Friday, October 7, 2016
About the Book
It wasn’t all poodle skirts and rock ‘n’ roll. From its deceptively innocent beginning—two young teens exploring the riverbank and spying on “Crazy Haggerty’s” dilapidated house—through the intertwining story lines of paganism, murder and sexual violence, Stony River shows how perilous life was for some girls in the 1950s. Absent mothers, controlling fathers, biblical injunctions, teenage longing and small-town pretense abound. The threat of violence is all around: angry fathers at home, dirty boys in the neighborhood, strange men in strange cars, a dead girl and another gone missing.
The central mystery, inspired by the crimes of Robert Zarinsky as documented by Robin Gaby Fisher and Judith Lucas in Deadly Secrets (Newark Star–Ledger 2008), keeps the reader guessing until almost the very end, when the frightening truth is revealed. In this coming-of-age mystery, three girls learn who they are and what they’re capable of surviving—and forgiving.
It's sad when religion gets distorted because it can really mess a person up. In STONY RIVER, the spiritual views of three different characters are shaped based on what they experience in their lives and the varying influences of the people around them. Who is God? Teresa, Miranda and Linda are all searching for an immediate truth to what is, in fact, a lifelong quest.
For irreverent, provocative Tereza, God is a "Peeping Tom," who spies on everyone, but doesn't do squat to help them. Admittedly, she doesn't think about God much, probably because her mentally ill husband is always referencing the devil. Tereza doesn't take his claims seriously, when he says sometimes Satan takes over his body, as he stands outside of it, watching himself do terrible things. Even though he's had violent outbursts at home, Tereza has no faith whatsoever in what he believes, until something tragic happens.
Miranda, on the other hand, is shockingly impregnated by her father during a pagan ritual in the basement of their home. She doesn't know what to believe when she goes from total seclusion into the care of the nuns of St. Bernadette's orphanage. There, it's discovered that she has a gift of clairvoyance, seeing things others can't. She doesn't know if her deepened spiritual sense is a result of her father's ancient gods and goddesses or if she's on the verge of becoming the latest in a long line of saints the good sisters urge her to pray to.
Linda is perhaps like most people, her God is the god of guilt. She thinks she has to be perfect in order to get to heaven, and it's up to her to save the souls of every hoodlum boy who comes her way. When something terrible happens to her, she wonders what happened to God's divine justice. Why didn't he avenge her? Why did he let it happen? Her faith, weak to begin with, shatters. Trying to piece together the lessons she memorized in Sunday School into some kind of meaning, she valiantly attempts to sort out the misinterpretations from the half-truths.
Religion is a difficult subject to tackle for any author. Challenging anyone's beliefs is bound to get a writer into hot water. But Tricia Dower doesn't back away from addressing several controversial topics. She brings them out into the light in order to examine them for what they are. She's not out to claim that one religion is better than the other. She's just out to make the point that when misapplied, any one of them can be made to look ridiculous.
Stony River can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble
Prices/Formats: $10.99 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Crime, Historical, Coming of Age
Release: October 6, 2016
Publisher: Leapfrog Press
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About the Author
Tricia Dower confesses to smoking a river punk or two in Rahway, New Jersey, where she was born and raised by perfectly fine parents who did not keep her hidden in a spooky house. A graduate of Gettysburg College and a Phi Mu, she built a career in business before reinventing herself as a writer in 2002. Her literary work has crossed borders and won awards. She expanded a story from her Shakespeare-inspired collection, Silent Girl (Inanna 2008) into Stony River, which was first published in Canada (Penguin, 2012). Her novel, Becoming Lin (Caitlin Press), was released in Canada in 2016. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Dower lives and writes in Brentwood Bay, BC.
Links to connect with Tricia:
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Posted by Tribute Books at 12:01 AM