It wasn’t all poodle skirts and rock ‘n’ roll. From its deceptively innocent beginning—two young teens exploring the riverbank and spying on “Crazy Haggerty’s” dilapidated house—through the intertwining story lines of paganism, murder and sexual violence, Stony River shows how perilous life was for some girls in the 1950s. Absent mothers, controlling fathers, biblical injunctions, teenage longing and small-town pretense abound. The threat of violence is all around: angry fathers at home, dirty boys in the neighborhood, strange men in strange cars, a dead girl and another gone missing.
The central mystery, inspired by the crimes of Robert Zarinsky as documented by Robin Gaby Fisher and Judith Lucas in Deadly Secrets (Newark Star–Ledger 2008), keeps the reader guessing until almost the very end, when the frightening truth is revealed. In this coming-of-age mystery, three girls learn who they are and what they’re capable of surviving—and forgiving.
Coming of age in the 1950s really wasn't such an innocent time to grow up. For three girls from small town Stony River, the darkness of domestic abuse, mental illness and incest completely enveloped their young lives.
Miranda was raised by her father in complete isolation, until he died, leaving her with their son to care for. Tereza runs away from an abusive household and at fifteen ends up marrying a mentally unstable boy. While Linda, living with two unhappy parents, really doesn't know the meaning of love.
It's an intriguing story filled with dysfunction—which in all fairness is a part of the human condition in every time period. For me, I thought it mirrored real life because the ending doesn't tie up all the loose ends. Overall, I found STONY RIVER to be an intense and worthwhile read.
Prices/Formats: $10.99 ebook, $15.95 paperback Genre: Crime, Historical, Coming of Age Pages: 320 Release: October 6, 2016 Publisher: Leapfrog Press ISBN: 9781935248866 Click to add to your Goodreads list.
About the Author
Tricia Dower confesses to smoking a river punk or two in Rahway, New Jersey, where she was born and raised by perfectly fine parents who did not keep her hidden in a spooky house. A graduate of Gettysburg College and a Phi Mu, she built a career in business before reinventing herself as a writer in 2002. Her literary work has crossed borders and won awards. She expanded a story from her Shakespeare-inspired collection, Silent Girl (Inanna 2008) into Stony River, which was first published in Canada (Penguin, 2012). Her novel, Becoming Lin (Caitlin Press), was released in Canada in 2016. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Dower lives and writes in Brentwood Bay, BC.