This Bright River

Patrick Somerville, Author
Patrick Somerville. Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, $24.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-316-12931-2
Paperback - 449 pages - 978-0-316-12930-5
Book - 978-1-61969-441-5
Hardcover - 250 pages - 978-0-316-20307-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-20306-7
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The ambitious, stylish second novel from Somerville (after The Cradle) is set in the fictitious small town of St. Helens, Wis., and along the Bright River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Ben Hanson, 32, is back home after his release from a white-collar, “pansy” prison near Portland, Ore., where he served a 14-month sentence for arson. Recovering from heroin and alcohol addiction, he reconciles with his affluent parents and older sister, Haley, and reconnects with a high school friend, Lauren Sheehan, a troubled divorcée and doctor recently returned to St. Helens. The emotionally damaged pair fall in love; Ben tries to solve his cousin Wayne’s mysterious death at the family cabin in Michigan; and Lauren fends off Dr. Will Besco, her wildly possessive ex, who has recently remarried. The ample use of backstory paints Will as an abusive husband, and Wayne as an impulsive addict, both things complicating the quests being undertaken together by Ben and Lauren. Things escalate to a violent climax, and a somewhat rambling wrapup finally reveals all the Hanson family’s dark secrets. Agent: Brettne Bloom, Kneerim & Williams. (June)
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