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Broken River

by J. Robert Lennon

Book Club Recommendations Books of the Month Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Crime / Mystery eBooks of the Month Family Drama Spine-Chilling Fiction Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading View on Broken River

January 2018 Book of the Month
A masterclass in suspense awaits the reader in this almost understated, yet powerfully intense and dark novel. A family needing a fresh start move into a house where an unsolved double murder occurred twelve years previously, their actions set in motion an alarming chain of events. The first chapter was sharply powerful, yet almost dispassionately described by an observer, allowing me to bear witness, to remain on the edge. The characters are fascinating, each nudging feelings and thoughts in different directions as the various points of view created small time warps, as deception altered the vivid picture in my mind. J. Robert Lennon sets small seemingly inconsequential moments spinning together to create a throbbing tension which breaks with dramatic energy. Broken River is an intelligent, entirely captivating read with a hint of the uncanny skating over the pages - highly recommended.

Liz Robinson

Broken River Synopsis

Following a string of affairs, Karl and Eleanor are giving their marriage one last shot: they're moving with their twelve-year-old daughter Irina from Brooklyn to a newly renovated, apparently charming old house near the upstate New York town of Broken River. Before their arrival, the house stood empty for over a decade. The reason is no secret. Twelve years previously, a brutal double murder took place there, a young couple killed in front of their child. The crime was never solved, and most locals consider the house cursed. The family may have left the deceptions of their city life behind them, but all three are still lying to each other, and to themselves. Before long the family's duplicity will unleash forces none of them could possibly have anticipated, putting them in mortal danger.

This new novel by America's master of literary rule-breaking is part thriller, part family drama, part Gothic horror - and like all J.Robert Lennon's novels, it shows the consequences of human deceitfulness, and the dreadful force the past can exert on the present.

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Broken River Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

Compelling, tightly written and with a well-crafted plot, this is a genre-defying book which will engage readers of literary fiction and thrillers alike. Full review

Ann Alderton

A chilling, somewhat intriguing book - is it a thriller, ghost story or drama? The reader is given the facts and then the story is played out under the watchful eye of the mysterious observer. Full review

Sarah Musk

Atmospheric and thought provoking, this story examines the damage people do to each other and the unforeseen consequences. A compelling read for a winter's night. Full review

Evelyn Barrett

I found myself being slowly but surely drawn into this, at times, bleak tale. Full review

Alfred Nobile

It is beautifully written and I found myself wishing the inhabitants of ‘Broken River’ a chance to bathe in calm shallows sometimes. Full review

Carina Barnett

This is so compelling that the plot weaves its way along almost without you noticing. But not quite. Lovers of quirky unusual books this is for you! Full review

Rachel Aygin

An interesting read. Full review

Angie Rhodes

An intriguing and oddly compelling dark novel, which does not conform to the expectations of what a thriller should be. Well worth a read. Full review

Rachael Anderson

Mystery tale with lying family members. The plot is straightforward, the description of the family informative and the story that will linger after finishing the read. Full review

Alan Brown

I expected a gothic horror, and received a bog standard crime thriller. Full review

Emma Barton

A very cleverly and quirkily written novel. Full review

Vanessa Wild

A superb book that I couldn't put down. Full review

Rachel Bridgeman

I enjoy the way characters were introduced and slowly their links to others was exposed. Full review

Neil Beatie

A novel with promise but sadly did not reach its potential. Full review

Glynis Elliott

Broken River Press Reviews

Compelling from the first page, and then smart, sophisticated, suspenseful and satisfying throughout -- Broken River is a first-class ride. -- Lee Child

J. Robert Lennon is a connoisseur of calamity, qualms and paradox, all of which are on profuse display in his crafty, seductive eighth novel, Broken River... Broken River is a remarkable performance, a magic trick that makes you laugh at its audacity. Lennon has written a realistic novel with vivid characters and flashes of humour and an evocative mood... when you close a novel as good as Broken River, something, not quite a ghost, may follow you. -- Terrence Rafferty  New York Times 

A cracker of a novel - sharp, dark and suspenseful -- Hephzibah Anderson  Mail on Sunday

What prevents Broken River from being classified as simply a horror or crime story are Lennon's linguistic energy and dark humour ... it's a rare book that manages to bend genres so successfully - that thrills and frightens while evoking such insight into human failings and the lure of the past -- Zoe Apostolides  Financial Times

Fizzing with line-by-line propulsion and wickedly plotted with slow-burn complexity, this is a knockout, unmissable performance from a writer at the very top of his game.   Observer

Broken River is like a Coen brothers movie set in rural New England... Lennon has a lot of fun... and we do, too.  Sunday Times

A writer with enough electricity to light up the country. -- Ann Patchett

Hypnotic and unsettling, Broken River weaves a dark, compelling spell -- Mick Herron, author of Real Tigers

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781781257982
Publication date: 04/01/2018
Publisher: Serpent's Tail an imprint of Profile Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781781258002
Publication date: 01/06/2017
Publisher: Serpent's Tail an imprint of Profile Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781781257982
Publication date: 4th January 2018
Author: J. Robert Lennon
Publisher: Serpent's Tail an imprint of Profile Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 288 pages
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Crime / Mystery, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Spine-Chilling Fiction, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About J. Robert Lennon

J. Robert Lennon is the author of eight novels, including Familiar, Castle and Mailman, and two story collections, Pieces for the Left Hand and See You in Paradise. His fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Granta, Harper's, Playboy, and the New Yorker. He lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches writing at Cornell University.

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