The River Below by Bonnie Hearn Hill

A tale of suppressed secrets, fractured families … and murder

When a mangled car is pulled from the river, containing bloodstains and a gun, the sense of safety is shattered in Tessa’s Californian hometown. Tessa, who works at the river conservancy, thinks she saw a girl out on the riverbank – but Tessa’s memory is failing and could this be the start of something more serious?

Tessa’s friend and co-worker, Claire Barrett, is worried – about the car and the gun, but also about Tessa. With Tessa’s attorney husband preoccupied with a big case and in denial about his wife’s memory issues, Claire knows that it’ll be up to her to work out what’s going on. When a body turns up and she discovers the identity of the gun’s owner – someone disturbingly close to home – Claire is determined to uncover the truth . . . whatever it takes.

Bonnie Hearn Hill, author of more than a dozen novels, spent some time recently with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE RIVER BELOW:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

What drives this book for me is the friendship between Claire, the by-the-book environmental scientist, and Tessa, the warm, spontaneous wife of a successful attorney. The questions I asked myself as I wrote were these. What do you say when your best friend begins forgetting things? What do you do when she starts seeing a woman who isn’t there? I hope readers appreciate the friendship and what Claire is willing to do to save her friend–and I hope the river and what happens there keeps readers turning pages.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

Domestic thrillers intrigue me. My first novel (Intern), set in the Mendocino, California area, is one, and I wanted to set this one on the San Joaquin River, in my part of California.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

I spent many days and hours at the river, driving and walking its banks, photographing it in every season. During the almost three years I wrote the book, I felt part of the river and part of the story. What began as a thriller about a car containing bloodstains and a gun being pulled from the San Joaquin River became, for me, an exploration of love, marriage, and the power of friendship, even when it fails to heal.

*****

Bonnie Hearn Hill is the author of more than a dozen novels. The River Below is set in what she calls “the forgotten California,” on the San Joaquin River, just blocks from where she lives. A national conference speaker, she co-hosts a monthly book segment for a local news station’s morning show.

To learn more about Bonnie and her work, please visit her website.

 

 

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