GONE TO SEE THE RIVER MAN by Kristopher Triana

Super fans. Groupies. Stalkers.

These people will give anything for the idols they worship, be they rock stars, actor, or authors. Or even serial killers.

Lori’s obsession is with Edmund Cox, who was convicted of butchering more than twenty women. She will do anything to get close to him, so when gives her a task, she accepts.

She has no idea of the horror that awaits her.

Edmund says she must go to his cabin in the woods and retrieve a key to deliver to a mysterious figure known only as The River Man.

She brings along her sister, and the trip becomes a surreal nightmare, one that digs up Lori’s personal demons, the ones she feels bonds her to Edmund. Soon she will learn The River Man is not quite fact or folklore, and definitely not human . . . at least not anymore.

The IndieMuse Review

My first introduction to Kristopher Triana’s work was when I picked up a copy of his novella The Detained back in 2018. It was an enjoyable, albeit predictable, splatterpunk thriller. Since then, Triana has grown in popularity, with his recent novel Full Brutal, earning rave reviews. When I noticed similar buzz building for his new novella, Gone to See the River Man, I decided to give him another try.

Lori lives with her older sister Abby, who suffered severe brain damage in a tragic accident when they were both kids. Abby requires around the clock care and Lori feels her life is passing her by. Her dissatisfaction and increasing feelings of loneliness lead her into a relationship with Edmund Cox, a convicted serial killer currently serving multiple life sentences for especially brutal crimes.

As her infatuation with her charismatic, yet sadistic pen-pal grows, their letters become more personal, until Edmund tasks Lori with a potentially life-changing task. Retrieve a key to deliver to someone Edmund refers to as simply ‘The River Man.’ With Abby in tow, Lori embarks upon a journey into terror and darkness, where demons both personal and literal await them both.

Gone to See the River Man completely subverted my expectations going in. What I was expecting was a gore fest and, while the book is certainly not for the squeamish, what I actually got was a dark and disturbing psychological horror, with a surreal, Lovecraftian undertone. There is plenty of extreme violence, for fans of extreme horror, but this book is so much more than a showcase for grisly set-pieces.

The story switches between present day, where both sisters are approaching middle age, and the past, when both were teenagers. We slowly learn about their tragic family history, Triana gradually feeding us bits of information here and there which informs the current day story. It is paced perfectly, creating a great deal of tension as both stories begin to tie together toward a shocking and unpredictable finale.

For a shorter work (clocking in at a modest 145 pages) it managed to do a great deal in terms of character development. Both Lori and Abby are complex people who both change a great deal over the course of the book, and the characters we are initially presented with are not the ones we close out the story with. The slowly unfolding narrative of their childhood, in particular, is one of the most harrowing things I have read this year. It is not a story you will soon forget.

I can’t imagine any horror fan leaving Gone to See the River Man disappointed. It perfectly balances genuine scares, fascinating characters, horrifying violence with hints of the cosmic. It is a phenomenal achievement and an unforgettable story that firmly places Kristopher Triana as a writer to watch.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

2 reviews for GONE TO SEE THE RIVER MAN by Kristopher Triana

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  1. Kemberly Artis  

    What’s not to love? Well written and paced, complicated and interesting characters, solid research, and excellent tension. Highly recommend.

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  2. Keith Anstett  

    This was a really entertaining book, I’d highly recommend it. The characters were believable, the plot was interesting.

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