Tour Spotlight and Review: The White River Killer by Stephen Wilson

Tour Spotlight and Review: The White River Killer by Stephen WilsonAuthor: Stephen Wilson
Title: The White River Killer
Pages: 294
Release Date: March 9, 2015
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
John Riley Hubbard is a young farmer and part-time reporter in a small southern town. After the body of an Arab college student is found near his home, Hubbard reluctantly agrees to cover the grisly story for the local paper. When he discovers there is a surprising link from this crime to his father’s unsolved murder, he becomes obsessed with uncovering the killer’s identity. Since he was a child, Hubbard has been haunted by nightmares and suspicions that his father’s killer may be the man closest to him – his wealthy uncle.

As his investigation progresses, he must face mounting threats from an unseen adversary and managed his growing attraction to Maria, a young Latino woman who might be part of the conspiracy.

The White River Killer is an exciting mixture of mystery, romance, and suspense.
Format: eARC
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*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

Welcome to our spotlight on Stephen Wilson’s new book, The White River Killer.
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About the Author

Stephen WilsonStephen Wilson is an American author. His first book was Harvey Couch – An Entrepreneur Brings Electricy to Arkansas, published in 1986 by August House publishers. He also has won awards for his screenplays which have been presented by the Writer’s Workshop program at the American Film Institute. His latest work, The White River Killer was developed as part of the Summer Words program at the Aspen Institute.

In addition to writing, he is a marketing and advertising professional.

His latest book is the mystery novel, The White River Killer.

For More Information

Book Excerpt

IT WAS THE FLOWER GARDEN THAT DID MARIA IN. Hubbard agreed to till up his mother’s old flower garden that had gone to seed for a new garden. Maria, through Emily’s translation, had requested a fun summertime activity.

Emily was a born salesperson. “It will teach me responsibility if I water it every day. I need that bad.”

The flower garden was followed by an irrigation request for the home’s vegetable garden.

Neither of the planting activities was unusual for a farm. That’s not what drove Hubbard to act. What troubled Hubbard was that Emily now referred to them as Maria’s flower garden and Maria’s vegetables.

There was no time to waste. From his tractor, Hubbard called Mr. Carlos and told him that Maria wasn’t working out. After his obligation at the Tomato Festival, they had to find new work for her. Mr. Carlos didn’t understand the connection between Maria and the annual event, but he reluctantly agreed to look for a new opportunity for the girl.

Hubbard feared he would eventually screw up with her. She was always within arm’s reach and he was too damned attracted to her. Sometimes the pain of his growing desire made him feel like he was burning alive. It made him want to drink to deal with it. That’s why she had to go.

Jen’s Review

The White River Killer is an entertaining and well-edited self-published story about a small town reporter who becomes determined to solve a murder, despite the danger to himself and his daughter. I enjoyed reading this book. It grabbed my attention from the first sentence. Even during the prologue, which included some backstory, I was kept interested in the events and characters. I was pleased that the book never really slowed down. It held my attention the whole way through.

The main character is likable because he is a tortured soul who tries to fight his inner demons to do the right things, although his temper threatens to get the best of him. The other characters are well-developed as well, especially his notorious uncle who might have murdered his father.

The plot is solid. I felt like most everything came together and made sense. The only subplot that I believe was unresolved is the mystery about his uncle and his father. I feel like there is more to that story that hasn’t been told yet, perhaps even something that ties into the title of the book. Perhaps there will be a sequel that explains the rest.

On the negative side, I was thrown off at times by the dialogue. I questioned if that person would really say what he or she had said. It didn’t always feel natural to me. Another negative has to do with the racism in the book. Some of it is expected, considering the Arkansas setting and “redneck” cops. However, I wasn’t always sold on it, especially when the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge, whom one would think would be more refined and have more couth because of his higher level of education, referred to the Egyptian victim as “the Arab.” Everyone was highly focused on the fact that he was “Arab,” which is kind of funny to me because I rarely hear anyone use that term for Middle Easterners and/or Muslims (which is what I believe people assumed the victim was). Also, I felt like there was a conflict between the assumption that the victim was a terrorist and the FBI’s explanation about why they were interested in him, which wasn’t because he was a suspected terrorist.

Overall, I did enjoy reading The White River Killer. I would recommend it to readers who like mysteries about murders that take place in a small town, with a reporter rather than a detective doing the investigation. I give this book 4 stars for steady pacing, interesting characters, and clean writing.

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