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The Girl From Blind River: A Novel

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A gritty tale of how far we’ll go to protect the ones we love for fans of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Emma Cline’s The Girls from Gale Massey, a talented new name in crime fiction. 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 A gritty tale of how far we’ll go to protect the ones we love for fans of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Emma Cline’s The Girls from Gale Massey, a talented new name in crime fiction. 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 Parsons, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal. At Loyal’s beck and call until her debt is repaid, Jamie can’t easily walk away—not with her younger brother Toby left at his mercy. So when Loyal demands Jamie’s help cleaning up a mess late one night, she has no choice but to agree. But disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s most powerful judge goes beyond family duty. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and Loyal pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it—and face the consequences.


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A gritty tale of how far we’ll go to protect the ones we love for fans of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Emma Cline’s The Girls from Gale Massey, a talented new name in crime fiction. 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 A gritty tale of how far we’ll go to protect the ones we love for fans of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Emma Cline’s The Girls from Gale Massey, a talented new name in crime fiction. 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 Parsons, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal. At Loyal’s beck and call until her debt is repaid, Jamie can’t easily walk away—not with her younger brother Toby left at his mercy. So when Loyal demands Jamie’s help cleaning up a mess late one night, she has no choice but to agree. But disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s most powerful judge goes beyond family duty. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and Loyal pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it—and face the consequences.

