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Broken River
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
23 posts | 16 read | 44 to read
Following a string of affairs, Karl and Eleanor are giving their marriage one last shot by moving with their twelve-year old daughter Irina from Brooklyn to a newly renovated, apparently charming old house outside the upstate New York town of Broken River. Before their arrival, the house stood empty for over a decade, the reason why no secret. Twelve years previously, a brutal double murder took place there, a young couple killed in front of their daughter. The crime was never solved, but theories have always swirled, and most locals consider the house cursed, its dereliction symbolic of the indelible stain of violence that occurred there. The family may have left the deceptions of their city life behind them, but all three are still lying to each other. Karl soon reverts to his old cheating habits. Eleanor and Irina hide their fascination with the house's ghoulish history from one another, taking perverse pleasure in separately researching their new home's bloody past. But Karl's digressions and Eleanor and Irina's unwelcome investigations have consequences, and before long their duplicitous actions unleash forces none of them could possibly have anticipated, putting them in mortal danger. This new novel by America's master of literary rule-breaking is part thriller, part family drama, part gothic horror noir - and like all J.Robert Lennon's novels, defies these categorisations to stand most of all as a work of unflinching moral purpose, showing the consequences of human deceitfulness, and the sometimes dreadful force the past can exert on the present.
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Tamra
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

Page turning literary thriller. I enjoyed it @Cathythoughts!

I‘m not sure what to make of “the observer” though. 🤔 Interesting it turns out the women are the “better” characters.

Cathythoughts Yes , literary thriller. The Observer is watching it all , I‘m not sure either. A witness of some kind. I‘m reading another one of his now , Subdivision, and there‘s another observer, only it‘s a crow this time. I like this writer though 👍🏻♥️ (edited) 1mo
Tamra @Cathythoughts the narrator‘s whine for the daughter was super annoying. Apropos for 12 year old whining. 😜 I will look out for your review of Subdivision. Definitely an entertaining writer and wasn‘t a gimmicky thriller like some. 1mo
Cathythoughts Thank god ! Not a gimmicky thriller… I‘m so over them. I had a terrible dislike for the 12 year olds father. Interestingly I have strong feelings ( of compassion) for a character in Subdivision. This writer is making me feel strong feelings. 1mo
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Tamra @Cathythoughts oh he was just plain disgusting! 🤢 1mo
jlhammar I think I need this one - sounds good! 1mo
Tamra @jlhammar I thought it was entertaining - hope you do too! 1mo
BarbaraBB He is such a good writer. One of my current favorites! 1mo
Tamra @BarbaraBB I‘m going to have to check out more. 😁 1mo
52 likes1 stack add8 comments
review
Cathythoughts
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

This is the story of a house in the woods where a murder happens. The house remains empty for many years, until a new family move in hoping to repair their relationships and their lives.
At times I wanted to bail because it was really very scary, and because of my intense dislike for a certain character. But I was too caught up in the story, so well written and unputdownable. The house is a character too and also the snow.

