So Cold the River by Michael Koryta

One thrown punch was all that was needed to end Eric Shaw’s bright future as a filmmaker in L.A.  Realizing that his career in Hollywood was over, he moved to Chicago and settled for a new livelihood creating family videos.  His knack for choosing images that truly capture the essence of his subject leads to a generous financial offer to travel to the resort town of West Baden, Indiana.  Shaw’s wealthy client wants to know more about her secretive father-in-law’s ties to the place.  The only leads Shaw possesses are the name of the town and a bottle of old mineral water that the enigmatic gentleman kept for years – an unnaturally cool bottle of murky water that gets colder the closer Shaw gets to West Baden.
I love a book that strikes just the right balance between spooky and terrifying – So Cold the River is definitely spooky but I didn’t have to sleep with the lights on.  Koryta’s characters are haunted first by directions their lives have taken, and then by a quite real, quite malicious ghost with a score to settle.  The build-up is slow but deliciously atmospheric; the pace quickens once the spirit finds an ally in its quest for vengeance.
I really enjoyed this book, as much for its glimpse into the genuine history of the West Baden/French Lick area, as for its excellently drawn characters and its overall spooky feel.  The hotels mentioned in the book are real – check them out online at West Baden Springs Hotel and French Lick Springs Hotel.  I am curious to visit them myself but I may skip drinking the water!

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    April said,

    So glad you liked it! I have another one of his waiting on my shelf.

  2. 3

    […] you liked Michael Koryta’s So Cold the River, give this a try and let me know what you […]

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