So Cold The River by Michael Kortya – Audiobook Review

So Cold the River by Michael Kortya, narrated by Robert Petkoff

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After his attempt to be a famous Hollywood filmmaker fizzles out, Eric Shaw finds himself in Chicago, making films – essentially slide shows – for events like weddings and funerals. Based on his work for one funeral – in which he includes a seemingly-insignificant picture that turns out to have been extremely significant for the deceased – he is approached by a woman who wants him to do a documentary about the early life of her husband’s dying grandfather.

Eric travels to French Lick, Indiana, home of the newly restored resort hotel, carrying with him a bottle of the region’s famous Pluto water. Strange things begin happening, however, and what seemed to be a simple documentary is now a mystery that Eric must unravel for his own safety.

Thoughts on the story:

This was my first Michael Kortya, but I doubt it will be my last. Eric’s character was complex and relate-able and truly human. The story built slowly enough that events seemed to happen naturally, but not so slowly that I was every bored. I love the pitch that he built to, and I was rapt by the story that Kortya created; he balanced the supernatural aspects perfectly as well.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Let’s add Robert Petkoff to my list of narrators on whom I have an audio crush. He has an amazing voice that makes you just want to melt, for one thing. For another, he does a fabulous job differentiating between the voices of different characters without making it sound unnatural, as if he is trying to hard. I don’t always appreciate sound effects other than the narrator’s voice in my audiobooks, but there are a couple of scenes where Eric hears wind or a violin, and Hachette Audio did a fabulous job weaving those sounds into Petkoff’s narration so that as the listener I felt I was in Eric’s head, hearing the things that he was hearing.


“So Cold The River” was sort of a suspense-y, mystery, not-quite-thriller sort of book. Those don’t always make for my favorite reads, but this one was both beautifully and artfully written and expertly narrated, and I definitely recommend it.

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This review was done with a book received as an audio download from Hachette.
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