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.
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Tragically sad, relatable, a mix of mystery, drama, and the every day. The characters of this novel were well developed and the way the story was told in the ‘then’ and ‘now’ added to my love of them.
I really liked this book from the beginning. Kept me hooked and I couldn’t put it down! There were some good plot twists I didn’t see coming and couldn’t wait to see how the end played out. Great pic!
Ben Wheeler , TX
❤️ love ❤️ this book. It was at slower paced, with a lot of back story, but it worked perfectly for this tale. Any faster pace would have been terrible injustice to the story. Highly recommend!
Huntington Beach, CA
I couldn’t put this book down. Fascinsting and complicated relationships set inside of the heavy subject of the American opiod crisis it’s an easy read that draws you in, and will leave you thinking.
Marysville , WA
I devoured this book, which is hard to do with 2 littles. But I could not put it down. I normally don’t go for this type of book but I think I’ll think of this book often for years to come. Amazing.
Oak Lawn, IL
Interesting story line that kept my attention and interest throughout! Don’t be intimidated by the size of the book - it is actuall a quick read! Kept me thinking long after I finished the last page.
An emotional combination of domestic drama and crime drama. I loved the big plot reveal I didn’t see coming - it made perfect sense and added even more depth to the relationship between these sisters.
I burned through this book in 3 days & just couldn’t bring myself to put it down. The mystery is done well, but the best part is the story of the sisters, their familial ties, and the opioid backdrop.
Peachtree Corners, GA
What a read - the story immediately grabbed me and surprised me over and over. My heart broke for the characters but i never lost the sense of hope throughout. One of the best books I’ve read recently
New York , NY
There’s A LOT going on, so much so that I wish the whodunit element wasn’t in it, as the difficult issues it tackles are handled much better than the mystery itself. But overall it’s a great read!
West Seneca, NY
This book was so well written that I had trouble putting it down. There were plenty of twists and turns, some I saw coming and some I didn’t. Was also cool reading a book set in Philly, a city I love!
This book was a perfect slow burn about two sisters over decades of their very different lives. It wasn't constant action but I still was engaged the whole time. Absolutely loved it and give it five ⭐
I loved this book, so many twists and unexpected plot twists that kept me on my feet. Loved the author’s descriptions and details of Kensington, it definitely added to the imagery and tone of the book
Really accurate description of the total helplessness family members feel when trying to help their addicted loved ones. Heartbreaking, but didn’t skimp on the mystery, I never saw the ending coming!
So apparently I’m loving all my BOTM picks so far. But this one is timely (about opioid addiction) and thought provoking. Readable and fast paced. A little bit thriller and a little bit family drama.
West Chester , PA
This book was amazing. I think it’s my best read so far for 2020. It was close to home, (Love all the Philly references) and extremely well developed characters￼. Just enough mystery and intrigue.
Im not sure it’s possible to put all my thoughts about this book into 200 characters. It’s a deep and timely look into addiction, family, corruption, ethics and survival from a unique perspective.
I tried reading this the month I got it but I didnt get very far - fast forward a few months and I tried again and I really can’t remember not getting into it because I quickly got hooked this time!
Brighton , MA
It took me a while to get into Mickey’s narrative voice, but once I did, I really enjoyed this literary police procedural. Strong writing and an interesting cast of characters made for a great read!
First time reading a book from this author and I enjoyed it. I couldn't get myself to put it down. I feel like a large amount of detail helps unfold all the parts of this story. I definitely recommend.