomerate & some of the locals are less than thrilled with their plans for land surrounding the area. Money secretly changes hands & the company just wants the murders & subsequent publicity to go away. This is a story about secrets, how they can never be buried deep enough & the damage inflicted when they inevitably surface. Liam has hidden from the events that led to him leaving the force. But they find him in his nightmares & he deals by sharing a solitary existence with alcohol & a loaded weapon. Allen's secret is a favour he did for friends, one that has literally risen from the grave to exact permanent revenge. Eric's parents had several secrets. They lived their lives confidant in the belief that the past was just that & look what happened to them. This is a tightly plotted thriller that begins as a murder mystery then soon slides into the realm of Creepy (definitely with a capital C). On the plus side, it's an atmospheric read, dark & brooding. There's an overall sense of menace & you can't help feeling if you could just turn the pages fast enough, you'd finally catch a glimpse of the evil presence always lurking on the periphery. Liam is a sympathetic "hero", a good man who made a terrible mistake & still feels the pain of being rejected by his big brother (who is a dick, by the way). His character is a mixture of smart but broken man & hurt little boy and you desperately want him to find a little joy in life, a reason to take the bullets out of his gun. On the minus side, some of the other characters are less well defined & stereotypical. The mayor is portrayed as a greedy, power hungry little man unburdened by decency. Dani comes off as bland & a tad too goody-2-shoes & thus commits the ultimate crime for a fictional character...she's boring. And when the murderers are revealed & their story told, you officially arrive at the outer limits of weird where credibility is stretched to the max. Liam & Dani's death defying final encounter with the killers plays out like a scene discarded from "Die Hard" for being too OTT.While I had some problems with peripheral characters & the beautifully wrapped ending, if the author wrote a sequel featuring the main character, I'd probably pick it up to see where life has taken him. And if his gun is still loaded.

  • Linda K. Melzer
    2019-04-27 06:17

    Excellent read! Hard to put down!I like Joe Hart's Liam Dempsey and I plan to read straight through to #2. There's enough gore and murder for every horror fan, without being over the edge for wusses like me. There is a delightful touch of romance and sex. The action is nonstop and I have to admit I didn't have a clue about the ending. Be sure to read it. You won't regret it!!

  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    2019-05-15 06:01

    The River Is Dark by Joe Hart is a highly recommended, fast paced thriller that will hold your attention right to the end.The opening scene is of a frightened young boy trying to escape from a murderer. Then the action focuses on Liam Dempsey. Liam has just learned that his brother, Allen, and sister-in-law, Suzie, have been brutally murdered in the small town of Tollston, Minnesota where his physician brother had his medical practice. What he doesn't know until he arrives in Tollston is that another couple, who just happened to be best friends of his brother, was murdered that same week. A young boy has survived, but is in a coma.The homeless man called Nut told Liam, “Wasn’t two weeks ago Jerry and Karen Shevlin were found the same way as the ones last night. Their boy was luckier, but not by much. Lost an arm from the elbow down and hasn’t woke up yet. Poor little bugger, he can’t be more’n ten or eleven.”Liam set his cup down and turned to fully face the man. “You’re telling me there was a double murder here last week?”While law enforcement won't specifically say that the two murders are related, clearly they are - but there doesn't seem to be a sinister connection between the two couples that would give anyone a reason to murder them. Liam was previously a homicide detective for the Minneapolis police department, so he inserts himself into the investigation after he is questioned as a suspect. Liam also renews his acquaintance with Dani, a friend of his sister-in-law. Dani and Liam begin to work together, with some assistance from the local sheriff. From their investigation, Liam has good reasons to believe that more people might be in danger.The River Is Dark sets a furious pace and leaps along to the end. It is well written and a perfect choice for anyone looking for that fast-paced thriller with gory details and a plot that moves at break-neck speed to the end. While there aren't many rabbit trails and false leads to spread the action out, the conclusion is nicely done. Most readers will connect with Liam as a character and want him to succeed.This is a re-release of a previously published edition.Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Thomas & Mercer for review purposes.

