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  • Long Bright River

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Liz Moore
  • Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (65 ratings)

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Long Bright River

Written by: Liz Moore
Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
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Publisher's Summary

One of Barack Obama's favorite books of the year

Named a Best Book of 2020 By NPR, Parade, Real Simple, and BuzzFeed

An instant New York Times best seller

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick

"[Moore’s] careful balance of the hard-bitten with the heartfelt is what elevates Long Bright River from entertaining page-turner to a book that makes you want to call someone you love." (The New York Times Book Review)

"This is police procedural and a thriller par excellence, one in which the city of Philadelphia itself is a character (think Boston and Mystic River). But it’s also a literary tale narrated by a strong woman with a richly drawn personal life - powerful and genre-defying." (People)

"A thoughtful, powerful novel by a writer who displays enormous compassion for her characters. Long Bright River is an outstanding crime novel.... I absolutely loved it." (Paula Hawkins, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Girl on the Train)

Two sisters travel the same streets, though their lives couldn't be more different. Then one of them goes missing.

In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don't speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.

Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey's district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit - and her sister - before it's too late.

Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters' childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: A gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.

©2020 Liz Moore (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"An instant sensation and the January pick for Good Morning America’s book club." (Entertainment Weekly)

"Navigates assuredly between the plot twists and big reveals.... Long Bright River is equal parts literary and thrilling." (O: The Oprah Magazine)

"Truly, this is a great literary novel about a city in the age of opioids and two sisters navigating their past. And in the tradition of many great literary thrillers, I promise you, you will not see the end coming." (NPR)

What listeners say about Long Bright River

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Don't waste your time

Slow, unimaginative, poorly written, full of tropes. The narrator is dull, equally unimaginative, and drones on. Couldn't finish. Don't waste your time and money.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LB
  • 2021-08-22

Never grabbed me.

One of the ones with so much hype and yet, never captivated me at any point. Interesting but never gripping.

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Wow!

That was a painful listen! The narrator was so flat without any sense of emotion or inflection. I’m sure there’s some literary reason that was completely lost on me, but the overuse of ‘says’ and ‘said’ was maddening as well. Too bad, because the story had promise.

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Long Winding River - a better title

This story meandered along — mostly away from the "whodunit" part. Perhaps I was expecting more of a crime procedural and, when I didn't get that, I was disappointed. I'm always looking for believable characters but found Mickey to do things and believe things that didn't ring true.

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Really well rounded story

I enjoyed the story and the characters, the history between the sisters and their experiences unraveled really nicely. Unfortunately I found the performance bland, the tone was almost apathetic or bored, and didn't fully connect for me.

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  • Kelli avid listener
  • 2020-01-14

Narration was good

I was looking forward to this book. I’ve enjoyed this author before. I kept waiting for the story to pull me in. It was a slow start and unfortunately a slow middle and end. I guess the book touched on the destruction of addiction but even with that it stayed on the surface. I wouldn’t consider this a mystery or thriller more contemporary fiction. Just my opinion but I found this book didn’t live up to the hype.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Marion
  • 2020-01-15

Has no heft

I chose this book because of how much I enjoyed Moore's novel Heft. This doesn't compare. It rambled. It explained things in detail that it had mentioned in detail 3 hours earlier. Sure it had plot twists but nothing extraordinary. She is playing in the space of police procedurals which so many other people do better. Perhaps a different backdrop for her character study would have suited her better.

Her sense of place and architecture is strong.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara S
  • 2020-01-21

amazing performance by Allyson Ryan

I listened to the Audible production of Liz Moore’s “Long Bright River” narrated by Allyson Ryan. At first, I was not a fan of Ryan’s narration as her voice seemed uneven. I decided to continue, to give it a chance, and I’m very happy I did. In fact, I think she nailed the voice of protagonist Mickey Fitzpatrick. Most of the novel is Mickey’s musings and thoughts about her life. Mickey is defeated in so many ways, and Ryan provides the “feeling” of Mickey’s life.

The New York Times listed this novel as their monthly choice for “Group Text” which is a book club of sorts. They picked it because it includes: “dysfunctional family, police involvement. Erosion of lines between work and personal lives.” For me, that meets many of my criteria for an interesting story. What is also involved is the opioid crisis, which is a current issue that negatively impacts our communities, lives, and country.

Mickey is a police officer working the beat in drug area of Philadelphia. Right away we learn that Mickey’s sister, Kacey, is a victim of the opioid epidemic and is a junkie. Mickey hasn’t seen her in a long time and is worried about her. Whenever there is a death of a female junkie, Mickey braces herself that it could be her sister.

