Bent Road
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Bent Road

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  2,210 ratings  ·  477 reviews
Winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel
"Don't be fooled by the novel's apparent simplicity: What emerges from the surface is a tale of extraordinary emotional power, one of longstanding pain set against the pulsating drumbeat of social change."
-Sarah Weinman,

For twenty years, Celia Scott has watched her husband, Arthur, hide from the secrets surrounding h...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Plume Books (first published December 15th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy Sumner-Winter
I really wanted to like this. I really did. I seem to always be that person in book club who finds fault with the book. And, this book, as a friend said, did have potential. Some of the writing was good, the story was, eh, kind of interesting.

Others have noticed/noted the abysmal editing job, so I'll just say, um, when your editor may in fact be your mom, you probably need another reader.

The thing that bugged me most about this book (written by a WOMAN) is the lack of agency that any female ch...more
The story begins with Celia Scott driving through darkness searching for the tail lights of her husband's truck. They are moving back to his rural childhood home on Bent Road, Kansas and he's sped ahead, leaving her without a guide. It's a road that's tricky to navigate even in the day, much less in the dark of night. And this darkness is full of moving, unidentifiable shapes and shadows.

This brooding atmosphere underpins the entire novel. Celia's husband, Arthur, left home over twenty years ag...more
In the last month I have picked up 3 books by first time authors, and this is by far the best of the three (I couldn’t even finish The Borrower by Rebecca Makki.). Lori Roy does an outstanding job of bringing American Gothic to life in this novel of secrets, lies and despair in the Heartland of America. Roy does a wonderful job of creating tension and dread throughout the novel. The landscape is desolate with tumbleweeds blowing up against fences making them look like monsters; the characters wa...more
Toni Lapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bent Road's setting, Kansas, evokes lonliness and isolation. Celia, Arthur,and three children
drive to Arthur's home in Kansas to escape threats in 1967 riots from racially divided Detroit. They move into a house near his mother and start a new life. Celia and Evie, the youngest, have difficulty accepting the very different lifestyle where the local Catholic church is the only social contact. Reesa, the mother-in-law, is dominating and belittling to Celia. In a memorable scene, Reesa is frying ch...more
What can I say? I was looking forward to reading this due to all the positive reviews, but I just did not like this book much. I didn't like the writer's style, and I thought the storyline was pretty predictable and at some times downright unpleasant. This is a mystery written for adult audiences, and I guess it can be classified as slightly historical as well since it's set in the 1960s. The story revolves around a family that has moved to a small KS town from Detroit. The family's father, Arth...more
I read this book in less than 3 days. They were not boring, sick-in-bed with-nothing-better-to-do days either. It was that good. It's seems even better to me because BENT ROAD is this author's first novel.

Like this sentence, Lori Roy styles her story in present tense rather than in the usual past tense. Instead of saying "Arthur slammed his fist on the truck again and held up his other hand to Reesa" the author writes, "Arthur slams his fist on the truck again and holds up his other hand to Rees...more
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars. This is another story about secrets and their effects on a family and on a town. Arthur left his home in Kansas with plans never to plans never to return. But events in Detroit frighten him more than the past and so he packs up his family and moves back to Bent Road where he grew up and to the Kansas town where his sister died so many years before.
Arthur and his eldest daughter Elaine adjust to country life but Arthur's wife Celia, and children Daniel and Evie do not find...more
Dear Lori Roy's Editor (who, I noticed, has the same last name as Lori Roy),

This book had potential, I'll give it that, but what it did not have was attention to detail. Some words and phrases were repeated so often it was completely distracting. Go on, open up your electronic copy of the manuscript and do a "Find" on the following:

- frown
- sidestep
- hand on the back of the seat
- cleared his throat like a closing fist (you can really only use this clunky metaphor once, not twice within five page
There's menace threaded all through this story about a family that moves to rural Kansas from Detroit. Kansas itself seems menacing, with dangerous roads and tumbleweed that looks like a monster hanging from the fence. The disappearance of a young girl the week the family moves back makes everything even more creepy and threatening. And then there's the mysterious death of the family's aunt, decades ago, assorted acts of animal cruelty, a battered wife stalked by her husband, a priest who seems...more
McGuffy Morris
This is a gripping debut novel from an author to watch. Lori Roy tells a story in southern-gothic tradition of a family haunted by the past.

