Down River

  • by John Hart
  • Narrated by Scott Sowers
  • 12 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Adam Chase has spent the last five years in New York City trying to erase his worst memories and the scorn and abandonment of his family. Then a phone call from his best friend awakens in him a torrent of emotion and pain. Having left North Carolina and its red soil for good, he never thought returning would be easy, and being remembered as a murderer doesn't help much. Within this small Southern town, John Hart explores the lengths to which people will go for money, family, and pure greed - and whether or not forgiveness is ever attainable.

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What the Critics Say

"Richly atmospheric....This book should settle once and for all the question of whether thrillers and mysteries can also be literature." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

"We have to talk" - - - -

If I heard that phrase once, I heard it 50 times in this book. Based on the (mostly) glowing reviews, I really thought I was in for a treat- but it lost me about a third of the way through.

I want to give other's a true impression of what I got out of this book--even though I appear to me in the minority side of the isle so far.

Yes, it's a decent story with a lot of characters and situations- but it does seem the book would have been better if some of the situations were developed further, and given us a more in depth feel for the people. As some other's have said --I really never came to care about any of them.

Far from all of the characters being "strong southern men and women"- most of them were weak, cowardly, bullies, and liars. Secrets and personal motivations come out almost as afterthoughts.

The main character, Adam, is a decent person who wants to do the right thing, but he just didn't ring true to me. His love interest, Robin (a local cop) comes across as flighty and unstable. How many times was she going to lead Adam along to gain information from him for the police investigation --and then say "gee I'm sorry- but I'm a cop first. He forgives her, and then it goes on to happen again (much like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.)

One last thing- did anyone think they were listening to a poor imitation of Will Patton reading a James Lee Burke novel? At times I got the impression that Hart had tried to copy Burke's natural grasp of meaningful prose-- or may it was just me.

Hart is a relatively new author, and I admit this is the first book I have listened to by him. I'm not sure I will give another one a try or not--certainly a lot of people seem to enjoy him.

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- Jacqueline

Major disappointment

Down River is a finalist in my personal "World's Dumbest Book" compeitition. There is not one believeable character in it, the plot is little more than an amalgamation of obvious misdirections from the author. Just pick the least likely outcome in every situation and you will know what will happen next. The narrator runs around the book bossing everyone around and beating people up, making dopey choices that are positioned as coming from some saintly moral high ground. Amazingly, all the characters generally follow his orders as he pursues his ridiculous "investigation" untils it lands on its deliberately unlikely conclusion. I'd have to ruin the plot for you to shoot this book up any further. Just thought my fellow audible friends needed a little counterpoint to the inexplicable pile of 5 star reviews this stinker has gotten.

Narrator is fine.
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- garyyac

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-14-2007
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio