Cover Image: Dark Rivers to Cross

Dark Rivers to Cross

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Member Reviews

Dark Rivers to Cross is an emotive thriller about trauma, mental health disorders, secrets and a mother’s sacrifice. Lena Blackwell runs a river lodge in Northern Maine. Her life revolves around running the lodge and her boys Luke and Jonah, protecting them from their tragic past. Luke is entirely happy living the life he knows; his adopted brother Jonah wants something very different and that includes tracking down his biological parents. Things take a dangerous momentum the deeper Jonah digs and with the arrival of Lena’s old friends at the lodge. The past, of course, catches up with the three of them but how will it turn out? I especially enjoyed the main characters, atmospheric setting and themes of this thriller, and the author’s hook at the end of each chapter with a waterways-related definition that added to the tension, the sense of inevitability, peril ahead. I recommend Dark Rivers to Cross and give it 4.5 stars.
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This book blends together perfectly dual pov/dual timelines of the sons quest to find out where they came from, and what a mother will do to protect her children.  I felt the emotion that the characters were feeling and I was invested in the characters.
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I liked the book well enough.  This was a woman who really wanted to keep a secret! I liked the Maine lodge setting, I feel like so many books take place in NY or CA this felt like a refreshing change and it was realistically remote enough that you can see how someone could keep a secret while living basically openly. 

My main complaint was that there were almost too many thrills! If it wasn't one thing it was another. That sort of took me out of the plot a bit.
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Once I started this book, I knew I had to finish it in the same sitting and that’s what I did.  This book blends together perfectly dual pov/dual timelines of the sons quest to find out where they came from, and what a mother will do to protect her children.  I felt the emotion that the characters were feeling and I was invested in the characters.  I will trigger warnings for domestic abuse. Thanks NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Luke and Jonah have always known they’re adopted. Jonah begins  to search for his biological parents, and Lena (their mother) urges Luke to stop Jonah from uncovering the truth. This was a very quick read, and I loved the twists and turns. I truly cannot complain, other than I read it in a day. What’s not to love? Twists, turns, and a dysfunctional family. 5 stars
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(3.5) This is so twisty with snippets of thoughts, memories here and there that I got lost. Combine that with past then present,then past and present and I almost gave up. To be fair, I dislike ones that go back and forth in time.  If I knew how much of that was in the book I would not have asked to read-review, as my own feelings do a disservice to the author. I had to read some sections several times and when it ended, I did not have a true resolution, as Lena did not appear to either.  This truly is a story of what lengths a mother will go to in regards to keeping their children safe.  I loved Coop and I wanted so much more for him.  The ending also left me a little befuddled with her boys.  I know life is messy and there is not always a quick or easy fix, but I could have used a tad more resolution for everyone, be it a good or bad one.  Thank you for the arc! I freely volunteer my thoughts and opinions. #darkriverstocross #lynnereeves #netgalley #crookedlanebooks
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TW: Domestic Violence 

Adopted brothers Jonah and Luke grew up in the woods of Maine, working at their mother’s cabin resort. When Jonah, about to head to college, starts asking questions about his life before adoption, dark secrets come to the surface about the family’s history. 

A dark story about the realities of domestic violence and it’s survivors, you’ll find yourself holding your breath as you learn Lena’s story. Read this if you enjoy intricate family relationships and exploring in the woods. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC in exchange for a fair review.
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I really enjoyed this new domestic thriller by Lynne Reeves. This was fast paced and filled with tension. Loved the characters and the way the story was laid out. Highly recommend 
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book
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I really liked this one. The twist was good and the reading was smooth. I really enjoyed the writing and I will be looking at other books from this author.
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This was an interesting read about Lena and her two sons that don't know their mother is on the run. I liked the switching between past and present in this one, however I felt there were way too many "thrills". I like build up and sitting on the edge of my seat until something huge happens. 

