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River of Blood


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River of Blood is a dark, gritty, nihilistic crime story about police corruption and family legacies.

With a title like River of Blood, this novel by Skitz O'Fuel is exactly what it promises, it is dark, cynical, and sobering. The main character Sean is engaging and likable and his fall is truly heartbreaking.

Sean is the main appeal of this story. For most of it, he is a shining white knight in a sea of corruption. When he breaks in the story, I honestly felt disbelieving disappointment. So I applaud the author for creating a character that I felt connected to. Just to address the elephant in the room, the current political climate (circa 2020) also colored my reading experience. Police corruption is presented as normal and even futile to fight in the story.

For this reason, it could trigger some people.

My major complaint of the book is its odd structure. O'Fuel divided the book into three sections. These sections are best described as "Sean's life before 'the force," "Sean's life on 'the force," and "the current timeline." The first two sections are told in a detached, omniscient, present tense style. Which, I found very off-putting. There was a lot of telling and no showing. Sean is the only character with real depth.

That's another thing, there are a lot of characters in this book. The story briefly follows Sean's grandfather, father, and uncle. The reader is introduced to temporary characters who eventually cross paths with Sean, but are never given real inner thoughts. It slowed my reading process and I had to take time to sort out the narrative.

The last section flew for me, it was written from a first-person perspective. Sean explains what is happening to him and occasionally he will flashback to conversations I would have liked to have seen in the previous sections. Truthfully, I don't understand why the first two sections weren't written as journal entries or conversations with other characters. That's just my opinion.

If you like things like Death Wish or The Brave One, you'll enjoy this book. It is an unflinching look at the "Blue Wall of Silence" and family expectations. For anybody who has felt like the family black sheep, you'll find a kindred in Sean. This is not an idealized depiction of the world of a legacy law-enforcement family. It's realistic and at times it is depressing. If you don't mind a bit of a downer, then pick up this book.

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I am a freelance virtual assistant and a content writer. My favorite type of work is book reviews. I have been writing since I was 12 and I just love the literary world in general.

About the author

Post-Anarchist author and musician from Texas. Please don't hold it against me. view profile

Published on May 03, 2020

200000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Literary Fiction

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