Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Book Review of "The River We Remember" by William Kent Kruger


I just finished reading a popular Book of the Month pick for October 2023, "The River We Remember" by William Kent Kruger. Keep reading this blog post for all of my favorite moments from the book and find out whether or not you should read it, too.



The River We Remember

by William Kent Kruger

goodreads // amazon // library

On Memorial Day in Jewel, Minnesota, the body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. The investigation falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a highly decorated war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service. Even before Dern has the results of the autopsy, vicious rumors begin to circulate that the killer must be Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran who has recently returned to Jewel with a Japanese wife. As suspicions and accusations mount and the town teeters on the edge of more violence, Dern struggles not only to find the truth of Quinn’s murder but also put to rest the demons from his own past.

Caught up in the torrent of anger that sweeps through Jewel are a war widow and her adolescent son, the intrepid publisher of the local newspaper, an aging deputy, and a crusading female lawyer, all of whom struggle with their own tragic histories and harbor secrets that Quinn’s death threatens to expose.

Both a complex, spellbinding mystery and a masterful portrait of mid-century American life that is “a novel to cherish” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis), The River We Remember offers an unflinching look at the wounds left by the wars we fight abroad and at home, a moving exploration of the ways in which we seek to heal, and a testament to the enduring power of the stories we tell about the places we call home ( from


Book Review and Discussion of
"The River We Remember" by William Kent Kruger

What Worked for Me
Excellent plotting
"The River We Remember" is told from many unique perspectives, but mainly: Brody, the town sheriff, Scott, a local teenager, and Charlie, a lawyer hired to represent Noah Bluestone. Multiple POV storylines can be overdone, but this ended up being one of my favorite aspects of Kruger's approach to the story!
It is incredibly common for an author to use this approach but have the same information presented to the reader each time. The story becomes incredibly repetitive and this technique can really slow down the plot. Instead, Kruger made sure that each perspective felt fresh and interesting. While not straying too far from the main plot, each character's perspective had its own part to play in uncovering the truth about the case.
What I Struggled With
Neatly tied ending
I loved so much about Kruger's writing, until the very end of the novel. This book had a similar ending to, "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens. The mystery is solved, check - and the totally unnecessary, in my opinion, are the rest of the lives of the characters. How they lived out their days after and in many cases how each of those characters died. I'd rather just imagine them all riding off into the sunset. Finding out how the town sheriff died felt anticlimactic and really took away from the mystery and ambiance of the characters.
And that's a wrap on "The River We Remember" by William Kent Kruger. Have you read this novel? If so, comment below and tell me your favorite parts or what you struggled with while reading. I'd love to chat! If you haven't read this book yet, let me know your favorite historical fiction thriller or mystery! Thanks for reading, readers! 
Want to know what happens at the end of "The River We Remember" by William Kent Kruger? Check out the blog post below for all of the spoilers and twists!



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