Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Having moved on seven years after her missing father is assumed dead, Delia Hawthorne “Del” is visited by an aged stranger. Convinced the man is deranged, Del calls security to have him removed from her university classroom. “Delly it’s me” he says. And though it can’t be, it is. He is professor Schroeder, a colleague gone missing with her father so many years earlier, only he is much older than he should be. Schroeder tells her that her father is still alive and hands over a coded journal just before collapsing unconscious.
At the hospital, Del learns that Schroeder is suffering from a rare form of Progeria – a rapid aging disease. He will soon die and no one knows what has caused his condition. Jake Kerrigan, a research specialist for Bio-Tec Canada, the same company Del’s father worked for, is brought in to consult.
Convinced by Schroeder and his journal that her father is still alive, Del decides to retrace her father’s footsteps by traveling to the mysterious Canadian South Nahanni River – a river shrouded in legend and known for the occasional headless skeletons discovered along its banks.
Del, her ex-boyfriend, Jake Kerrigan, and a cadre of others led by their Dene guide travel and sometimes battle the beautiful and treacherous Nahanni River. Taming the river while searching for her captive father is exhausting . Add to this Del’s exacerbation of her Multiple Scelorsis and the journey is emotionally and mentally taxing. This may be why I found Del’s frequent romantic and lustful thoughts regarding Jake somewhat out of place given the situation.
In the second half of the book, the team find the hidden location of Del’s father. Without giving away too many plot surprises, this section reminded me of a cross between James Bond’s “Dr. No” and a more recent movie “The Island”. There is the hi-tech bad-guy lair controlled by a nefarious conspiratorial organization looking to gain the ultimate control over human life.
Cheryl Kaye Tardif’s description of the Nahanni expedition is exceptional, demonstrating her considerable research and command of this remote Canadian region. “The River” is a wonderful adventure. Readers will not be disappointed in what could be the ride of their lives.