THE RIVER SORROW by Craig Holden


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 A page-turning romp with the old standbys: murder, drug addiction, corrupt DEA agents, honest local cops, a lost love, a frame-up, and old-fashioned revenge. Holden fills this debut with enough plot twists to leave your head spinning--just don't look too close, or the whole thing becomes unbelievable. Dr. Adrian Lancaster works the Emergency Room at Morgantown Community General Hospital. Morgantown, a small city 90 miles west of Detroit, was ``solid blue-collar prosperous'' when Lancaster lived there as a child. Then Lancaster left for medical school and a residency in rough-and-tumble Detroit, where he developed ``grief-proof latex skin and a heart of hospital stainless steel'' as well as a major drug dependency, which he shared with his biochemist girlfriend. After he was caught pocketing morphine on the job, he did some time and got clean in rehab. When the love-of-his-life girlfriend didn't get help and died, he realized it was time to become human again and moved back to Morgantown, where the pace is slower and less gruesome. But everything changes when people start getting murdered around town. Each victim shows traces of a strange tan powder (which turns out to be a potent heroin synthetic called Fang that Lancaster's dead girlfriend developed years ago in Detroit). The police begin to suspect the good doctor himself. But Lancaster's being framed, and when he can't figure out why, he returns to the drug-using underworld to find out, confident he can quit using later when he doesn't need it anymore. He gets help pursuing the bad guys from a decent local cop, who has a gut feeling Lancaster's innocent, and from a sweet young addict named Storm, who was a good friend to one of the victims. Predictably, the cop exposes a major federal cover-up and Storm proves less innocent than she appears. A mover, if not a shaker. (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-31207-5
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1994


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