So Cold the River
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So Cold the River

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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  3,143 ratings  ·  658 reviews
It started with a documentary. The beautiful Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to unearth the life story of her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose childhood is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job, even though the only clues to Bradford's past are his hometown and an antique water bottle he's kept his entire life.

In Bradford's hometown,...more
Paperback, Large Print, 704 pages
Published June 9th 2010 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2010)
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Carol
I'm glad I didn't listen to the mediocre reviews I read about So Cold the River. I had almost decided not to read it and that would have been my loss. All in all I really liked it though it was a tad long and probably could have been wrapped much quicker.

The strongest element that kept me reading was the back story of the the West Baden Springs Hotel and the French Lick Springs Resort (Indiana). Having just visited these this past fall I was fascinated by the way Koryta weaved the history of th...more
Rita
Oh man, this book was awful. I can't believe I finished it. It would have made a good drinking game if you were reading it at a party, though. You could do a shot whenever a character started a sentence with hell, or used damn as an adjective or said that something "damn near" happened. It wasn't that they were swear words that offended me, it was that there were a MILLION ZILLION of sentences like that. It got to where I had to set the book down and groan at parts to rally myself into plunging...more
William Bentrim
So Cold the River by Michael Koryta

A down and out want-to-be Steven Spielburg find himself immersed in water, deceit and confusion. A trip to a famous resort for a simple project lands him in the most danger fraught period of his life.

Eric Shaw is a man with an enormous ego that has been shattered by failure. His self loathing promotes his driving of those who love him to despair. Koryta truly paints a man who conspires to destroy himself. The characterization is poignant and colorful. Small to...more
Lou
Check out my interview with Michael Koryta in August 2012 >>http://more2read.com/review/interview-with-michael-koryta/

The main protagonist a film maker needs to define and separate visions and dreams with reality. For a living, while not working on a movie, he made tribute videos, wedding videos etc for private clients and some malevolent insidious presence seems to call him to a little job of putting together a tribute video for a dying man. It may be a project that could hold some meanin...more
Erin
This is not normally the sort of book I would pick up to read. In fact, if I saw this cover in a store I would think, "I am in the WRONG section! Get me out of here." But I heard a review of the book on NPR and learned that it is a paranormal thriller that takes place in French Lick, Indiana. Most people associate French Lick with Larry Bird, but I have a very close relationship with the town. My family started visiting French Lick almost 20 years ago and have gone down almost every year. It is...more
Tia
This was (sorry for the cold water reference) but so refreshing ! The book was keeping me up at night trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. It is true, as everyone has said the author was a little long winded and it could have been edited down a bit. The fact that this was based on real places and a real resort just made me love this even more. On my personal bucket list I have an entire literary section, of places I want to visit from my favorite books and now this resort is on i...more
Sue
Apr 13, 2011 Sue rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy Stephen King
A new author for me and I was intrigued by the review--any book that involves elements of the paranormal and mystery without having actual aliens, etc. I am intrigued. The premise involves a mysterious bottle of water which appears to have properties that allow a young film maker to "see" visions of past events. Things happen that are not explainable by any logical means.

I found it an interesting story that kept me wanting to know the ending. It is in the Stephen King type tradition but not on...more
Court
I loved this book. Michael Koryta is an author that I will keep on my watch list.
Throughout "So Cold the River" I kept wondering where it was going.
Once I got further into the book I could not stop. I can't believe I had not heard of this book sooner. I loved how the author used real places and created a compelling story. The mineral water, the locals, the evil, Cambell, the story was so interesting and I really enjoyed it. It was a great change of pace from the vampires and werewolves. Very o...more
Pam
This is the first book that I have read by Michael Koryta and I am now a fan! Story is about a beautiful old hotel in a small Indiana town and the mystical river/springs that are nearby. Eric the main character in the book is led to French Lick and West Baden as a researcher for a mysterious woman. Koryta does a great job of developing interesting story lines behind the characters and also weaving them together along the way. Enjoyed very much. If you like stories that are historical with a litt...more
Mallory Heart Reviews
Apr 04, 2012 Mallory Heart Reviews rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror, Supernatural, Paranormal
Super-fantastic, excellent! Did not want to sleep-must find all this author's other books. One reviewer compared it to King's "The Shining," but for me it has overtones of that and Robert Jackson Bennett's "Mr. Shivers" and much, much more! 50 stars would be nice!
This is the kind of incredible storytelling at which I marvelled with Stephen King's "Literary Three" (Bag of Bones; Lisey's Story; Duma Key) and with Bennett's "Mr. Shivers." I don't find it often, but a story this compelling, this me...more
Crystal Craig
Why did I wait so long to read this book? It was amazing. People are comparing Michael Koryta’s writing style to King and Koontz. And it’s funny that I enjoyed this book as much as I did because I am famous for shouting to the roof tops, "I am no fan of K & K."

