REVIEW: Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Mickey Fitzgerald is an officer on the streets in Kensington, Pennsylvania, where an opioid crisis is killing hundreds of people a year. The situation is hopeless, but Mickey can’t give up hope because her sister is one of the addicts.

It is heartbreaking to read the “Then” sections of this novel, which chronicle the sad and neglectful childhood that Michaela and Kacey had growing up after their mother died of a drug overdose. They live with a callous and cruel grandmother. Mickey is smart, shy and serious, and doesn’t fit in socially. Her younger sister defends her, but as Kacey falls in with the wrong crowd, the sisters drift apart and Mickey finds a mentor in a policeman she meets at a youth program.

 The “Now” sections of this book are terrifying—a serial killer is targeting prostitutes and Mickey is afraid that one of the victims will be her sister, who has been missing for weeks.

 “I wonder, as always, whether I’ll know the woman: whether she’ll be someone I recognize from picking her up, or from driving past her, over and over, on the street. And then, before I can stop it, the familiar chant returns: Or Kacey. Or Kacey. Or Kacey.”

 I love Liz Moore’s writing. This book is suspenseful and engaging, and I felt a strong connection to the characters, even with their many flaws. This is the type of story that could easily fall into the melodramatic, but it never felt like that for me. It was exciting—I did not want to put it down.

 Triggers: drug addiction, child neglect, sexual predators

Long Bright River
Liz Moore
Published January 7th, 2020 by Riverhead Books
482 pages



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