Review: The Schoharie by Diane M Johnson

The Details

Publisher: Book Bay
Published: August 27th, 2017
Genres: Realistic fiction with supernatural elements
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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GoodReads Blurb

Thirty years ago a major Thruway bridge was built across a small creek near the town of Fort Hunter, New York. It had its problems with construction delays and local protests, but it was built, and it was strong.

Thirty years later the bridge collapses when spring floods transform the meager creek into a raging torrent. The collapse takes several lives and almost includes the life of Aaron Bonner, volunteer firefighter, who swears he saw a vengeful Indian spirit take the bridge down. He just needs to convince Sheriff Ben Harrigan that the same Indian spirit seeks more vengeance. But the sheriff knows that Aaron is just like his father, who tried to sabotage the bridge when it was first built, while in the throes of a mental breakdown. Has Aaron gone crazy? Or does the sheriff have something to hide?

A near death experience triggers Aaron’s sensitivity to supernatural forces at work in the town of Fort Hunter. But his father’s history of mental instability makes Aaron doubt his own sanity. He confides in Sheriff Harrigan, the father of his girlfriend, in a moment of desperation– but memories are long in small towns like Fort Hunter, and the sheriff remembers well Joe Bonner’s attempt to sabotage the original construction of the bridge. He was there. And it was his fault.

Harrigan knows the town isn’t being attacked by an Indian spirit seeking revenge. He knows Aaron is suffering from the same mental illness as his father. But when other things begin to happen– things that can’t be explained by a man experiencing a nervous breakdown– the sheriff must come to terms with his own role in Joe Bonner’s mental collapse in order to save himself, his daughter’s boyfriend and the rest of the town.

My Review

Full Disclosure, I “know” Diane. We were on the same Gishwhes team in 2013, and we have remained Facebook friends in the years since and she is brilliant and funny and a fantastic author.

This book dives into the dynamics of a small town and the characters within the small town and how history haunts a town forever– literally and figuratively. As someone from a small town that has a similar make-up as the town in the book, I found it so relatable. There are family feuds that make no sense, a highway that was built through town and rerouted all the traffic around the town where I grew up much like Fort Hunter. That’s what pulled me into the story. These characters that set up the framework of the town.

For me, because I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, I had a little bit of a time getting into it. I was reading it on my kindle app at lunch at work, so I was a little bit distracted, but when I sat down and focused and read, I flew through the last half of the book in an afternoon. Once I got to the supernatural elements, and the mystery of the story, I couldn’t put it down.

Johnson does a wonderful job painting these true to life characters, its written all in third person, but the POV shifts through the different main characters in the town. We get a three-dimensional view of each character because we are seeing them from the inside and the outside. We see people through people who don’t like them and people who do as well as how they are by themselves. It was easy for me to feel connected to each of the characters, find something to sympathize with.

The supernatural element of the story was incredibly interesting. The way that Johnson inserts it makes it feel real, the way that ghost stories have that ring of truth. It was fun watching the characters piece it together and I as the reader did my best to fit the pieces into place.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by what I read. This kind of book isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it was a great read, I loved it. I can’t wait to see what Diane comes up with next.

A warning though; there is pet death. People also die, but pet death.

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

 

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