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-19 22:09

    “The river is dark, and the night isn’t something to swim in.”I'm quite a fan of author Joe Hart. I've been on kind of a mini-readathon of some of his books and stories over the last few days. And this book is another fine example of WHY I'm spending my time doing this.Liam Dempsey used to be a homicide detective. Now he's just a broken man trying to deal with his nightmares. And things ramp up when he gets a phone call that his brother and his brother's wife have both been murdered.Dempsey heads to Tallston, Minnesota to take care of funeral arrangements (even though he and his brother had not been close) and to also see if he can figure out what happened. In the process he tangles with the Sheriff, the Mayor, a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent and more. He finds out this wasn't the first murder recently in Tallston and then his investigative antenna really start twitching.Hart is a master at character development and also at setting scenes. I could easily imagine the people in this story and could almost feel the mosquitoes biting and the heavy blanket of humidity along the Mississippi river near Tallston as Dempsey does his best to solve these crimes.I'm now off to read the second Liam Dempsey book THE NIGHT IS DEEP. If you enjoy imperfect detectives and twisty mysteries, you should try out this book.

  • Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
    2019-04-23 01:07

    Disclaimer: This ARC was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.Rating: 3.5This was a quick read, once I really started to read it. I finished it within two hours, so if you have an afternoon to read (think rainy or snowy, with hot beverage of choice) this would be perfect.There was a love story, but it was mostly insta-love, though they apparently knew each other before in backstory. I didn't really get a feel for their romance, and it felt forced, but I didn't really focus on it. I was more focused on the murder mystery. There is enough action to focus on, instead of the forced pairing.I didn't mind the main character, he was flawed, but not completely to the point of unlikeable. The actual storyline verged on unrealistic, but I was able to suspend my disbelief while reading. I actually felt bad for Peter. I mean, it's not his fault what his parents did to him, and how he was raised afterwards. I can picture a life where he had proper medical care and actually raised properly I think he would have been okay. To not get into a nature vs nurture debate, I think both nature and nurture influence a person (to simplify it). There wasn't much substance or depth to this novel, but it didn't need it, and it was just a fun read, and nothing too serious. At least for me.

  • Steven Montano
    2019-05-10 04:53

    I'm embarrassed to admit that prior to now I hadn't read any of Joe's work. I'm proud to say that after reading "The River is Dark", I'll be reading it again.Liam is a former cop haunted by recent trauma. Drawn home by the brutal murder of his brother's family, Liam is soon embroiled in a dire small town mystery as he tries to track down a crazed killer before he strikes again.Joe does a terrific job of taking familiar elements of the mystery/thriller and infusing them with new life, and on those rare occasions when the pacing lags the characters are so well-drawn and likable that the reader is likely not to care. Liam, in particular, is extremely well drawn, and the mysterious circumstances regarding his past are nicely handled.That being said, it's not a perfect book. The "killer reveals all" segment near the end felt a little overlong (but, to be fair, that's often the case with mystery/thrillers), and the level of gore a) make clear Joe normally writes horror and b) is largely unnecessary. Are those problems enough for me to mark it down from a 5-star ranking? Hell no.Read this book. It's gripping, it's exciting, it's scary, and it'll make you want more.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-09 22:58

    Ah, so my love affair with this author's work continues. And while I didn't love this one quite as much as Widow Town, it was still really, really good.Ex-detective Liam Dempsey is called to a sleepy Mississippi River town after his estranged brother and his sister-in-law are brutally murdered. This is the second such attack in a short amount of time. Another couple (who were friends of Liam's brother) were also brutally killed, and their small son attacked and seriously injured.Just why were the two couples attacked, and is there any connection to a huge development project that's being planned? Or is it something else altogether?Liam, an ex-cop with a tragic past, is unofficially drawn into the investigation, aided by a woman named Dani, who was related to Liam's sister-in-law.This book, like Widow Town, read more to me like a traditional crime/thriller/mystery, but with horror elements. It's definitely gory and graphic and creepy, so if that's not your cuppa, you may wish to avoid this one. It's a very fast read, one that jumps right into the action from the very first, and doesn't really let up until the end.

  • Jack
    2019-04-28 21:51

    LIam Dempsey, a former police detective, finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the (extremely) brutal murders of three people and the "regular" murder of one more person. How many more will die, and what does this have to do with Colton, Inc.? The answers are worse than you can imagine.This is quite different from the YA literature I've been reading. The River is Dark is, well, dark. And brutal, unforgiving, yet with a small element of badly needed redemption.Very well written, the author grabs you by the prologue (which you should definitely read, even if it's the [second] most harrowing part of the book), and he doesn't let you go until the final period. The wording is rich, and I am grateful for Kindle's lookup feature. The characters are well drawn, and the story is well structured. The plot details come though at just the right moment, heightening the suspense and raising the reader's anxiety to a fever pitch in some harrowing passages.I highly recommend this book, especially if you like slight horror and great suspense.