To escape the race riots of 1967 Detroit, Arthur Scott returns to Kansas, after fleeing his family homestead there twenty years before.

While his teen daughter settles into a new love and life in Kansas, his adolescent son, and grade school daughter struggle to fit in and belong.

Arthur’s wife must come to terms with being a farm wife, as she struggles with Ar...more
I won this via a Goodreads giveaway. (Thanks Goodreads and Dutton!) In Bent Road Ms. Roy has written a compelling novel with fully drawn characters. The story is part family saga, part (dual) murder mystery. Despite the mystery, which made me want to read right through to the conclusion, I was equally happy to spend time with the characters, even those were quite unlikable! My major complaint with the novel was that it was very choppy. Some scenes were only a few paragraphs long, and at times th...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Author Lori Roy’s debut novel follows Arthur Scott and his family as they pack up their city life in Detroit, Michigan and move to a small town in Kansas. The book’s description is a bit misleading as it states:

“But when the 1967 riots frighten him even more than the past…”

What actually frightens Arthur, and it’s stated multiple times throughout the novel, is that black men begin calling after his oldest daughter Elaine. Right or wrong, this fact is ultimately what prompts him to uproot his fam...more
Jane Brant
Another novel with Kansas as its background...oh, so Kansas....remembering Truman Capote, anyone. Nothing is as it seems as Arthur moves his family back to Kansas from Detroit city life to his childhood home. I loved every bit of this book even down to the "feedsack" aprons worn by Grandmother Ressa, domineering matriarch of the family...story is "bent" by life choices of the main characters; you also have the "road" the characters in detail and suspense.
Very atmospheric debut set in Kansas during the sixties. Lots of small town intrigue and interesting characters but I felt overall the book was a bit overwritten and somewhat overwrought. Thought the final portion of the book was very good though so I will probably give this author another try.
Diane S.
A very darkly forbiding book, but kept me interested and reading. Family secrets, assumptions, come back to haunt a family moving back home to Kansas from Detroit. From the very beginning one senses there is going to be something violent happening. Well wriiten first novel
Hmmm. I tried really hard to like this book, but it just never really grabbed me. I think it was supposed to be suspenseful, but the way it was written didn't really build suspense for me at all. Part of the problem was the spelling & grammar errors that snuck in. Some of them were so glaring and obvious that I got really distracted at points. Another part of the problem was the author's repetition of certain phrases - it felt like she was beating you to death with them. For example, talking...more
It’s 1967 and the Detroit race riots, among other things, have convinced Arthur Scott that it’s time to move his family back to Kansas and the town he fled more than 20 years before.
Arthur and his older daughter, Elaine, adapt easily to life in the rural town of Arthur’s childhood, but his wife Celia and children Daniel and especially Evie have a more difficult time. Maybe it’s because Evie looks so much like Arthur’s dead sister Eve, for whom Evie was named. It seems the whole town is still ha...more
Arthur Scott left his Kansas home as a young man after the death of his sister Eve, an event about which he never speaks. Driven out by the racial tensions of late 1960s Detroit, the Scotts are returning to the Kansas Arthur escaped. The secret of what really happened to Eve hangs around the family. When a young girl goes missing, the family is thrown into turmoil as memories and suspicions surround them. Celia, Arthur’s wife, has a hard time adjusting to Kansas and a family dynamic she can’t se...more
aPriL purrs 'n hisses
Aunt Eve is dead. But she appears again in the form of Little Evie, her niece and a dead ringer for Eve. Prejudice brings the Scott family back from Detroit to home, a small Kansas farm. Little Evie soon becomes overwhelmed and haunted by the secrets of the adults in her family and in the small town near Bent Road by her resemblance to her dead aunt. Old hurts begin to ferment and boil. Uncle Ray was always the prime suspect in Eve's death, but while nothing was ever proved against him the shunn...more
More literary fiction than mystery, Lori Roy's Bent Road is a fabulous debut novel from an author who has earned her right to be on my permanent radar. I loved most everything about the book, right down to the lovely cover & somewhat double meaning of its title. Besides being a fabulous read, Bent Road had the honor of rescuing me from the tedious read that The Gathering has thus far been. (I'll have to force myself to finish the latter). Back to Bent Road, I was most impressed with the auth...more
What a fantastic book! It brings to mind the feelings evoked when seeing "American Gothic" in person. Sure, it looks like a simple painting, but underneath simmers an entire world of secrets and lies. It starts with a fairly simple premise: a family moves from Detroit to rural Kansas, the home of the patriarch Arthur Scott. While there he must face the past he ran away from and the present that may prove even more toxic.

