Lethbridge Herald

Novel features clever plot, intriguing characters

‘Long Bright River’ an intense family thriller


also deals with the police department’s sexism and office politics. Her younger sister Kacey has succumbed to opioid addition, working occasional­ly as a prostitute. Often, Mickey has had to arrest Kacey, adding to the sisters’ animosity.

In their own way, the sisters still care about each other. Mickey knows about Kacey’s activities from the local merchants and street people. Mickey’s concerns kick into high gear when Kacey disappears in the wake of several murders of other young women in Kensington. Mickey uses her training as a beat cop to try to find the killer, fearing that Kacey may already be a victim.

Moore skillfully explores the sisters’ bond from their closeness during their toxic upbringing to the decay of their relationsh­ip that seems almost irreparabl­e. The chapters “Then” and “Now” alternate from their childhood and young adult years to the present. Their mother died of a drug overdose, and drugs eventually claimed their father. They lived with their maternal grandmothe­r, who, at best, was unloving and often given to bouts of mental and verbal cruelty.

Moore delves deeply to illustrate how the sisters’ lives parallel what is happening in the neighbourh­ood and how it is trying to rise above the morass that surrounds it. As the main narrator, Mickey quickly emerges as an effective, appealing character determined to do better by her child and to succeed in life. The sweet scenes of Mickey with her son contrast to the street life that she witnesses daily. She has based her life on “decisions, not chance.” Her intense need for privacy also has made her stubborn about how she reacts to others and causes her to make mistakes. Although she takes risks, her intense intelligen­ce and knowledge about how quickly a person can be dragged down by the street elevate her. Her determinat­ion to succeed as a cop is often in conflict with her naivete about office politics.

The clever plot and involving characters of “Long Bright River” set a high standard for this new year.

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