Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Published: Hutchinson London (Penguin Random House)
First Published: 2020
The first time I found my sister dead, she was sixteen.
Mickey Fitzpatrick has been patrolling the 24th District for years. She knows most of the working women by name. She knows what desperation looks like and what people will do when they need a fix. She’s become used to finding overdose victims: their numbers are growing each year. But every time she sees someone sprawled out, slumped over, cold to the touch, she has to pray it’s not her sister, Kacey.
When the bodies of murdered sex workers start turning up on the Ave, the Chief of Police is keen to bury the news. They’re not the kind victims that generate a whole lot of press anyway. But Mickey is obsessed, dangerously so, with finding the perpetrator – before Kacey becomes the next victim.
It’s not very often that I will read a hot off the press new release, but from the first moment I heard about this book I knew I had to get in quick before any hype put me off reading it. Long Bright River promised so much, covering all the subjects that fascinate me – a literary thriller, drugs, sex workers … And I am delighted to report that I was not disappointed.
Liz Moore has created a piece of work that deals with controversial topics in a sensitive and compassionate way. The story comments on crimes against women, yet the women are strong, passionate and fiercely independent. They sometimes make wrong decisions, but they are honest and Mickey, the main character, does not shy away from her responsibilities.
The characters are well written and believable – flawed and imperfect, like all human beings are. They make bad decisions and they live with the consequences. The 24th District is a character in itself, foreboding and sinister and completely authentic.
This is a powerful, suspenseful and utterly absorbing read dealing with some harrowing and difficult topics. It is grim and gritty, twisty and turny, infuriating and hopeful. Yes, this is a book about the struggle of addiction and murder, but it is also a book about love and hate, about sisterhood and about the complicated bonds of family. Highly recommended!