If you like suspense and you like young adult novels, then you’ll love “Crooked River,” by Valerie Geary. The novel came out in 2014, published by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins.
Teenager, Sam McAllister and her younger sister, Ollie, are grieving their mom’s death. They move from Eugene to the woods to live in a teepee with their bee-keeper father, Bear. Soon after, the girls discover the body of a young woman in the nearby river. All suspicion focuses on their father, but Ollie knows someone else is to blame. She sets off to prove her father’s innocence, putting herself, and her sister in danger.
This is a psychological thriller (just my type of book), masterfully written, with deeply dimensional, complex characters. I had my suspicions about the identify of the killer, but Geary kept me in the dark until the last jittery pages. She made me nearly hop up and down and scream for the safety of Sam and Ollie. I had to keep telling myself, “Dena, this is just a novel.”
I highly recommend, “Crooked River.” It’s clean, except for a few raw words, which are nevertheless appropriate for the setting and the culture.
Geary’s inventive use of both past and present tense in her two main characters is highly effective, especially since Ollie never speaks throughout the book. Her thoughts are told in present tense and alternate with the more mature voice of Sam, told in first person, past tense.
Emotionally gripping. I look forward to reading more of Valerie Geary’s novels.