The writing paints a vivid picture. I could see everything happen so clearly...more
Arthur Scott left rural Kansas for the big city shortly after the death of his sister Eve. Now husband to Celia and father of three, he decides that Detroit holds too many dangers for his children, and moves back to the family farm on Bent Road. It's a huge change for Celia, who must cope with the brutality of life and death on a farm, and the interference of her mother-in-law. Her eldest daughter is happy, having fallen for the young hired hand. But the two younger Scotts have trouble making fr...more
The menacing tone with which this book opens never lets up in a story of a family with dark secrets in a small town where everyone knows, or thinks they know, everyone's business. In a small way, the book reminds me of A. Manette Ansay's Vinegar Hill. Both stories present a woman whose husband decides to move his family back to his hometown where they will be closer to his family, in this case, a move from Detroit in the '60s to rural western Kansas. His birth family is haunted by the long-ago m...more
Robert Intriago
A well written book that keeps you interested throughout. I liked the writing style in which the author's use several narrators allowing each one to tell the story from their point of view. Most of the narrators are women with the exception of Daniel, the young man transitioning from a boy into manhood.

The book centers on the mystery of a family moving back to Kansas from Detroit. They are doing so because of the race riots in Detroit. The story also deals with the horrific damage that secrets c...more
In an ideal world a book has strong character development and strong plot development. Sometimes, great reads have one without the other, and this is the case with Bent Road. The storytelling in this book is exemplary--the pacing is perfect (those of you who have said it's too slow, were we reading the same book?) and the story is expertly taut. Just when you remember to exhale, you you realize you may have exhaled too soon....

The characters are not the strength here, but that wasn't a problem...more
Slow start adjusting to rhythmn and style of author. Story about a family moving from the big city of Detroit back to rural Kansas where Dad Arthur came from. He left many years ago when his sister Eve was found dead. That mystery was never solved, but resurfaced when another girl who looks like his sister goes missing, although 20 years later. His dead sister's fiancee Ray, marries Ruth the older sister and is never satisfied. She suffers years of abuse while he becomes an alcoholic. Arthur's w...more
Gretchen Rings
Family secrets kept for 25 years come to light in a small Kansas town in this bleak, foreboding novel. Though he vowed never to return to the house on Bent Road after the murder of his sister Eve, Arthur Scott is impelled to move his family back after the 1967 Detroit race riots scare them away. Once home, he sees how many things are the same as well as how much he has missed, including the experiences of his other sister, Ruth, who has been quietly suffering as a battered woman for many years....more
I had high expectations for this well-reviewed debut. I'm not sure why it didn't work for me. The writing is certainly solid. Considering all that was going on (family secret, missing girl, loony bin up the road) it was suprisingly dull, at least for the first 300 pages. Perhaps it was the setting. I don't think farmland books are really my thing. I was expecting so much more (chilling! the reviews told me). The last 50 pages are excellent, though. Other than that I don't know what to say. There...more
3-3.5 stars. Celia and her family leave the city of Detroit to return to her husband's Kansas hometown-one he has been absent from since his sister Eve died 25 years ago. This new rural life is disturbing. Arthur's other sister Ruth, and her suspicious and abusive husband Ray add conflict as does the disappearence of a local girl. Still, there is the lingering unanswered questions surrounding the mystery of Eve's death years earlier. All of this slowly unravels them and exposes the secrets of no...more
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A Novel Idea Book...: Edgar Allan Poe Award Nomination 3 10 Feb 03, 2012 03:23PM  
A Novel Idea Book...: Author Interview 1 4 Jan 27, 2012 07:44AM  
A Novel Idea Book...: Bent Road Discussion Questions 1 11 Jan 12, 2012 05:35PM  
A Novel Idea Book...: Bent Road 1 6 Jan 12, 2012 05:33PM  
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Lori Roy's debut novel, BENT ROAD, was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best debut novel by an American author. BENT ROAD was named a 2011 Notable Crime Book by the New York Times, a 2012 Notable Book by the state of Kansas and nomiated for the Book-of-the-Month Club First Fiction Award. Her second novel, UNTIL SHE COMES HOME (Dutton 6/13) has been named a New York Times Editors' Choice.
More about Lori Roy...
Until She Comes Home

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