I did love the world building and enjoyed how the story ended.
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Lena Blackwell has lived in Maine with her two sons for the last twenty years. She runs a lodge on the river while teaching the boys all she knows about the business of hospitality. More than anything, she wants to keep them safe. She has spun a tale about where they came from, desperately trying to keep them and everyone else unaware of their painful past. Luke is a naturalist, and his life is happy and perfect just as it is, hiking and acting as a tour guide for the guests of the lodge. Jonah is restless; he grew up believing he and Luke are adopted, and he is very interested to find his “biological” parents, hoping to discover who he is and from where where he came. Lena begs him not to search, even asking Luke to dissuade his brother and convince him not to unbury the past. After a couple from Lena’s past unexpectedly arrives at the lodge, the strange encounter Lena shares with the wife before asking Luke to turn them away causes him to become very curious. He shares the information he has gleaned with Jonah, including the couple’s license plate number. Luke, who had no desire to learn about his past, is divided between the mother desperate to hide the past and the brother determined to expose it all. 

At the end of this dynamic book, I exhaled deeply, unaware that I had been holding my breath. I wondered briefly how long I’d been doing that, and if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it started right before the climax. Personally, I disagree with the premise of maintaining this huge lie. I would have told my sons the truth about their past so they could understand both their inherited trauma and the abuse Lena suffered. I believe the only way to earn a child’s love and respect is to respect and love them enough to be honest with them. Lena’s motivation for covering it up was to protect them, and while that may have worked when they were babies, the false narrative she continued into their young adulthood only exposed them all to grave danger. At some point it should have been clear that she had to look her children in the eyes and love them by being honest. The truth would have been distressing, but much more pain was inflicted upon the whole family by Jonah and Luke finding out the way they did. It changed their entire dynamic, from Lena’s relationship with Jonah and Luke, to the addition of family. “Dark Rivers to Cross” is an exceptional thriller, an important narrative about honesty, and the damage of trauma inflicted and trauma that is inherited. This is an excellent, well-written work of fiction. I would not recommend starting this novel until you have a lot of free time to finish it! 

Trigger warning for domestic abuse and mental illness

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Lynne Reeves, and Crooked Lane Books for the ability to read and review this ARC.
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It starts with what seems to be a murder. In the present we see Lena who runs a lodge business. Her sons now they are older want to find out who their parents are as they have been adopted. Then someone from the past comes to stay. The truth unfolds very fast. Fascinating, brilliant, touching, scary. Would really recommend this book.
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Dark Rivers to Cross is a spooky family thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Despite many hints at the truth, the events will shock all.
Thanks for the digital review copy.
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Escaping an abusive relationship is never easy and made more difficult for Lena because her husband was a very well-respected surgeon. He seemed to have a split personality, however, and in the quiet of their home was violent. 

She escaped with a couple of suit cases into the upper concourse of the Penobscot River with her two new babies. She told everyone they were adopted and that their ages were different. A small hunting lodge with a few cabins was the childhood for her two boys. She called them Luke and Jonah and their male role model was a sympathetic older man who sheltered the family. 

Finally, her husband was committed to a facility for his affliction. Underneath he hoped he could find her as hate and revenge became his primary motivators.

The boys grew up in a supportive and healthy environment. Luke was content with the status quo but Jonah wondered who his birth parents really were. 

Lena wanted both boys to go to college; Luke was interested but his brother disagreed. The schism between the brothers leads to a number of adventures and ultimately their exposure. 

This is an entertaining tale of life in the mountains near the upper Penobscot River. The tension builds throughout the narrative and I was very involved in the overall tale and characters. 4 stars – CE Williams
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Tense, riveting, and paced in such a way that you are absolutely blindsided by the secrets brimming in this dark tale.

