So Cold the River by Michael Koryta -

So Cold the River by Michael Koryta


My Review

The main protagonist a film maker needs to define and separate visions and dreams with reality. For a living, while not working on a movie, he made tribute videos, wedding videos etc for private clients and some malevolent insidious presence seems to call him to a little job of putting together a tribute video for a dying man. It may be a project that could hold some meaning and he would like doing, but as the skeletons in the cupboard come out it’s a job he will possibly regret. He needs to visit a town to do research and piece together the past, he is being paid a nice sum for the job. There are others also doing their research, a graduate documenting the history of black people in the area, and a storm hunter seeking out extreme climates. These people, he crosses paths with, will be important to his research. There’s talk of a wonder juice or really a wonder water, Pluto water. Taste at your peril! Once tasted he finds himself asking many questions on it’s origin and it’s real influence. The dark past of this land will once more be relived with a harrowing and nightmarish potency.Will there be more blood in this historical and creepy locale.

Koryta has crafted another great story with supernatural elements. He has yet again cleverly knitted into the framework of a modern setting a haunting dark page from history with great atmospheric presence. Entertaining and hypnotic reading.

“The town where he was born, and where I want to send you, is in southern Indiana, a truly odd place, and beautiful. Have you ever heard of French Lick?”

  “Larry Bird, “he said, and she laughed and nodded.

“That’s the general response, but at on point it was one of the great resorts in the world. There are two towns there, actually, West Baden and French Lick, side by side, and they each have a hotel that will take your breath away. Particularly the one in West Baden. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and yet it’s built out in the middle of nowhere, this tiny town in farm country.”


“Crazy, a voice whispered in Eric’s mind, you’re going insane. Truly, literally out of your mind. Seeing things that aren’t there is one thing, but you had a conversation that wasn’t there, buddy. That’s the sort of thing that only happens to-“


“It’s strange,’ she said eventually. “Don’t you think it’s strange? The way it stays cold, the way it…I don’t know, feels. There’s something off about it. And it is the only thing-and I mean the only thing-that he had from childhood. My husband told me that he kept it in a locked drawer in his bedside table, and said the bottle was a souvenir from his childhood and that no one was allowed to touch it. As you can see, it meant a lot to him for some reason. That’s why I’m so curious.”


“They passed cattle farms and a group of Amish men working beside a barn. The countryside here was rolling as if tossed by an unseen ocean, no flat fields as there were in Illinois and the northern half of Indiana. The terrain here was closer to what you’d find on the south side of the Ohio River, where Kentucky’s rolling bluegrass fields edged into foothills and then became mountains.”

The real West Baden hotel history >>

New Interview>>>>


Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 21 July 2012

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