Fantastic debut

The Banks of Certain Rivers - Jon Harrison

Opening line: "One humid night at the beginning of summer, while jetliners rambled overhead and fireflies winked green along the far off row of brambles, my best friend and I sat by the fire pit along the far-off row of brambles behind my house.”

Wow what a fantastic find Jon Harrison’s debut novel turned out to be. Just an all-round great read that I was sorry to finish as by the end I’d grown so attached to all the characters, I felt like I knew them, like they were friends of mine and I wasn’t ready to let them go.

The Banks Of Certain Rivers is one of those books that I kept picturing as a movie while I was reading, it’s just such a great story. Slow burning, full of surprises, encompassing humor, drama, suspense, tragedy, love and life. Yup this has it all, along with some very good writing.

I’ll admit that initially this was slow going (after the nail biting prologue) as the author just sort of drops you into it and you’re left trying to figure out who all these characters are and why their detailed back stories are so important. But as it all comes together, wow, I couldn’t read fast enough. So many twists and turns, and a very clever plot as even the smallest; most mundane of details becomes very important by the end. I personally never did figure out “who done it” and was left surprised many times.

I don’t want to give away any plot details here, as this is SO worth discovering on your own, but I need to mention the e-mails. What a freakin genius idea. I am left wondering what happened to them though?

High school teacher Neil Kazenzakis is hanging on by a thread. Of course he thinks everything is fine but with his wife permanently disabled, a girlfriend who wants a commitment and a teenage son he’s been keeping at arm’s length (so he doesn’t find out about the girlfriend) it’s not going to take much to topple his house of cards. And that’s exactly what happens.

When dubious and career ending video footage of Neil surfaces online, and is picked up by the media, it looks like Neil will lose everything. Now he’s questioning his own memories of the event which in turn is making it difficult to prove his innocence let alone repair the damage. It’s also forced Neil to re-examine a few other issues he thought he’d dealt with. And then there’s his son Chris, probably not the best time for him to come clean about Lauren but there’s even more to come there as well.

This was an excellent read that I highly recommend. I’ll be on the lookout for Jon Harrison’s next book. Cheers