LONG BRIGHT RIVER by Liz Moore
Riverhead, January 2020
Long Bright River may be nearly 500 pages, but it reads as though it’s half the length, even though (paradoxically?) I wouldn’t describe it as a page-turner. It’s definitely a slow-burner, and it takes its time setting the stage for its central mystery, instead focusing brilliantly on establishing the setting and the atmosphere of some of Philadelphia’s poorer neighborhoods; but there’s something so engrossing about it from the onset that it’s hard to put it down.
What drew me to Long Bright River, aside from my fondness for thrillers, is the focus on the opioid crisis, and this Moore handled spectacularly. First off, if you haven’t read Dopesick by Beth Macy, what are you waiting for; second of all, I’m always so drawn to books which humanize drug addicts and treat their stories with respect and sensitivity (recommendations welcome!); Moore achieves this while also keeping up the momentum of the narrative.
Moore’s prose is another strength; this is the first novel of hers that I’ve read, but I’m definitely more likely to pick up something off her backlist now. This book’s one failing for me is something that I find myself frequently lamenting in thrillers; a too-quick denouement and a too-neat resolution of character arcs. But still, my opinion of Long Bright River is mostly favorable, and I think it’s very deserving of all the hype.
You can pick up a copy of Long Bright River here on Book Depository.