Profoundly moving and beautifully written, Long Bright River is a story about the bond of sisters, addiction, and what’s left in the wake of a shared tragedy. It’s a murder mystery, but one that is quieter, focusing more on the relationship of the sisters at its heart than on any grisly murder.
Sisters Mickey and Kacey have chosen very different paths in life. Mickey is a police officer raising her young son on her own, while Kacey is a long-term drug addict and prostitute living on the streets. When Mickey realizes that women she knows from patrolling the streets are turning up dead, and that Kacey has been missing for some time, she begins a dangerous, and obsessive, search for her sister.
Told through now and then chapters, we spend much of the first half of the book finding out about the sisters’ pasts. Interestingly, it was in looking into the past that really helped propel the present story on. It takes a gifted writer to be able to do that, and Liz Moore is truly gifted.
Honestly, it took me a long time to read this book, as I had to take quite of few of what I call ‘emotional breaks’. This is likely due to my own family’s experience with a loved one’s addiction, so beware if you have your own triggers. I did find the subject matter intense and a little blue at times, with an air of real life about it rather than any sort of escapism I usually find in thrillers. In many instances I felt as if the characters could be my own family or a friend. But the story is beautifully told, and Mickey is a relatable protagonist I won’t soon forget.
Gorgeously told and endlessly surprising, this character-driven mystery is one I recommend everyone read.