“River of Shame” by Susan Clayton-Goldner

River of Shame: A Winston Radhauser Mystery: #4

River of Shame

Susan Clayton-Goldner

“River of Shame” is the fourth book in the Winston Radhauser series, and it continues the themes of the first three: family life and human relations, thrown into high relief by violent crime.

The story starts a few months after the end of book #3, and is set in the small town of Ashland, Oregon. Radhauser is supposed to be on vacation to help his wife, who is starting chemotherapy after giving birth to their son. But a series of heinous hate crimes, culminating in a murder on Radhauser’s own property, draw him back to work. Radhauser and an FBI agent work together to try to get to the bottom of the mystery, but keep discovering more layers to the crimes. The final reveal is unexpected, despite clues that are dropped from the beginning.

“River of Shame” is a murder mystery, but like the previous books in the series, it’s not just that. The story is largely an examination of how racism and homophobia can continue to fester even in communities that have attempted to root them out, and the sorrow they cause everyone who encounters them, including the perpetrators. Family dynamics are examined and shaken, as the pressures of addiction, disease, and hatred threaten to tear apart relationships. At the same time, there are moments of lyrical beauty, and of human togetherness. For all its dark subject matter, “River of Shame” is ultimately a touching story about the bonds of love.

I received a review copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own.

River of Shame will be released on September 12, and can currently be pre-ordered for just $0.99 here.

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