Friday, April 10, 2009

The Rivers Run Dry by Sibella Giorello

The Rivers Run Dry

The Rivers Run Dry
by Sibella Giorello

Trade Paperback: 321 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
First Released: 2009

Author Website

Source: Review copy from publisher

Back Cover Description:
When a routine case turns deadly, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon finds her career on the rocks and her life at stake.

Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is good at her job, but not as good at bureau politics. As one of the few females on the team, she finds herself in a strange land when she's transferred from Richmond to drought-stricken Seattle. When a hiker suddenly goes missing and a ransom note arrives, Raleigh realizes there's no time for transitions. Vowing to find the missing college girl, she must rely on her forensic geology skills to uncover the truth, leaving no stone unturned.

Gritty and poetic, with an evocative sense of place, a quirky cast of characters, a fast-twisting plot, and a compelling, complicated heroine, this superbly crafted mystery will keep you reading compulsively as hope runs short, the clock runs down, and the rivers run dry.

This book is a Christian suspense novel. There was plenty of conflict and trouble in this novel, both from allies and enemies, so the suspense started high and stayed high.

The setting was vividly realized which created a sense that this really could have happened. However, for me, the author's frequent use of "poetic language" tended to obscure the descriptions as often as not. I'd have to stop and think about what the author meant to convey, which took me out of the story. This didn't hamper the pacing much, but, after a while, I did find myself skimming over any adjective, adverb, or metaphor that didn't immediately create a mental image in my head.

The characters were all interesting and felt realistic and varied. While Raleigh Harmon is a Christian, she's initially not completely comfortable with her faith or God due to recent events.

God is a subtle but important element in this novel. It isn't preachy, though, so I suspect most non-Christian readers would enjoy the book.

The author does an excellent job of building conflict, but she twice fails on the follow-through near the beginning of the novel. She builds the conflict in the scene, hits the highest point, and the jumps out of the scene. It's like the author said, "I'm not sure what happens next, but I got all the important points across so I'll stop here and let the reader fill in their own details." Granted, the scene didn't need to be played out in full detail, but I wanted to know what happened. Without a summary sentence or two in transition, these two jumps jerked me out of the story.

Despite the minor problems, the book was a very good read. There was no cussing or explicit sex. Overall, I'd rate this novel as "good, clean fun."

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Chapter One
It was early October when I drove east toward the mountains outside Seattle with tainted emeralds on my mind. The autumn sun gilded birch leaves and the blue sky appeared polished by a crisp and steady wind. But the green in the trees stole the show.

Armies of cedar and fir and hemlock marched up the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, long limbs glowing with a peculiar shade of green I'd only seen once before: when a six-carat emerald rolled across a stainless steel examination tray in the FBI's materials analysis lab. That gem's green facets glowed with a hue so verdant, so luscious, it whispered sibilant promises in the ears of greedy men.

Just before the town of Issaquah, I turned south off Interstate 90 and followed Sunset Way to the western side of Cougar Mountain. My car windows were open and the air smelled of pine needles and dry curling leaves and iron-rich soil warmed by the sun. This was supposed to be a routine visit, a courtesy call by the FBI for the local PD. But I've learned not to judge anything by appearance; that gorgeous emerald in the FBI lab cost three men their lives.

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