The River by Peter Heller

This story is set in the wilderness of sub-Hudson Bay, Canada, and involves two best friends on a late-season, multi-week canoe journey to the bay.

In a sense, this is a retelling of Deliverance, a fact which is boldly stated in the narrative itself. But The River is more than just a buddy-adventure survival story. A crime as been committed out in the wilderness. Or has it? The friends are caught up first in speculation, and later in attempts to save a life.

The friendship between Jake and Wynn is almost improbable, but a central component of the story. These two college pals seem unusually capable and well-prepared for any inevitability in a remote setting, except for the lack of a satellite phone. They read each other with particular sensitivity and mesh well as paddling and camping partners.

The River is rich in natural settings, the thrill of a challenging canoe trip, and suspense. If you like a gripping page-turner, and don’t mind some heartbreaking scenes, you’ll find this a worthy investment of your time.

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