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So Cold the River Audiobook

So Cold the River

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Audible Editor Reviews

Brooding, grainy-voiced Shakespearean stage actor Robert Petkoff narrates So Cold the River, mystery novelist Michael Koryta's icy, supernatural ghost story set in a rural Indiana town built on Pluto Water, a bottled mineral laxative of the early 1900s rumored to cure headaches, indigestion, even alcoholism. Petkoff haunts as cynical, broken Eric Shaw, a failed Hollywood documentary filmmaker who slumps home to Chicago, gets dumped by wife Claire, and starts stringing together freelance photo chronicles for weddings and funerals: "Video life portraits, that's what he called them, an attempt to lend some credibility to what was essentially a glorified slide show." Oh, and Eric also connects with dead peoples' personal belongings.

Evil snarls from the grave when grieving Alyssa Bradford hires Eric to shoot an homage to her secretive, dying 95-year-old billionaire father-in-law, Campbell. First assignment - capturing Campbell's humble roots near sparsely populated French Lick, Indiana, where Eric lodges at the improbably located luxury West Baden Springs Hotel (a real registered national historic landmark). But not even its soaring atrium dome can shade him from the rotten-egg stench of sulfur. As Eric keeps digging, an 80-year-old bottle of Pluto Water from Campbell's collection frosts, turning murky, while weather patterns predict a violent storm. He takes a sip of Pluto, and the hallucinations spin - shadows in rumpled suits, railroad trains, and violin strains pouring from a piano. At least Claire believes him.

Petkoff softens Eric with undercurrents of grit and exhaustion, so even when he's hysterical with foreshadowing, he's still grounded. The character of Anne McKinney, octogenarian widow and de facto Pluto historian, studies barometric pressure. Fittingly, her voice guides the book's emotional climate. Practical yet nostalgic, Anne nurses a daily gin and tonic at the local bar. Petkoff recognizes she's a creature of habit and tracks her quirky moods with the same steady hum. Eventually the rituals of her chuckles and her leisurely breaks and pauses stop making a difference as the past fades the present into black. - Nita Rao

Publisher's Summary

It started with a documentary.

The beautiful Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to unearth the life story of her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose childhood is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job, even though the only clues to Bradford's past are his hometown and an antique water bottle he's kept his entire life.

In Bradford's hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary past - a glorious domed hotel where movie stars, presidents, athletes, and mobsters once intermingled. Long derelict, the hotel has just been restored to its former grandeur.

But something else has been restored, too - a long-forgotten evil that will stop at nothing to settle a decades-old score. And with every move, Eric inches closer to the center of the building storm.

©2010 Michael Koryta (P)2010 Hachette

What the Critics Say

"A cataclysmic finale will put readers in mind of some of the best recent works of supernatural horror, among which this book ranks." (Publishers Weekly)

"This book builds like a summer storm. Beautiful to watch until it shakes the house and knocks out the lights, leaving you alone in the dark. Another masterful work from Michael Koryta, So Cold the River is guaranteed to put the cold finger down your spine." (Michael Connelly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (553 )
5 star
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3.8 (327 )
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4.2 (326 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 12-05-15
    Wayne Matthews, NC 12-05-15 Member Since 2017

    I am a husband/dad/granddad who loves books. My reviews are my subjective opinions. My hope is they will help others make buying decisions.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good novel, but disappointing from Michael Koryta"

    I read an average of 200+ novel per year. Michael Koryta is easily the most talented young fiction writer in the US. All 11 of his novels are in my Audible Library. So Cold the River is a good novel which is well worth the time and an Audible credit, but it is disappointing coming from an author of Michael Koryta's calibre. Part of the my issue with the book is that it includes the supernatural as a vital part of the story. On the other hand The Cypress House, another Koryta novel, includes the supernatural and I gave it five stars.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 06-03-11
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 06-03-11 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

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    "Good ghost story"

    I enjoyed this book for what it is - a good ghost story. It's not quite the 5 star level that I have experienced with other Michael Koryta books, mainly because the main character was a little less appealing (although I have always liked that Koryta's characters are a bit flawed), and the the ending left a couple of things not very well explained - won't spoil by elaborating. Overall I liked the spookiness and I did like many of the characters as written, especially Ann - I was rooting for her all the way. It's not perfect, but it's worth the credit.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Venice, FL, United States 07-19-10
    Marie Venice, FL, United States 07-19-10 Member Since 2013
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    "A Good Mystery Read"

    This is a good summer read. You can do other things while listening. It was an interesting story, but never really thrilled me where I couldn't stop listening to it at anytime.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KathieB 07-10-10
    KathieB 07-10-10
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    "Wow, what a story!"

