Book Review: Down River

Posted On: December 15, 2008
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Down River by John HartJohn Hart’s second novel follows his well-written debut, The King of Lies. It is a tale of family ties, betrayal, friendship and the human nature, neatly woven within mystery and suspense. When I first picked up the book, it read more like a literature piece such as the well-known To Kill a Mocking Bird. John Hart can truly spin a tale with descriptions and analogies that seem to lead the reader deeper into the story.

What can a man do when faced with ghosts of his past, that cannot be buried? How strong will you need to be when your own family and friends turn their backs on you, and cast you in shadows of doubt? Adam Chase was arrested to a murder he did not commit, but was eventually acquitted due to the jury’s inability to find a motive. The most damning evidences against him came in the form of his own stepmother’s testimonials. His life was hence changed, and he left the small town, only to return at the plea of his best friend.

The tale thus brought us through a torrent of events that collided in a final confrontation, that is both surprising and chilling. John Hart surprised me with his flair for engaging the reader, and forging a very strong main character who is not without human flaws. At times, you wonder if Adam Chase’s own failures will condemn him to greater dangers, and other times, you feel for his pain and predicament.

The descriptions of the forests and rivers seem to jump out of the pages and form imageries in my head, such that I could almost smell the vineyards, and taste the country air. This fine balance of literary art and well-paced storyline earns kudos. I highly recommend this excellent read, and John Hart has earned himself a pedestal among my list of highly-regarded authors.