I don’t know why some readers are labeling this book horror. It’s so far from it. There is very little blood, no slashing. It won’t scare the living crap out of you, at least I wasn't scared. It’s a well-crafted mystery with some para...more
Larry Hoffer
Eric Shaw was once a promising cinematographer poised to be the next big thing in Hollywood, until his temper destroyed his career, which significantly damaged his marriage. Now, he mostly makes retrospective films about people, usually used for funerals and other special events. So when Alyssa Bradford hires him to do a biography of her 95-year-old billionaire father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, whose childhood is a mystery to their family, Eric jumps at the chance. Armed only with a vintage bott...more
Sandi
When I heard about So Cold the River on a podcast, I thought it sounded interesting enough to put on my wishlist. It has an old hotel with an interesting history. It has a mysterious bottle of mineral water. It has a ghost. It has every element needed for a terrifically creepy story.

Unfortunately, it fell kind of flat. It was good, but it missed very good by a long shot. Koryta's style is too reminiscent of Stephen King. It seems deliberately imitative. To me, that detracted greatly from my read...more
Diane
Wow! I thought this might be just another mundane so-so story, but after a few pages I began to realize how cleverly the author snaked his way into this story. Mystical, thrilling, and definitely chilling--this is a read you won't want to do after dark.

No kidding--things will go bump in the night, causing you to put the book away until daylight. This, then, is a gripping tale that will have you shivering and reaching for the light switch at every creak in the floor, every knock in the wall.

Mich...more
Laura LaRoche
Wow!! I loved this book dearly.

To start with I want to say I am from this area Micheal Koryta wrote about. As teenagers, my parents worked at the French Lick Hotel. They met and fell in love as they worked there. They married in 1952 and never parted until my father's passing 2 years ago. I remember so many changes French Lick has gone through. Some of my favorite childhood memories are based around this place. I have never met this author, even though we share memories of this place.
This book i...more
Cynthia
I didn’t enjoy this book very much. It’s a paranormal thriller which is a genre I usually enjoy. The story was mildly interesting and the back story was by far more intriguing. Koryta does a great job of doling out just enough of the secondary plot to keep you turning pages. He writes well and clearly and the characters are well defined but for me the book never took flight. There are so many wonderful books around that it upsets me to read 500 pages of a book that’s just so so. I think I’d feel...more
Katy
Oct 12, 2012 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of suspense, paranormal thrillers, horror
Recommended to Katy by: Amazon Vine
Shelves: vine-book
A Vine book - you can see my review here.
Janette Fleming
Eric Shaw, a failed documentary maker is now trying to make a living filming weddings and funerals when he receives a strange request from a woman. Alyssa Bradford wants him to make a film about the life of her dying father in law, 95-year-old Chicago millionaire Campbell Bradford.
She offers Eric a very generous amount of money to travel to West Baden in Indiana to trace Campbell’s early years for the film. Alyssa also gives him a small bottle of water which the dying Campbell had kept his enti...more
Arah-Lynda
Eric is a once upon a time Los Angeles cinematographer who is currently etching out a living in Chicago, creating videos for weddings, anniversaries, graduations and funerals. Lots and lots of funerals. In fact it is at one of these events that he meets Alyssa Bradford, who makes Eric a very generous offer to travel to French Lick and West Baden, Indiana where her father in law grew up and to make a documentary based on his early years, which remain shrouded in mystery. She has also brought Eric...more
Heidi
It is testimony to how much I enjoyed this that I saved listening to it (on audible) for whenever I had to go through the excruciating torment of stationary bike riding. This was a suspenseful, spooky, history soaked, paranormal mystery and although some people have complained about childish aspects to the protagonist I was very comfortable that he was going to come through it all a better man (which he did.)