    I loved this book and could not stop listening. It has the right amount of character development to go along with a very original story. Production quality is terrific! Violin music and sound effects enhance the narration and add a subtile magical mood. Robert Petkoff is a skilled narrator with a pleasing voice. The whole listening experience in this audible book is much better than simply reading it yourself. Past and present are woven together through the haunting visions of the main character. Believe it or not, I was listening to the end of this book during a very loud thunder storm... The storm in the book echoed what what going on around me! I am looking forward to more from Michael Koryta! Don't forget to look up the violinist, Joshua Bell's music. It has such soul.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Hartford City, IN, USA 06-22-10
    Vicki Hartford City, IN, USA 06-22-10
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    "good book"

    I listened to this book to & from work and sometimes didn't want to get out of the car. Very intriguing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Bloomington, IN, USA 06-17-10
    Kelly Bloomington, IN, USA 06-17-10
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    "Creepy and wonderful"

    I have visited the West Baden Hotel many times. This book captures the mysterious, haunted feeling of the resort and then reimagines it in a way that I loved. Definitely worth a listen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liam Cincinnati, OH, United States 07-30-10
    Liam Cincinnati, OH, United States 07-30-10 Member Since 2015
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    "Incredible Production of an Amazing Book"

    Between audible and hard cover I read 5 or 6 books a month- this is with out a doubt one off the best books I have read in the past 3 or 4 years. The production quality (narration, cadence, etc) are absolutely flawless. The book is truly engaging yet creepy; Michael Koryta has been billed as the next "Stephen King"- this work far surpasses most King novels. The story is original and elegantly written; my only complaint is that there is little underlying meaning. This remains however an excellent "beach read". Savor it.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan 06-26-10
    Alan 06-26-10
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    "Terrific reader of a terrific book"

    This psychic cinematographer turned hallucinogenic detective story was a total treat. A burnt out ex-Hollywood film-maker Eric Shaw is down on his luck and back home in Chicago making slide-show movies for funeral/memorial tributes. He has a mostly un-tapped psychic instinct that draws rich society woman Alyssa Bradford to hire him to do a film about her mysterious father-in-law Campbell Bradford and her only clue is that he was from the resort towns of French Lick and West Baden in Indiana and she gives Shaw an antique bottle of the local mineral water called Pluto Water which has an unnatural ability to stay freezing cold at whatever outside temperature. When Shaw sneaks a drink and finds his instinctive psychic abilities enhanced into seeing characters who are no longer alive the story is kick-started and you cannot stop reading/listening to it. Narrator Robert Petkoff is just terrific at handling several character voices lending each of them a distinctive identifiable sound. Highly recommended!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina 06-13-17
    Tina 06-13-17
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    "Thank God it's over, this book was the worst!!!"

    ***Miner Spoiler Alert*** I really like Michael Koryta and have read just about all of his books, I saved this one for last fearing that it would not be as good as the others in my library, and boy was I right. This novel started out decent enough, but did not take long before I was shaking my head at the stupidity the Author was spewing out, I mean come on, this novel was nonsense and so far fetched it was laughable. By the end of the book, I didn't even care anymore, felt so frustrsted by the ignorance of the main character, it was just absurd, the whole premise and idea was silly. "If you don't carry my name and have my blood, I'll make you pay boy." So he changes his name and fills the bottle with his blood, carries it with him his whole life and the next 85 years are just wonderful, until the bottle gets opened and someone drinks the bloody water and all hell brakes loose, yeah right. So glad that its over!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sheila 11-27-16
    sheila 11-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "I liked it "

    Great story. told well. I enjoyed listening to the narrator. he distinguished a reconizable differents between each character, witch I like.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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