In 1958, a small Minnesota town is rocked by the murder of its most powerful citizen, pouring fresh fuel on old grievances in this dazzling standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the “expansive, atmospheric American saga” (Entertainment Weekly) This Tender Land.
On Memorial Day, as the people of Jewel, Minnesota gather to remember and honor the sacrifice of so many sons in the wars of the past, the half-clothed body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. Investigation of the murder falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a highly decorated war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service. Even before Dern has the results of the autopsy, vicious rumors begin to circulate that the killer must be Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran who has recently returned to Jewel with a Japanese wife. As suspicions and accusations mount and the town teeters on the edge of more violence, Dern struggles not only to find the truth of Quinn’s murder but also put to rest the demons from his own past.
Caught up in the torrent of anger that sweeps through Jewel are a war widow and her adolescent son, the intrepid publisher of the local newspaper, an aging deputy, and a crusading female lawyer, all of whom struggle with their own tragic histories and harbor secrets that Quinn’s death threatens to expose.
Both a complex, spellbinding mystery and a masterful portrait of midcentury American life from an author of novels “as big-hearted as they come” (Parade), The River We Remember is an unflinching look at the wounds left by the wars we fight abroad and at home, a moving exploration of the ways in which we seek to heal, and a testament to the enduring power of the stories we tell about the places we call home.
Bestseller Krueger (the Cork O'Connor series) delivers a patient, character-driven standalone mystery set in the tight-knit community of Jewel, Minn. On Memorial Day 1958, county sheriff Brody Dern arrives at the banks of the Alabaster River to examine the corpse of James Patrick Quinn, Jewel's wealthiest and most despised resident. Quinn was blasted in the torso with a shotgun and the river's aggressive channel catfish have wasted no time making a meal of his flesh. While the cause of his death is clear, the circumstances are not: was it an accident, suicide, or murder? Small-town gossip has pinned the blame on "no-good" Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran, but Dern isn't convinced, and he sets out to find the truth while attempting to soothe an angry and frightened public. Krueger uses the mystery of Quinn's death to set the tale in motion, but it's merely a jumping-off point to examine "the cantankerous, laconic, bigoted, gentle-hearted, fearful, sheltered, accepting, broken" citizens of Jewel, including a newspaper publisher, a war widow, a female lawyer, and Quinn's second wife. Each is painstakingly drawn, but their intricate backstories sometimes slow the pace too much. Though Krueger's fans will appreciate his empathetic portrait of a small town in distress, readers hoping for a vigorous investigation may be disappointed.
The River We Remember
Great characters. Thought provoking. We’ll written. Author is one of my favorites.
Another great read by Krueger
Loved this book!
What a great book!
So much to take in and feel. Very full dimensional characters to love, pity, mourn, despise, loathe……..
Heartbreaking and heartwarming with a touch of Mayberry sweetness