BarbaraBB I loved this one for all the reasons you mention 😉 1mo
Tamra Oh, this sounds terrifically eerie! Stacked! 1mo
Lesliereadsalot Definitely reading this one! 1mo
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batsy Nice review 💜 Been on my tbr for awhile and I need to bump this up! 1mo
TrishB Been on my pile for a while. Saying it‘s very scary makes me want to read now! 1mo
sarahbarnes I really liked this one, too. I agree it was very creepy in parts. I also loved the house as a character. 1mo
Cathythoughts @BarbaraBB I see your reviews of this author. Would you recommend another to me ? When you get a chance XXX 1mo
Cathythoughts @Tamra @Lesliereadsalot @batsy @Trishb Whenever you may get there , I do look forward to your reviews. You have been warned ! It‘s edgy and scary. 1mo
Cathythoughts @sarahbarnes Isn‘t he a great writer. It makes all the difference. A bit too graphic for me in some ways , but having said that, I‘ll read another book of his shortly 😬😂 1mo
Cathythoughts @TrishB Oh no! 😂 I‘ll be interested to see if you find as scary as I did , whenever you may get there xx 1mo
Cathythoughts @BarbaraBB Thankyou for those .. I‘ll definitely read one soon ( once I recover 😂) He‘s a good writer 👍🏻 1mo
BarbaraBB @Cathythoughts I agree. And all of his books (the ones I read) are completely different. 1mo
Ruthiella Great review! If I hadn‘t already stacked it, I‘d have done so now. I really liked Subdivision. 1mo
Cathythoughts @Ruthiella 👍🏻❤️ Great to hear another like for Subdivision.. I‘m getting it ! 1mo
CarolynM Nice review🙂 I‘m not good at scary, though, so I don‘t think this one‘s for me. 1mo
Reggie Did you say really, really, scary, you say? lol, stacked! 1mo
Cathythoughts @CarolynM No not for you Carolyn 😳🙈 .. I nearly bailed and I love a good thriller 😄 1mo
Cathythoughts @Reggie I did say really scary 🙈😂! I‘ll look forward to your thoughts 👍🏻♥️ (edited) 1mo
Lindy This definitely sounds too scary for me. I‘m glad you enjoyed it. 3w
69 likes6 stack adds21 comments
review
BarbaraBB
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

This is such a cool book. A family moves to a deserted house where a murder took place years before. A sex obsessed father, a mother who tries to save their marriage and their smart lovely kid, who is intrigued by the murder. More characters are introduced as is the sleepy town of Broken River, almost ghost town like. The setting, the atmosphere, the characters, the plot, the genre bending: it‘s all so good!!

Pic: Rabat, Morocco

squirrelbrain You‘re loving your Lennon books! ❤️ 13mo
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BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain Yes! I‘ve read three so far and loved each of them! 13mo
jhod I also loved this one, I should seek more Lennon out... 13mo
Cinfhen I was there too, in Rabat 😉cool picture 13mo
Librarybelle Stacking! 13mo
batsy I have this stacked, I see. Great review! 13mo
BarbaraBB @batsy Thanks! He is such a good author. 13mo
BarbaraBB @jhod You should! I‘ve been reading his backlist lately and he doesn‘t disappoint! 13mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen Cool place, that square. I really liked Rabat! 13mo
sarahbarnes Yay! So glad you enjoyed it. I need to figure out which book of his I want to read next. 13mo
BarbaraBB @sarahbarnes I loved it! Have you read 13mo
BarbaraBB Or were you the one recommending it to me 🤣🤦🏻‍♀️ @sarahbarnes (edited) 13mo
sarahbarnes I think maybe I did! 😂 I did really like that one, too. I‘m thinking maybe I‘ll read Happyland or Castle next? 13mo
BarbaraBB @sarahbarnes You definitely did, I checked it. Both your suggestions sound good too! I am having this one on my shelves 13mo
sarahbarnes Oh, that one sounds really good too! 13mo
Centique Stacked! Great review and amazing photo 😍 12mo
79 likes7 stack adds19 comments
blurb
BarbaraBB
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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A Valentine gift to myself 🤣 #backlisting

squirrelbrain Your new favourite author! ❤️ 14mo
LeahBergen Perfect! 😆 14mo
TrishB Great gifts ♥️ I think I have Broken River somewhere! 14mo
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BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain Lol, yes 😀 14mo
Megabooks Happy Valentine‘s!! Great choices! 14mo
sarahbarnes Yes!! ♥️♥️ 14mo
67 likes6 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

I couldn‘t put this one down. An immersive read with a great balance of creepy and funny, and with fantastic characters. Such a good story, too. I‘ve now loved both books I‘ve read by Lennon.