Short synopsis: a down on his luck filmmaker reduced to doing elegiac (not sure that's...more
Laura Gabbard
This book was better than I expected. We noticed a page and the cover on the wall of Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington (IN) because there is a mention of Upland in the book. Apparently this was a local author and the book is based in the vicinity (southern Indiana). This is a supernatural mystery, not something I would normally choose to read. But my husband and I decided to read it together. It turned out to be a real page-turner. Based in the town of French Lick, Indiana, a modern-day movi...more
Giovanni Gelati
Warning: I really enjoy Michael Koryta’s work; I have read his five other novels and must confess to really enjoying them. I was pumped when I received the news that he had a new novel in the pipe and looked forward to the release date. The thing I was not excited about was that my two favorite characters of his are nowhere to be seen. So Cold the River is billed as standalone novel of suspense; I think that the description sells it short.
Here is a part of the jacket that describes the plot of t...more
Bob Williams

At first I was hesitant to write a review of SO COLD THE RIVER since I had a lukewarm reaction to it while others I know fell in love with the story. I thought I might be missing something and might be doing the novel an injustice. Still, here goes...
This was a book I wanted to like more, and it does have quite a few good ingredients going into the mix. It's suspenseful and a bit of a mystery: the reader knows enough to make sense of the story, but there are missing pieces that aren't filled i...more
Cheryl
Eric Shaw used to be a one of the most talented and most sought after film makers. That all changed in an instant. All it took was for him to lose his temper and after that, his career crumbled faster then you can say “Oscar”. Eric still produces films but recapping the lives of ones who have passed away. At one of the funerals, Eric is approached by the lovely, Alyssa Bradford. Eric did her sister’s movie. Alyssa is impressed with Eric’s work.

Alyssa calls Eric a few days later. She wants to hi...more
Christine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bookmarks Magazine
Up to now, Michael Koryta has quite successfully produced crime fiction. So a supernatural thriller might strike some as a bit off the beaten path (according to Koryta, the book was originally a novella that transformed itself into a longish novel, and he leaves room at the end for a reprise). So Cold the River is game in the attempt: critics make the inevitable comparisons to Stephen King (particularly The Shining, since much of Koryta's novel takes place in a creepy Indiana resort hotel), whic...more
Danielle
this book was great. Until the end. Then I wanted more, different, better. The supernatural past/present hallucination story line built to an expected grand crescendo - and I was let down, although I savored this book. I found myself closing the book before I was ready to stop reading, to ensure that I didn't have to say goodbye to the characters too quickly - especially the elderly lady with wicked water and a propensity to weather watch.
I really want to give this one 4.5 stars. And I really wa...more
Jolinda Van
This book dragged. It started it out with a promising premise but half way through the novel I was fed up with the protagonist's resentful, self-pitying, whiny personality. He felt that he was the victim of powerful men intellectually inferior to him and much less talented and by God, even if it destroyed his career and his marriage, he was the brilliant and wronged victim and wanted everyone to agree!
The story was sluggish in places and didn't come together very satisfyingly, for me at least, i...more
Chris
Read this last summer, and instantly became a fan. Blurbs refer to this as similar to The Shining...and while it is set in a (somewhat) haunted hotel, it deals with a mysterious fountain of youth type spring of water, connected to a hotel from the early 1900's, and those who would kill to control its supposed power. The novel is set in modern times and follows documentary filmmaker Eric Shaw, who is approached by a wealthy billionaire's daughter-in-law to make a film of his life, as a final trib...more
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Michael Koryta (pronounced ko-ree-ta)has written nine novels, praised by such authors as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane, and his most recent novel, THE PROPHET, was called "Friday Night Lights meets In Cold Blood...a flawless performance" by Kirkus. His last three novels, THE RIDGE, THE CYPRESS HOUSE, and SO COLD THE RIVER were all New York Times notable books and no...more
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“...what still blew them all away was time itself, the days and months and the years, oh yes, the years. They went faster than anything man had the capacity to invent, so fast that for a while they fooled you into thinking they were slow, and was there any crueler trick than that?” 4 likes
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