Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Publication: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Source: Publisher
A high-stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller by a stunning new voice in fiction.
Winifred Allen needs a vacation.
Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.
What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

With intimately observed characters, visceral prose, and pacing as ruthless as the river itself, The River at Night is a dark exploration of creatures—both friend and foe—that you won’t soon forget.

Winifred (Wini), Sandra, Pia, and Rachel have been friends for eons. Their lives being so hectic, Pia plans a white water rafting trip for the four of them. Wini is hesitant to go, but she fears being left behind by her friends and ultimately decides to go. After all this could be the trip of a lifetime.

It was hard for me to connect or even care for these characters because I knew so little of them. I wished that there was more backstory for them. The story is told through Wini’s POV, so I got to know her a little bit more which was nice. It was kind of strange that one of the characters ended up sleeping with their young tour guide almost immediately and then seemed to fall for him just as fast. It was kind of weird and to me it didn’t add anything of great interest to the story. That action seems to set off a chain of cattiness and tenseness between these friends.

Whatever their differences, they learn fairly quickly that they need to work together in order to navigate the river successfully. The author does a nice job of painting a picture for the reader in regards to the atmosphere in the woods and dangers of river rafting. Especially when things take a turn for the worse and their fun girls trip turns out to be a nightmare and they have to fight for their own survival.

The River at Night was an interesting read, but not exactly what I had hoped it would be. It almost felt like I was watching a made for tv Lifetime movie instead of reading an edge of your seat adventure / thriller book.  Would I call this a suspenseful thriller? Hmmm no. All in all this story was an entertaining adventure read if not a little bit predictable at times. I love suspenseful and adventure stories,  but I think this book fell a little short for me.

RATING: 3 out of 5


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