“Our lives and the lives of those we love merge to create a river whose current carries us forward from our beginning to our end. Because we are only one part of the whole, the river each of us remembers is different, and there are many versions of the stories we tell about our past.”–William Kent Krueger, The River We Remember.
William Kent Krueger has done it again with The River We Remember, a captivating mystery set in the heart of small-town Minnesota. Set on Memorial Day 1958, the story opens with the discovery of the half-clothed body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. His death sparks a complex and engrossing investigation led by Sheriff Brody Dern; a highly decorated war hero haunted by his past.
Even before Dern gets the autopsy results, rumors implicate Noah Bluestone, a Native American war veteran burdened by prejudice and his marriage to a Japanese survivor of Nagasaki. The sheriff struggles to determine whether it was an accident, suicide, or murder, and to calm the townspeople.
As always, the author’s portrayal of the characters and the world they inhabit immerses the reader. From the newspaper publisher to the war widow and Quinn’s second wife, each character is crafted with intricate backstories that add depth and richness to the narrative. The novel is not just a mystery but a masterful portrait of mid-century American life, capturing the essence of a bygone era with authenticity and detail.
In The River We Remember, William Kent Krueger has crafted a spellbinding mystery that combines the lingering scars of war and the complexities of small-town life. While the multitude of characters and subplots may require some effort to keep track of, the payoff is well worth it. It is an interesting read that combines the allure of a small-town mystery with profound insights into human nature. Whether you’re a fan of Krueger’s previous books like I am or a newcomer to his writing, this novel is sure to please. His latest novel is a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Mystery & Thriller (2023), so I’m not the only reader who thinks his work is fabulous. 5 stars.
** Many thanks to the publisher for a complimentary digital copy of this book. The opinions are my own.