Mickey is also a single mother to a four-year-old boy, trying to provide a healthy life for her son on little salary and little familial support. Additionally, her current police partner is a sexist pig and her commanding officer is not supportive.

There is a serial killer on the loose, killing female addicts. While Mickey is chasing down clues as to who is killing the women, we learn how she became a single mother and estranged from her sister.

I loved listening to every minute of this story. In fact, I did more housework than planned just so I could keep listening. It’s an easy to follow listen with enough action to make it a thriller towards the end. I also enjoy fiction exploring sisters and families, which this did in spades. Also, it provides a look into the difficulty in helping people with addiction.

I highly recommend this one to listen to or to read. It’s a timely story, but also one that is timeless in themes.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 2020-01-14

Narrator is sleepy and plot is slow and character

The narrator sounds like she has cotton balls in her mouth speaking in a slow slow slow voice that trails off after near monotone.

The story is about a mystery but it’s so slow and 95% introspection and 5% plot progression.

The main character is a cop though she’d never make it as a cop in real life. Clearly she has many psychological issues. She never talks even when it would benefit her. She never defends herself verbally or physically even when threatened. It’s not bc any internal strength it’s just bc she can never say or do anything she’s just always lamely paralyzed by EVERY situation and every confrontation. She can’t talk to her own friends, sisters or complete strangers or even her sister who she just happened to run into after spending the whole book looking for it; and apparently she also has terrible police skills. I have never encountered a more helpless and weak protagonist. Definitely going to exchange this book and get a refund.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-01-13

Excellent Excellent Excellent!!!!

I came across this book while looking for audio books narrated by Allyson Ryan, She is one of my all time favorites and I could literally listen to just about anything she reads. The summary of the story was interesting, but I did not expect how powerful this read would end up being. Addiction is obviously something we have all heard about an/or know someone who know's someone who has been affected by addiction, but Liz Moore goes so far beyond just addition to drugs and the epidemic as a whole. The story she tells of family both past and present is done so expertly, I am absolutely blown away. I've listened to literally countless books and this is only my second review. Only the stories that embed themselves in me so deeply that I know they it will stay with me for years to come, will move me to write a review. This is an amazing story read by an extremely talented narrator. I look forward to more from them both!!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Pen Name
  • 2020-03-18

Terrible

Writing is middle school level at best. Told in the first person as a list, rather than a novel. (I said this. I saw that. I went here. I watched him do something. I drove my car.) The same very basic statements of emotions are made over and over and over. We get it already, she loves her son. The pop psychology is annoying. The narration is too slow and is also weird, with inappropriate inflection and emphasis on wrong syllables. It's sounds almost computer generated. The plot, what little their is of it, could be summed up in two or three pages. Save your money, skip this awful so-called novel.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Christine Fogas
  • 2020-01-30

Bleak, but that's the point

There are definitely a lot of conflicting reviews for this title and I totally understand why. If you're looking for a super-compelling and exciting mystery, this is probably not the book for you. The story focuses more on developing the characters and showing what it's like to live in a city overwhelmed by the opioid crisis. I personally found a connection because 1) I live in Philly and 2) I have a sister. If you don't connect with the characters, I could see how the story might drag - but I got lost in it and ended up happily surprised by the twists in the mystery as the story evolved.

6 people found this helpful

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  • JB6514
  • 2020-01-23

Disappointed.. I couldn't get into this book!

I ordered this book because of the GMA book club, I keep waiting for soemthing to happen ..it is the slowest moving book I have read in a long while. I am about a quarter of the way through and I am going to return.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leesha
  • 2020-01-18

Intimate, powerful, engrossing

I absolutely loved this.

Eloquent writing, vivid setting, intimately-drawn characters, multi-layered plot. This is a very personal character study that feels like non-fiction. The setting is the gritty side of inner-city Philadelphia, full of abandoned buildings, desperate drug addicts and sex workers struggling through the opioid epidemic. The tone is melancholy and bleak. The chapters alternate between “Then” and “Now,” which explores the childhood and history of Michaela and her sister Kasey, while also propelling the narrative’s mystery which paints a larger portrait of society. This is not your typical quick-read crime-thriller. It's much deeper and much more engrossing.

Strongly recommended for fans of audiobooks: Winter's Bone, Mystic River, Fourth of July Creek, Where All Light Tends to Go

5 people found this helpful

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  • Shutterbug
  • 2020-01-14

Couldn’t stop listening

I stayed up late and got up early listening—
the story and performance are that great.

4 people found this helpful