Ruthiella This is definitely on my list! I loved 1y
sarahbarnes @Ruthiella I did too! And after that @vivastory recommended this one. I really enjoyed it! 1y
vivastory I'm so happy that you liked this one! The narrative voice in it's always stuck with me. 1y
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vivastory Another one by Lennon that I liked (although admittedly my least favorite of the 3 that I've read) is 1y
sarahbarnes @vivastory I‘m also curious about this one and put it on hold at the library 1y
vivastory That one does sound intriguing! 1y
BarbaraBB Familiar is good! Now starting Broken River. Your review made me! 13mo
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sarahbarnes
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Having a pretty good Saturday. 😊 I‘m loving this book so far! @vivastory I think you recommended it after Subdivision. Great rec!

vivastory I'm glad to see that it's working for you! I hope you have a great weekend 📚☕ 1y
21 likes1 comment
blurb
vivastory
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Day 18 of #21DaysofHorror
One of my goals with some of these posts was to highlight books that are under the radar. Such as my pick for today: J. Robert Lennon's Broken River. In a bid to save their marriage Karl & Eleanor move from Brooklyn to the rural town of Brooklyn River with their daughter Irina. Irina, along with her novelist mother, dives into the bloody past of the house. What is so remarkable about Lennon's book & why I included it👇

vivastory 4 years after reading it is how clever it is with the ghost story. As the NY Times review said of his book, “Broken River is almost, but not quite, a ghost town, and its inhabitants are watched over by something that is almost, but not quite, a ghost. Lennon calls this mysterious entity the Observer. In the brilliant first chapter, in which two nameless people are killed by other nameless people, this watchful something is, the author tells us, 2y
vivastory “merely the idea of an observer: an invisible presence without corporeal substance, incapable of engaging emotionally with the sounds that reach the house.” With the last post on Litsy about this unusual & humorous ghost story being 4 years ago, I think this def fits the bill of an under the radar novel! (edited) 2y
Reggie I have never heard of this(the whole point of this post), this sounds good. Have you read My Heart is a Chainsaw? Because every time nameless people are killed in the beginning I think about that book and what it means. 2y
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vivastory @Reggie I haven't read Jones latest yet. There are so many newish horror releases I need to catch up on! I'm looking forward to it though bc we usually agree about his books 2y
vivastory @Reggie Lennon also wrote a novel that somewhat reminded me of The Animators. In a good way 2y
LeahBergen This sounds good! Stacked. 2y
vivastory @LeahBergen The family dynamic in it is really quirky & funny. I think you'll dig it 2y
61 likes3 stack adds7 comments
review
reneelyons
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

Eerie and unique, I loved this book!

Full review: https://reneereadsbooks.wordpress.com/

vivastory I really liked this one, definitely under the radar 6y
21 likes2 comments
review
mauveandrosysky
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

What a cool book. This is not a fast-paced psychological thriller, but a clever and slow-burning domestic drama with the fatalism of a Greek tragedy.

Lennon's writing is cerebral and metaphysical, exploring the nature of cause and effect, the line between existential randomness and predetermined outcomes. How much control do we possess over our own lives, limited beings that we are? Are we all just part of a meaningless and fatalistic narrative?

LeahBergen I'll be picking this one up! 7y
EvieBee Mmm. Sounds very good. Was this in any way supernatural? I can't read those. Keep me up at night. 7y
mauveandrosysky @EvieBee sort of. There's a character called the Observer who is like an omnipresent third-person narrator throughout. The Observer may or may not be a ghost, it's up for interpretation. It never really comes across as threatening though. The worst stuff that happens in the book is firmly rooted in reality. 7y
34 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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mauveandrosysky
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Well, yeah, why do you think I read so much? 😏

blurb
jhod
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Hairdresser is perfect place to get reading in. I'm a spacelady. Really enjoying this one so far #currentlyreading

Ashley_Nicoletto I always read while my color processes. Perfect uninterrupted time! Enjoy! 7y
CouronneDhiver I'm doing the exact same thing right now 7y
BarbaraBB Me too 😂 7y
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review
FountainBookstore
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

J. Robert Lennon was a great guest at the shop and I really enjoyed this unclassifiable read. Got some Twin Peaks action going on. Liked it a lot. Can't wait to hear what's he's up to next!

review
Books_Wine_Repeat
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Mehso-so

Karl, Eleanor & their daughter, Irina move to Broken River after learning Karl's infidelities. They move into a house that has an unsolved double murder. This is also told from the perspective of 'The Observer' who's a ghost/spirit that dwells in the home but can move around as it wants. It has a strong beginning but kind of meanders in the middle. I didn't find this suspenseful at all nor was this a psychological thriller. It was funny at times.

