After reading the publisher’s summary, I thought Long Bright River by Liz Moore would be a police thriller. While there is an element of suspense, it is more of a family saga with great detail given to relationships and family dynamics.
The novel is narrated by a police officer and single mother, Mickey Fitzpatrick. Mickey is a patrol officer in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, which has been hard hit by the opioid crisis. There is a series of murders targeting prostitutes in the area. Mickey is very worried because her once beloved sister, Kasey, is a known drug addict and prostitute. No one has seen Kasey in over a month, so Mickey begins searching for her. In doing so, Mickey puts her own life, her son’s life, and her job in jeopardy.
The opioid crisis is a very gritty subject matter. The characters are presented with care and compassion in a non-judgmental way. Mickey and Kasey’s mother died of an overdose when they were small children. Their father disappeared from the picture not long after. Their unaffectionate, crusty grandmother raised them. Education, especially higher education, was not valued. Mickey and Kasey had been very close but grew apart in high school when Kasey started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Mickey wants to raise her son Thomas in a different environment. She is no longer involved with Thomas’ father and struggles to find sitters for Thomas while she works her beat. It is the dysfunctional family relationships that drew me into the story and not the “suspense” of finding Kasey or the serial killer.
4-stars. I would call this a long book at 492 pages and the Audible book that I listened to was 13 hours and 19 minutes long.