Book Review: ‘Lost River’ Is An Exceptionally Well-Written Tale

When the small town of Angel, Kentucky, is rocked by the vicious killing of an entire infamous local crime family, the bloody aftermath brings together three people already struggling with Angel’s drug epidemic: a young medic-in-training, a DEA agent, and a former police chief who’s had to watch his own young wife succumb to addiction.

Author J. Todd Scott has handled a very sick subject in an extraordinary way. The opioid crisis that has hit so many towns and villages across the country, is presented in a way that will shake you to your core. He takes the small backwater town of Angel, Kentucky, and paints a picture of the destruction that drugs cause by the people responsible. You can’t believe you are reading about the death of a small town, you know this happens in big cities where the rich and wealthy can spend money to get high in countless ways, not in a remote mining town overflowing with destitution and poverty.

The reason this book is great is that the characters presented feel authentic. The Glassers are the drug lords and they have owned part of the mountain for over one hundred years and there are echoes of the Hatfields & McCoys fight. It is simply the Glasser crew against the police force, the DEA, and the FBI. People are dying, they are overdosing and the heavy guns are brought in.

We have Casey Alexander, a DEA Agent, and her boss Van Dorn trying to get to the root of the deaths. With so much of the local police force in the pockets of the Glasser Gang and little Paris Glasser, in particular, a man you do not want to ever deal with, pure evil on two legs with no conscience. The picture Scott paints of the men in this gang is sickening so you will need a strong stomach to get through this.

Trey, a young medic-in-training and his partner Dobie drive around the county used old ambulance, there are too many bodies for the medical examiner to handle and they know only too well, what is going on in Angel. Casey soon works out that she needs Trey and Dobie on her side and a strong alliance is formed. Casey’s boss has worked this territory before and has a fair amount of input but he has great trust in Casey.

Like most stories, you are filled in on all the players and you are waiting for something to happen and Oh My God, when it does, all hell breaks loose. To call it a slaughter would be a misnomer, men, women, children, and even dogs are put down. I have read many books in my time but the picture you get makes you cold and hard to keep your food down. Everything starts to fit, one story with another, and at times, it is very distracting when a random subplot is inserted but you continue moving forward and it gradually makes sense. The book’s characters vividly come to life and in the end, a brilliantly-told tale leaves you wanting more while another part says, “Good God, no more!” This is one tough story to read but it is beautifully executed and will not be easily forgotten.

Available in bookstores June 23rd

Ann McDonald

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