I was very pleased to receive a copy of The River At Night which will be the launch title in January for Raven Books, the new imprint from Bloomsbury specialising in crime and thriller novels.
‘Why couldn’t I just say yes to a camping trip with three of my best friends? What was I so afraid of?
Erica Ferencik’s debut thriller is a story of friendship, and how it is put to test in the most extreme of circumstances. The story is told from the perspective of Win Allen, a woman who goes on a camping trip with three of her best friends – Sandra, Rachel and Pia. These four women have known each other for many years and have been through so much together – marriage and divorce, motherhood, illness and more. So despite feeling apprehensive about a camping trip in the Maine wilderness, Win sees the trip as an opportunity to spend some quality time with her friends, leaving her worries behind and embracing a new adventure. But as the friends arrive the trip does not pan out as they suspect, and it seems that the energetic Pia has led her friends into an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation.
‘I relished a small, private flame of pride that I had made it so far into this strange new world.’
I would say the story is something of a slow burner with the earlier stages of the novel focusing on introducing the characters and the wilderness setting although there is a sense of tension throughout as the women become isolated, far out of their comfort zone as they head for Pia’s adrenaline fuelled white water rafting trip. We get to learn a little about each of the women and the events in their lives that have influenced them and they all have their differences and various issues they have had to contend with. The characters of Win and Pia are a little more fleshed out than Sandra and Rachel. Win feels trapped in a soul destroying job and is still heartbroken at the loss of her brother, and the demise of her marriage. Then there is Pia and her pursuit of adventure, and the significantly younger guide she becomes drawn to. But Pia’s behaviour is only the start of the friends surprising, terrifying journey, one in which they will learn more about each other, and what is hidden in the Maine wilderness – which was certainly unexpected…
‘The next step, and the next, and the next. When, how, where would we get out of this place?’
The River At Night is an atmospheric read about love and friendship and how relationships are put to the test in the most unusual of circumstances.
The River At Night is to be published on 12th January 2017 by Raven Books. Many thanks to Raven Books for providing a copy for review.