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The River Sorrow

3.24  ·  Rating Details ·  157 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Newcomer Craig Holden, one of the new generation of outstanding contemporary fiction writers, delivers a riveting novel set in the stark, bleak plains of the Midwest -- the Midwest of strip malls and dilapidated, long-abandoned steel mills. The Midwest of Morgantown General Hospital in southern Michigan. When a burn victim is brought into the ER, a young doctor's life is c ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Island Books (first published September 1st 1994)
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PROTAGONIST: Dr. Adrian Lancaster; Lieut. Frank Brandon
SETTING: Central Michigan
RATING: 3.25
WHY: After Dr. Adrian Lancaster was caught stealing morphine, he did some rehab but was able to keep his medical privileges. He works in the ER and has also set up a clinic. When a horribly burned man is admitted, his world starts to fall apart and his past haunts him. Detective Frank Brandon comes to believe that Lancaster is being framed and works with him. The plot is hard to follow, and the climax im
This mystery starts off well, interesting and keeps your attention. I liked the main character, Adrian, from the beginning. He is a very appealing character as a doctor, a good man with the kind of bad boy thing going on. As soon as he took off his sterile bonnet and his long dark hair falls over his shoulders, that was it, I liked him. I mean saving lives and also having long dark hair, nice! The main detective was also a great character, a dogged cowboy type, whatever it takes to get the job d ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a debut novel, this is a strong showing - it combines the attributes of a medical thriller and that of a murder mystery. Adrian Lancaster is a reformed drug addict, now ED attending doctor, who in the opening chapter treats a severely burned patient which eventually sucks him into a multiple murder investigation. Lancaster ultimately proves to play a pivotal role in these crimes and his past indiscretions come back to haunt him. There is a fairly large cast of characters and admittedly at ti ...more
Wow, this was a great thriller! I was trying to piece together the whole mystery surrounding this story but I couldn't figure this one out, I had to wait until the end! Great novel.

From cover:

"The ponytailed doctor tries to sleep in the walk-in-clinic of a small midwestern city - and forget the image of a burn victim he treated earlier in the day. But for Dr. Adrian Lancaster there will be no rest. Not tonight. Not tomorrow. Because the arrival of "John Doe" is just the beginning of a nightmare
Jul 10, 2012 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, but not great thriller

At times achingly slow, and at times seemingly in fast forward mode, The River Sorrow is just an "OK" book for me.

I readily admit that I could not really identify much with the reformed drug addict doctor (his behavior is odd at the beginning of the story with regards to the police investigation and moves illogically throughout most of the first half of the book) and this hurt my enjoyment of the book. However, the addict Summer Storm's character gets even more ri
Aug 15, 2012 Deb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had a really good premise on the back cover ( The pony tailed doctor tries to sleep....)that made me want to read it. Unfortunately I had trouble getting into the book. When I would put it down and start reading again the next day I would have trouble remembering the story line and where I had left off. I think part of it was due to the fact the main character Dr. Lancaster had his past life of drug addiction come back to haunt him in the form of murders he was a suspect for. He didn't ...more
Detective Brandon was my favourite character. I didn't like the doctor much, finding him a weak personality and I never understood his modification for taking off and disappearing. The story didn't have a convincing enough argument for him doing this. If he had stayed and carried on as normal what was going to happen? The story wasn't convincing that anything would happen if he ignored what was happening and kept out of it. The story is hard to explain, because it was a bit rambling and often I ...more
Ellen Keim
This was the second Craig Holden book I read and I'm sorry to say I didn't care for it. Fortunately I read a later novel, Four Corners of Night, before I read this one, because Four Corners is excellent. I'm going to try a couple more of Holden's books to see if he ever repeats the quality of Four Corners.
Apr 16, 2011 Steve rated it liked it
A fairly decent mystery set in the seamy side of working class Michigan on the fringes of Detroit. Most interesting for its lead character; a doctor with a shady past who is suspected of bringing a deadly synthetic form of heroin back into circulation.
Nov 04, 2008 Kearney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A quick though somwhat gory and illucid (or is it unlucid) read. No particularly crazy twists but the character development was strong, just got lost and too self-involved by the end. Quick summary - good plane read, for those 5-6 hour flights.
Feb 28, 2015 Kathleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cassettes, 1999
Apr 08, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was right up my alley!!! I stumbled on this book at the library and I recommend it to everyone who loves several plot twists in one story.
Ali Bhatti
Jul 28, 2016 Ali Bhatti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite interesting, though it gets confusing at some parts but over all the main protagonists are well developed and it makes for a good read.
Theodore Kinni
Jan 18, 2016 Theodore Kinni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
His past returns to haunt an ER doc/ex-junkie in this good thriller - surprised it hasn't popped up as movie
Salli Bauer
Although Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, gave this book fabulous review, I thought is was just a so-so beach read. Murder in a small town.....
Jan 17, 2016 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very captivating mystery novel - some twists and turns that I did not expect and one that I realized only on the same page that it was revealed!
Mar 07, 2013 Jonna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real page-turner. Well developed characters - a great read.
Tom McKernan
Tom McKernan rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2016
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Feb 06, 2008
Geoff Schuelke
Geoff Schuelke rated it it was amazing
Oct 15, 2013
lyn rated it it was ok
Oct 02, 2008
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Andrew rated it really liked it
Aug 12, 2012
Paulette Brinker
Paulette Brinker rated it really liked it
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Steve Rodhouse
Steve Rodhouse rated it really liked it
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Craig Holden is the author of the novels The River Sorrow, The Last Sanctuary, Four Corners of Night, The Jazz Bird, The Narcissist's Daughter, and the forthcoming Matala. He is a recipient of the Great Lakes Book Award in Fiction, and was a featured guest at the Festival International du Roman Noir in Frontignan, France. His books have been translated into a dozen languages. He has taught at the ...more
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