Excerpt from Down River by John Hart, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Down River

by John Hart

Down River
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2007, 336 pages
    Sep 2008, 384 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

“Who is it?” My throat felt raw.

“Zebulon Faith.”

It was Danny’s father, a quick-tempered man who knew more than most about a lot of things: the inside of the county jail, narrowmindedness, the best way to beat his half-grown son.

“Just a second,” I called out.

“I wanted to talk to you.”

“Hang on.”

I went to the sink and threw some water on my face, pushed the nightmare down. In the mirror, I looked drawn-out, older than my twenty-eight years. I toweled off as I moved to the door, felt the blood flow in me, and pulled it open. The sun hung low. Late afternoon. The old man’s face looked hot and brittle.

“Hello, Mr. Faith. It’s been a long time.”

He was basically unchanged: a little more whittled down, but just as unpleasant. Wasted eyes moved over my face, and his lips twisted under dull whiskers. The smile made my skin crawl.

“You look the same,” he said. “I figured time would have taken some of the pretty-boy off your face.”

I swallowed my distaste. “I was looking for Danny.”

His next words came slowly, in a hard drawl. “When Manny said it was Adam Chase, I didn’t believe him. I said no way would Adam Chase be staying here. Not with that big old mansion full of family just sitting out there at the river. Not with all that Chase money. But things change, I reckon, and here you are.” He lowered his chin and foul breath puffed out. “I didn’t think you had the nerve to come back.”

I kept my sudden anger in check. “About Danny,” I said.

He waved the comment away as if it annoyed him. “He’s sitting on a beach in Florida somewhere. The little shit. Danny’s fine.” He stopped speaking, closing down the subject of his son with an offhand finality. For a long moment he just stared at me. “Jesus Christ.” He shook his head. “Adam Chase. In my place.”

I rolled my shoulders. “One place is as good as another.”

The old man laughed cruelly. “This motel is a rattrap. It’s sucking the life out of me.”

“If you say so.”

“Are you here to talk to your father?” he asked, a sudden glint in his eyes.

“I plan to see him.”

“That’s not what I meant. Are you here to talk to him? I mean to say, five years ago you were the crown prince of Rowan County.” A despicable grin. “Then you had your little trouble and you’re just up and gone. Near as I can tell, you’ve never been back. There’s got to be a reason after all this time, and talking sense into that prideful, stubborn son of a bitch is the best one I can think of.”

“If you have something to say, Mr. Faith, why don’t you just say it?”

He stepped closer, brought the smell of old sweat with him. His eyes were hard gray over a drinker’s nose, and his voice thinned. “Don’t be a smart-ass with me, Adam. I remember back when you was just as much a shit-brain kid as my boy, Danny, and the two of you together didn’t have the sense to dig a hole in the dirt with a shovel. I’ve seen you drunk and I’ve seen you bleeding on a barroom floor.” He looked from my feet to my face. “You’ve got a fancy car and a big-city smell on you, but you don’t look no better than anyone else. Not to me. And you can tell your old man I said that, too. Tell him that he’s running out of friends.”

“I don’t think I like your tone.”

“I tried to be polite, but you’ll never change, you Chases. Think you’re so much better than everyone else around here, just because you have all that land and because you’ve been in this county since creation. None of it means you’re better than me. Or better than my boy.”

Excerpted from Down River by John Hart. Copyright © 2007 by John Hart. A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin's Minotaur. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hag-Seed
    by Margaret Atwood
    There's a scene in The Tempest that many critics have concluded is indicative of Shakespeare&#...
  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.