Everyone says the Elders family are nothing but cheats, thieves, and convicts―a fact nineteen-year old Jamie Elders has been trying desperately to escape. She may have the natural talent of a poker savant, but her dreams of going pro and getting the hell out of the tiny town of Blind River, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal.
It’s refreshing to read a tale in which the heroine is likable even as her decisions will make readers shake their heads in frustration; her exit from deprivation is by no means guaranteed, and the ending to the treacherous dilemma she’s dragged into is deftly handled by Massey. Often-piercing language is a bonus, as are the nail-biting poker games whose play-by-plays are drawn out to satisfying effect. Readers who enjoy Wiley Cash and Willy Vlautin should try this notable debut.
[A] gritty debut thriller ... Although many of the other characters, from a crooked judge to the sly good ol’ boys who crowd around the game table, feel overly familiar, there are a few twists and reveals that keep Blind River from falling into stereotypes ... Gale Massey peppers the text with authentic, chilling details: the texture of a marked card, the exhaustion of digging a hidden grave ... From corpses to counting cards, Blind River plays it close and smooth.
[A] compulsively readable debut novel ... Massey creates a character who is hardly heroic, but always believable ... Crisply paced and stacked with surprises, Massey’s The Girl From Blind River is an impressive debut.