Silence on Cold River by Casey Dunn

Review by Terri Coss, adult services librarian at the Hillsborough branch

For her debut novel, Dunn writes an atmospheric thriller in a four part harmony. Four people’s lives intersect in a great wood near a rural north Georgia town. Eddie Stevens is a distraught father who cannot stop searching for his teenage daughter, Hazel, who disappeared a year ago. Martin Locklear, newly hired as the police detective in town, searches for redemption from a past mistake. Ama Shoemaker, a successful defense attorney, seeks a brief escape by going for a run along the forest trails. Now Ama is the latest victim of the sinister man using the forest as his hunting ground. 

All of the characters have some of their past to share, but the entire life of the killer is gradually revealed. You see him grow from young boy to dangerous adult, moving through the world to a completely unique rhythm. As his past becomes known, the present day situation shifts from unsettling to dire. The author keeps the tone and tempo of the story pitch perfect as these four lives weave together into a complete picture of what is happening in this dark wood. The crescendo is so affecting, you may want to give up listening to music for a day and appreciate the power of silence.