Down River, a novel by best-selling and Edgar award-winning author John Hart, is a web of twists and turns right up until the end. The novel begins with our protagonist Adam Chase heading toward home, a place called Rowan County in South Carolina and a place he feared returning to after staying away from it for years. In Rowan County, Adam Chase has many years of negative history and he fears coming back will only open up old wounds, but what he doesn't realize is that coming back to a place so full of pain and old ghosts maybe very well give him fresh wounds to go along with the old.
When he first comes into town Adam is met with a violent homecoming. That's where it all begins again for him and it's all down river from there (see what we did there?). He finds out that many of the people of Rowan County still believe he committed the murder he was acquitted of five years before--this murder being the reason why he left in the first place. Adam was accused of murder by his own stepmother, Janice, and kicked out of the house by his father, Jacob. He has two step-siblings, twins, Miriam and Jamie.
Before he left for that five years he had a girlfriend named Robin, a family, a job and a inherited portion his father's thousand acre farm, and friends. Now his girlfriend hates him for leaving her, his family doesn't trust him, his father bought him out of his portion of the farm, and it seem he has not a friend in the world. Not only this, but just as he's arrived back home like the prodigal son, violence and murder comes to visit Rowan County once again, putting him under even deeper suspicion. Tom Wolfe wrote, "You can't go home again," and for Adam Chase every second he spends back in Rowan County seems to prove that statement right.
Down River won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2008. It's really a great book written in the style of noir. It's a family drama and mystery. John Hart is adept at suspense and leaves the reader hanging, always wanting more after every chapter. Down River is packed with lush description and an immersive plot. It's a really addictive and great read.