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Thief River Falls


Thief River Falls

THIEF RIVER FALLS is a story within a story of a novel. We see this on the first few pages when we are treated to an excerpt from the bestselling book, Thief River Falls, by award-winning thriller author Lisa Power. It is just dynamite and makes readers hungry for more.

We are put directly in a scene where a young boy, thought to be dead, finds himself covered with dirt in a grave. To make things that much more interesting, he is buried on top of the body of his mother, who is definitely dead. The child recognizes the voices of the men who must have put him in this deadly predicament, and he knows that they were the same individuals he had witnessed committing a murder.

After reading this excerpt, we are immediately thrust into the life of its author. It's raining, so Lisa seeks shelter in her home. She lives alone as we learn that her husband, Danny, passed away a few years earlier. Roaming around her property are some policemen, armed, who then knock on her door. For whatever reason, Lisa does not answer and remains quiet and out of sight. She also notices that the officers are not from her town but from Thief River Falls, which she used for the title of her novel.

"THIEF RIVER FALLS reads like a whirlwind and ends way too soon for readers like myself who wanted to remain glued to these pages."

When Lisa goes outside after the police have left, she finds a young boy, who is extremely frightened and does not remember his name. What he does remember paints a horrifying picture. For instance, he recalls being chased by two policemen who yelled, “Kill the boy!” Lisa names him Purdue and promises that she will do all she can to help. She calls on a cop she had met with years ago when she needed background for one of her crime thrillers. She also contacts one of her best friends, Laurel, who works as a nurse and could be a voice of reason for her in this unexpected situation.

The more Lisa learns about Purdue, the more dangerous things seem to get. She already has a bit of a complex about herself that comes from all the death and misfortune that has happened to her family, which she refers to as the “Dark Star.” She is on the outs with her wealthy and powerful father-in-law, Denis, who still cannot seem to forgive her for the firefight she did not prevent Danny from going to that claimed his life. What began as a seemingly uneventful night for Lisa becomes a wild trek around her town as well as the actual Thief River Falls. Whatever happened to this little boy with no name seems to have occurred there.

The intensity and setup of THIEF RIVER FALLS reminded me of some of the earlier works of Dean Koontz and his many pseudonyms --- a child with a mysterious power or secret, the adult who is thrust into the plot to help him or her, and a magical dog, most likely a Golden Retriever. Alright, Brian Freeman's book does not have any canines with special powers, but it does possess a plot that slowly becomes a labyrinth of mystery, where the events happening in real life begin to resemble those from Lisa's novel.

I will not explain any further lest I reveal any spoilers. All I can say is that THIEF RIVER FALLS reads like a whirlwind and ends way too soon for readers like myself who wanted to remain glued to these pages. The finale is brilliantly crafted and even brought a sniffle to my nose. This is highly recommended for those who enjoy their psychological thrillers infused with plenty of smarts and non-stop action.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on February 14, 2020

Thief River Falls
by Brian Freeman