A gritty cop tale with an up-close-and-personal look at Philadelphia's opioid crisis and the lives it's destroying.
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Why I love it
Unpopular opinion—I usually stay away from crime novels or thrillers because I like a happy mind-vacation when I read. However, when I sat down to tackle Liz Moore’s latest, Long Bright River, I realized that this book is the intersection of everything I love to read—a family saga with complex female characters, twists that you never see coming, and it’s equal parts heartfelt and suspenseful. It was like watching The Wire, reimagined by Tana French.
Mickey, a single mother and a cop, patrols the narcotics-filled streets of Kensington, partially in an effort to watch over her younger sister, Kacey, who is an addict. When Kacey goes missing, right around the time a string of sex workers turn up murdered, Mickey must use everything she’s learned about addiction and the drug trade to try to find her sister.
It took me longer to write this review than it did to read all 480 pages of Long Bright River, because I agonized over how to adequately describe and do it justice. You’re just going to have to trust me on this—you will not be able to put this book down. A fast-paced and visceral exploration of how we deal with our inner demons, this story about the lengths we will go to protect our loved ones will keep you hooked until the very last page.
In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don't speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.
Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey's district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit—and her sister—before it's too late.
Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters' childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.