The thoughts and work of Sam Witt

KU Weekly Read – 02-24-2015 – The River is Dark – Joe Hart


In a small town along the Mississippi River, separate but nearly identical attacks have left two married couples brutally murdered in their homes. A young boy—the lone survivor of the killings—now lies comatose in the hospital. And the police’s only lead is the boy’s terrified description of the assailant: a “monster.”

Enter former homicide detective Liam Dempsey, whose estranged brother fell victim to the killer. Dragged into the investigation as a suspect, Dempsey vows to solve the case and clear his name. But two things stand between him and the truth: a web of local politics, and the grim secrets the victims held close. All the while, a murderer with boundless hatred continues to raise the body count.

As the troubled ex-cop tries to pull justice from the town’s emotional wreckage, he realizes that his could be the next life lost to the killer’s ruthless, twisted plan for revenge.

If you’ve read my Pitchfork County series, then you know that The River is Dark is the kind of book I love to sink my teeth into. Murder in a small town? Check. Petty government corruption standing in the way of justice? Check. A flawed man struggling with his family issues while trying to solve a crime the police don’t want solved? Oh, so very checked. Joe Hart captures the horrors of small-town life with a deft hand and paints a clear picture of the setting and its inhabitants.

The threads of the plot remain taut throughout the book, pulling you from page to page with increasing urgency. The author does a fantastic job building the tension in each scene, increasing the dread while deepening the connection with the characters. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing, and the final confrontation between Liam and the murderer is as heartbreaking as it is pulse-pounding.


I give The River is Dark a resounding recommendation for all reader of this site. If you enjoy personal horror with a small town setting, you can’t go wrong with this book. Click the cover image above to get it through Kindle Unlimited.

About Sam

I am the author of the popular Pitchfork County series of horror novels. I also write a newsletter with great reading suggestions and free fiction.