Megabooks Sounds...different 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7y
Books_Wine_Repeat @Booksandcooks I was disappointed it was categorized as thriller and it was not... not even a little bit. 7y
50 likes2 comments
blurb
ReadingEnvy
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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This month's subscription selection from Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville, NC... I have never heard of it, which is exactly why I have this subscription! I think this is the first thriller they have sent. #bookmail

wellreadredhead I love Malaprops! My favorite bookstore in Asheville 7y
BarbaraTheBibliophage Another Malaprops fan here! Hope you love the book. 7y
RealBooks4ever Sounds like a good story! 😻 7y
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LeahBergen I thought this sounded good (I stacked it from a different post 🤔). (edited) 7y
ReadingEnvy @collegecatlady They're the best! Small but mighty! I consider them my local indie store even though they are an hour away. 7y
ReadingEnvy @LeahBergen yes j had mine a few days when I started seeing it - I have friends with the same subscription who live farther so the books take longer so out of respect I wait a few days to post the book. It was weird because in the meantime I started seeing it herem 7y
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review
vivastory
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

A smart tale of dysfunctional marriage with thriller & supernatural elements. Lennon's voice, an opinionated third person narrator, called to mind Victor Lavalle (especially "The Devil in Silver"). "Broken River" features great characters, including an engaging pre-adolescent character. Lennon writes memorably about family relationships & the basic human craving for narrative.

BookishMarginalia Great review! 7y
vivastory @BookishMarginalia Thanks! I was very surprised by this one. I had never read J. Robert Lennon before 7y
BookishMarginalia I hadn't heard of this book til now, but your review makes me want to read it! 7y
saresmoore This sounds really good. I like the style in the passages you shared. 7y
vivastory @saresmoore It has an amazing opening chapter. Really unique. 7y
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vivastory
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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TobeyTheScavengerMonk This is amazing. 7y
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vivastory
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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RealBooks4ever Whoa! So are you enjoying the story? 😬 7y
vivastory @RealBooks4ever I'm loving it so far 7y
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blurb
vivastory
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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The relationship between twelve year old Irina & her parents is one of the funniest I have read in awhile.

Books_Wine_Repeat 😂😂😂 7y
LeahBergen This sounds great! Stacked. 7y
merelybookish "Dont marry an asshole." ?? 7y
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Mccall0113 I tell my daughter stuff like this all the time! Lol 7y
saresmoore Hahaha! I love this! 7y
saresmoore Ooh, and a haunted house? 7y
Bklover This sounds like me! 7y
vivastory @LeahBergen @saresmoore I'm only 40 pages in, but I'm loving it 7y
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CherylDeFranceschi
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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Lily and I are rudely ignoring the SO while I read and she snuggles down. That's just bad manners. Of course, the SO is actually reading, too.

DebinHawaii Lily seems to have ignoring down to a fine art! 🐱❤️ 7y
73 likes1 comment
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CherylDeFranceschi
Broken River | J Robert Lennon
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The final haul. Home. Holy cats- that was the bomb!

LeahBergen Wow! 💗💗 7y
saresmoore Yes. 7y
Hooked_on_books Drooling over here 😍 7y
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ChasingOm Wow! 7y
rubyslippersreads Amazing (plus I love the 😸 lamp.) 7y
ValerieAndBooks Amazing!! What an experience for you 😊! How did you get them all home? Did you drive or fly? 7y
CherylDeFranceschi @ValerieAndBooks Thank goodness we drove! My 2 colleagues had equal hauls. 7y
Hobbinol Zowee! How wonderful! I just stared at your pile of books like it was an altar! A sight to behold❤️❗ 7y
CherylDeFranceschi @Hobbinol It was pretty magical. People giving you books. And learning bookish things. I am now filled with erudition. And Malbec. There was a lot of wine! 7y
britt_brooke Wow, this is awesome! 7y
DebinHawaii Wow! That is awesome!! 📚📚📚❤️ 7y
91 likes11 comments