Lena has been living in and running a river lodge in Maine with her two sons, Jonah and Luke, along with their family friend, Coop, Jonah and Luke always knew they were adopted, and now in their early twenties, Jonah desperately wants to find out about his birth parents, while Luke is content with his life as it is. Lena is desperate to block any information Jonah may uncover. But when friends from Lena's past come to vacation at the lodge, everything implodes when Jonah claims he's found out some shocking information that no one wants to face.

This was one great read!  Publishes November 8, 2022, from Crooked Lane Books.
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Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the copy of Dark Rivers to Cross. I liked the premise of this book! How far will a mother go to protect her kids and herself? The story unfolds at a snail’s pace, and then everything happens at once. I wish there had been more tension/suspense throughout the whole book. I also wish how domestic violence and sexual abuse back in the 90s was often swept under the rug and women didn’t really have a voice was explained more. If you enjoy a leisurely beginning before the action starts you will love this book. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4
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Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an egalley in exchange for an honest review

Although this book isn't slated for publication until November, I wanted to make sure that I jumped ahead of the September archive date. Dark Rivers to Cross is about a mother with secrets and her two adult sons( well one more than the other) that are interested in knowing more about their early childhood years. As the novel jumped from the present to the past, it soon became evident that I knew the entire back story half way through the book. I did read this in one sitting and for that I will give it a three star rating BUT I felt that this thriller didn't have a lot of thrills( not sure if that makes sense- haha!).

I must confess that as I learned Lena's backstory I felt a lot of compassion for her as I felt it was an authentic and realistic situation. I think what was harder for me was feeling compassion for Jonah and Luke who when things are revealed make certain decisions that irritated me. But that's my personal take as a reader!🤷‍♀️







Expected Publication Date 08/11/22
Goodreads review published 28/07/22
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Seriously speaking.........

Dark Rivers to Cross tied me up in knots.......and not in a good way.  It pounded the drum of a "thriller" again and again and again until I wanted to yell, "Make it stop already."

This worked in The Island, but it doesn't work here. (I'm the lone voice in the desert on this one.) The element of "pursuit" is a crafty one. But when it is the step-child of very bad decisions and treading waters to avoid the receiving end of eyes wide shut, then you have nothing but bangin' into walls as a result. Hyperventilating can only go on for so long.

Lena Blackwell is on the run with two small babies. She ends up in a rundown encampment called Church's Overlook in Millinocket, Maine. Out of money and out of options, she breaks into a cabin and sets up housekeeping thanks to the kindness of the owner, Coop. Coop asks no questions and provides Lena with the ability to go underground.

Years later, the babies have turned into young men, Jonah and Luke. Jonah is hellbent on becoming  a film maker and is determined to find out about his early beginnings. Lena has told the boys that they were adopted and that the files are closed. He presses Luke, the easier going of the two, to dig into Lena's filing cabinet. What begins to unravel is Lena's greatest fear........that secrets will come tumbling out into the light.

Lynne Reeves implements the whiplash back and forth of time elements here. We visit the early on of Lena's background. It is so mixed with "shockers" that are like puzzle pieces hammered to fit the scenario presented. repeatedly. Like Michael who won't ever die in the Halloween movie series. And those rivers to cross are filled with nothing but piranhas and black mambas. The Penobscot River never looked so treacherous.

Dark Rivers to Cross had so much potential. But it seems like more and more authors are just depending on the thrill to float their novels. This one suffers from overuse. Logic and believability don't have a seat at the table. But I'd encourage you to reach for this one. The majority of reviewers thus far have been taken with it and you may, too. Jump in. But mind those piranhas and black mambas drawing close.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Crooked Lane Books and to Lynne Reeves for the opportunity.
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This had so many awesome reviews however it totally fell short for me. I definitely was intrigued by the story but the ending just kind of happened and I was expecting more.

I did not feel connected to the characters much, not alot of character development by any means.
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While it started out  mildly interesting, I thought it would pick up, but for me it just did not. I didn't love the plot and it was just too slow to keep my interest. I didn't find the writing to be bad, just could not connect.
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