INTO THIS RIVER I DROWN by T.J. KluneInto This River I Drown by Tj Klune
Genres: Fantasy, Gay, Paranormal
Reviewed by:Publisher
Published by Dreamspinner Press

Reviewed by Lisa

Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father, Big Eddie, when his truck crashed into a river. Everyone called it an accident, but Benji knows it was more. Even years later, he s buried in his grief, throwing himself into managing Big Eddie s convenience store in the small-town of Roseland, Oregon. Surrounded by his mother and three aunts, he lives day to day, struggling to keep his head above water. But Roseland is no ordinary place. With ever more frequent dreams of his father s death and waking visions of feathers on the river s surface, Benji finds his definition of reality bending. He thinks himself haunted; by ghosts or memories, he can no longer tell. Not until a man falls from the sky, leaving the burning imprint of wings on the ground, does Benji begin to understand that the world is more mysterious than he ever imagined and more dangerous. As uncontrollable forces descend on Roseland, they reveal long-hidden truths about friends, family, and the stranger Calliel a man Benji can no longer live without.


In the small town of Roseland, Oregon five years have passed since Big Eddie Green died when his truck went off the highway into the fast moving river.  That was the day sixteen year old Benji Green lost his father and best friend in the world.

Life goes on and Benji manages his father’s gas station/convenience store.  He lives in the little house he built with his father located behind his parents’ home, has breakfast every day with his mom and three aunts, goes to work at the store, and spends his evenings alone in his house.  Benji is dying inside a little more every single day.  The only thing that gets a ‘rise’ out of him is thinking of the accident and believing it’s anything but.

Benji’s despair reaches the point where he could swear someone or something is standing right next to him or feels a hand on his shoulder.  He fantasizes talking to his father and imagines the accident over and over while sinking into a deep depression. 

He revisits the scene of the accident over and over, time after time. Only this time something is different.  Benji is there when an indescribable bright light violently lands in the woods.  He unbelievably finds a man, Calliel who most definitely is not from around there.  The story Cal tells Benji is hard to swallow. But from hopelessness comes something that might make him want to live again if only he can believe in the impossible.  What happens next in little Roseland will never, ever be forgotten.

There is a definitive difference between being alive and living your life – it’s never more apparent than within the pages of Into This River I Drown.  Benji’s grief literally bleeds from the story.  He’s numb inside until the moment Calliel shows up.  Into This River I Drown showcases an emotional tsunami, a murder mystery, and a belief in something higher.  While there is a very definite religious tone to the plot it’s not about scripture, it’s the compelling characters layered into the storyline.  The only downside to this incredible tale is that the story is a bit too ‘wordy’.  Nonetheless, I must Joyfully recommend Into This River I Drown.  Benji and Cal will stay with you long after the last page is read.

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