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Down River: A Novel | [John Hart]

Down River: A Novel

Adam Chase has spent the last five years in New York City trying to erase his worst memories and the scorn and abandonment of his family. Then a phone call from his best friend awakens in him a torrent of emotion and pain. Having left North Carolina and its red soil for good, he never thought returning would be easy - and being remembered as a murderer doesn't help much.
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Publisher's Summary

Adam Chase has spent the last five years in New York City trying to erase his worst memories and the scorn and abandonment of his family. Then a phone call from his best friend awakens in him a torrent of emotion and pain. Having left North Carolina and its red soil for good, he never thought returning would be easy, and being remembered as a murderer doesn't help much. Within this small Southern town, John Hart explores the lengths to which people will go for money, family, and pure greed - and whether or not forgiveness is ever attainable.

©2007 John Hart; (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC

What the Critics Say

"Richly atmospheric....This book should settle once and for all the question of whether thrillers and mysteries can also be literature." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (625 )
5 star
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4.0 (300 )
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4.1 (306 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jeffery martinez, GA, USA 02-22-08
    Jeffery martinez, GA, USA 02-22-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    "Somewhat lacking"

    My difficulty was that I simply did not connect with the primary character, Adam Chase, enough to care about his situation. I appreciated how he was grappling with some of his family issues, but I never really found him overall that interesting. Nor did care too much about his predicament. Could be me. Other characters were drawn with fairly bold lines, not much nuance to any of them. I'm sure that was intentional, almost requisite for this plot to work. But again I failed to connect with any of them. So I did not feel much anticipation regarding the overall resolution of many of their conflicts. The plot was somewhat interesting but not gripping or demanding. The strength of the story was Adam's efforts at dealing with issues involving his mother and father and family. The author handles this very well and demonstrates a clear understanding of human nature and family motivations.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keren 06-18-08
    Keren 06-18-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Soap Opera"

    This book was disappointing. THe story is a soap opera w/ one dimensional characters who are emotionally and developmentally stunted. While the plot has some twists, the characters are absolutely predictable: of course they refuse to go to therapy, of course they resist legitimate pain medication, of course they drink too much (the men, of course), of course the males are emotionally bankrupt and of course the females are long-suffering and damaged. Some moments of lyrical writing - descriptions of place - have substance but the rest of the book is disappointing. Hope this author gets better.

    15 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilary Los Angeles, CA, USA 03-20-08
    Hilary Los Angeles, CA, USA 03-20-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Flat Characters"

    The Good: great narration.... Despite the fact that the book cornered characters into a restricted range of behavior- the narrator made the best of it. He was truly impressive and I believe I kept listening due to his prowess.
    The Bad: this morality tale hiding behind the guise of a mystery becomes tiresome. If the concepts of forgiveness, the psychology of cutting, or the sticky web of family had ever been truly scratched I would have been satisfied; however, to speak the name and think that you have given the subject due diligence is just a shame.
    The Ugly: how many times can a girlfriend lose her cool, slap her boyfriend, say "I'm sorry, but you left me" before you begin to yawn or at least reach for fast forward OR How many times can the angry young man act like THE ANGRY YOUNG MAN before you as the reader begin to say "okay leave" or "okay kill him" or "okay, but please go see a shrink?" Listening to this book was like wading to your ankles in the shallow end.

    14 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fritz Moraga, CA, United States 09-15-10
    Fritz Moraga, CA, United States 09-15-10 Member Since 2008

    No matter where you go, there you are.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Too Much Like a Soap Opera"

    I actually don't know what a soap opera is like, but I understand they are twisting, implausible fantasies that are designed to convince the housebound to purchase certain brands of laundry detergent. Vignette after vignette of startling betrayal, revelations of incest or bigamy or any number of other types of exaggerated nonsense is not my idea of "raising the genre of mystery to fine literature" as one hyperbolic reviewer was misguided enough to say.
    This book's choice as an Edgar winner has ruined the honor's credibility and certainly has Mr. Poe spinning in his grave.
    Pure tripe.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Amighi west chester, PA United States 07-06-08
    Janet Amighi west chester, PA United States 07-06-08 Member Since 2007

    janet

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Edgar winner not my taste"

    CLassic B movie kind of story. Plotting is relatively predictable, characters stock, and language is painful: "He pressed his lips against her and she said, I hate you I hate you."
    Yet this won best novel of 08 at the Edgars awards. So clearly some people liked it.

    8 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Val 03-27-08
    Val 03-27-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Down River"

    The plot is weak; characters are shallow; dialogue is trivial; and it's tiresome to listen to. Don't waste your time!

    9 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 07-23-14
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 07-23-14 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Worthwhile But Lacking"

    There is nothing to sway any real passion either way about this story. Adam was wronged with a murder trial but found innocent. The town apparently disagrees with that finding. He goes away but comes back. The twists and turns that follow are largely not believable. Or involves something that I don't care about. The explanation for why it all happened (and I won't spoil the ending) is the craziest of all. Truly good police work would have discovered some of it out. But apparently that is what this town was lacking, and that definitely includes Robin, Adam's lover.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel Raleigh, NC, United States 05-29-13
    Mel Raleigh, NC, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2011

    Baby Boomer in Raleigh NC. Faves include James Lee Burke, CJ Box, Baldacci, Flynn, Child, DeMille, Crais, Connolly, Thor, Coes, L'amour. Average two books/week.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Like Iles and DeMille"

    John Hart uses Salisbury NC like Greg Iles uses Natchez MS and Nelson Demille uses Long Island. He (Hart) is a modern day Faulkner in his understanding of the Southern family foibles and eccentricities. This is my second John Hart novel and I certainly will listen to the next two.

    The narrator fits the setting to my ear.

    Each Hart novel, although each set in the same small Southern town involves completely different sets of characters. I am somewhat familiar with Salisbury and find the circumstances quite believable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R POLLOCK PINES, CA, United States 05-15-13
    R POLLOCK PINES, CA, United States 05-15-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Find another Book."

    From the number of good reviews and the book being a Poe nominee I held a lot of hope. I found the initial premise interesting. As I listened on I found myself rolling my eyes with the vast number of clichés and catch phrases. The number of side plots became ridiculous and I had a strong suspicious of the true perpetrator by the second chapter (that’s not good). I carried on as the book had brief periods of a solid theme. Sadly, those periods were brief and distance. The overall theme has been seen on LMN (network) and I often thought oh, this part was on Law & Order and I’m sure this was or could be a plot on Dallas. It could easily be a soap/drama. If the author stuck with the initial theme, focused on 1 side plot and eliminated the catch phrases this could have been a book I would have reviewed as a good read.

    And the narrator sound liked Tootsie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer BROOKLYN, NY, United States 03-01-13
    jennifer BROOKLYN, NY, United States 03-01-13 Member Since 2011
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    "LAME"

    Garden-variety mystery with senseless characters who couldn't be more two-dimensional. A throwaway. I got this b/c I thought it would be a good car listen for a long trip but YUCK. So stupid. Couldn't get past the first couple of hours.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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