30 review for The Girl From Blind River: A Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Gale Massey makes a gritty and thrilling crime debut set in small town, Parsons, in New York, a place where once your family is saddled with a history and reputation as convicts, thieves and cheats, its hard to escape the heavy weight of peoples' judgements and expectations. 19 year old Jamie Elders is bright and intelligent, her life has not been easy, her mother is in prison, and all she wants is to escape from Parsons. She is a great poker player, a gift honed from her mother's skills in the Gale Massey makes a gritty and thrilling crime debut set in small town, Parsons, in New York, a place where once your family is saddled with a history and reputation as convicts, thieves and cheats, its hard to escape the heavy weight of peoples' judgements and expectations. 19 year old Jamie Elders is bright and intelligent, her life has not been easy, her mother is in prison, and all she wants is to escape from Parsons. She is a great poker player, a gift honed from her mother's skills in the game, she has plans of becoming a professional player in Florida. However, it all goes to hell in a handcart after Jamie makes a series of poor decisions that land her in a whole heap of trouble and in enormous debt to her nasty piece of work, abusive and corrupt Uncle Loyal, a man deep into illicit gambling with connections in high places. Whilst there are aspects of Jamie with her fraught personal life that are naive, her background has ensured that she has a native understanding of the world she lives in. She is loathe to leave her younger troubled brother, Toby, in the care of Loyal, a man who plainly cannot be trusted. She has no choice to do as she is forced to anything and everything that her despicable Uncle Loyal asks, and he is asking a lot when he demands that she gets rid of a the dead body of a well known and liked character. He goes too far with his intention to frame Toby for the murder. The resourceful Jamie refuses to take this lying down as she sets out to extricate herself and save Toby from the clutches of Uncle Loyal in her search to secure some form of justice in a unforgiving town and a little help from a detective. Set in the world of gambling, the narrative comes from the perspective of a number of characters. I loved the character of the feisty Jamie whom life has dealt some difficult cards, you just cannot help but root for her throughout. This is a great story, compelling and entertaining, that never failed to hold my interest. Just brilliant! Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books for an ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    4.25 Stars* (rounded down) The Elders Family and trouble go hand in hand. When one of member of the family gets out of it, another gets into it. Phoebe Elders was in prison for as long as Jamie could remember, so she pretty much raised her younger brother Toby on her own, no thanks to her Uncle Loyal. Jamie simply did what she had to do to do to get by, and by that I mean gambling just like her mama. Too bad Jamie had to “borrow” a few K from her Uncle Loyal after losing all her savings.. She pla 4.25 Stars* (rounded down) The Elders Family and trouble go hand in hand. When one of member of the family gets out of it, another gets into it. Phoebe Elders was in prison for as long as Jamie could remember, so she pretty much raised her younger brother Toby on her own, no thanks to her Uncle Loyal. Jamie simply did what she had to do to do to get by, and by that I mean gambling just like her mama. Too bad Jamie had to “borrow” a few K from her Uncle Loyal after losing all her savings.. She planned on paying him back immediately but well, you know how it goes. Talk about trouble. Yeah, she’s in deep and now, Loyal owns her. His idea of debt repayment and hers, well let’s just say, she had something else in mind. If Jamie thought she’d be getting out of Blind River, any time soon, she better think again. “The Girl From Blind River” by Gale Massey is a spellbinding mystery. The story is captivating, complex and really well done. Jamie’s burdens became mine. Her affection for her brother.. real as all get out. Toby’s angst over his mother and his need for her approval? Right on. Jamie’s fear of Uncle Loyal when things went sour? The feeling that made the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand up?.. That gave me heart palpitations. Yeah - I felt it. All of it. My spine tingles even now. A huge thank you to Ashley at Crooked Lane Books for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. So glad I read this one. Thank you also to Gale Massey – you’ve got a winner here! Published on Goodreads, Amazon and Twitter on 8.8.18.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    The odds were against her from the start. Jamie Elders, 19, comes from a family of thieves, crooks and liars. Her mom, recently out of prison after eight years, Jamie and her younger brother Toby, were raised by their uncle Lloyd. Lloyd runs an illegal gambling ring, and pays money to a powerful local judge. Jamie wants nothing more than to escape Blind River, have a different life, but she has neither the money nor the means. Although her skill at cards may give her a chance, she has one weakne The odds were against her from the start. Jamie Elders, 19, comes from a family of thieves, crooks and liars. Her mom, recently out of prison after eight years, Jamie and her younger brother Toby, were raised by their uncle Lloyd. Lloyd runs an illegal gambling ring, and pays money to a powerful local judge. Jamie wants nothing more than to escape Blind River, have a different life, but she has neither the money nor the means. Although her skill at cards may give her a chance, she has one weakness, her brother. After a series of bad decisions, and a terrible twist of fate, Jamie finds her last chance may rest on one decision, and the final turn of a card. "Follow your heart, but always bet your spades." Another terrific and tightly plotted debut novel. It is gritty and unflinchingly in it's portrayal of a young woman, who not coming from the best of circumstances, wants her life to be different. One can't help but root for Jamie, she is a character that while she makes mistakes, it is easy to understand her motives. One wants her to succeed. This was also a novel where one can follow the trajectory of one bad decision leading to another, until one is caught circumstances hard to manipulate, know what to do. Am liking this recent trend that feature young woman, who seem powerless, though turn out to be anything but. Looking forward to what and where this author will go next. ARC from Netgalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This book did a slow burn and caught me all in. I was as nervous as Jamie at the casino. And she’s got plenty of trouble. She’s loyal to her brother, despite him being a bully and damaged goods. Massey paints a grim picture of Blind River. We all know these kind of towns that are beyond down on their luck. “Small town bullshit. She’d been born into it and knew exactly how her life would play out if she stayed. Two or three kids, a divorce or two. A dead-end job that would keep her half-starved i This book did a slow burn and caught me all in. I was as nervous as Jamie at the casino. And she’s got plenty of trouble. She’s loyal to her brother, despite him being a bully and damaged goods. Massey paints a grim picture of Blind River. We all know these kind of towns that are beyond down on their luck. “Small town bullshit. She’d been born into it and knew exactly how her life would play out if she stayed. Two or three kids, a divorce or two. A dead-end job that would keep her half-starved if she didn’t eat junk food and get fat, get diabetes and lose her feet, or die of a heart attack. She saw it all around her, doughnuts and caffeine for the early morning despair, booze after work Just to take the edge off a twelve hour grind.” It helps to know Texas Hold’em terminology and I had to google a few terms to understand what I was reading about. This is a sad and depressing book. It’s beautifully written and you quickly become invested in Jamie and how or if she’ll even escape. My thanks to netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advance copy of this book.

  5. 3 out of 5

    Linda

    All in or nothing..... Kinda hard when so much is at stake and the chips are always stacked against you. Jamie Elders is but nineteen. She's seen life through the eyes of one scraping at the slippery sides of this bottomless pit, just aching to get out. It's a seedy little town, Blind River, stashed away near the lonely railroad tracks in upper state New York. All roads lead to nowhere fast. But Jamie has a gift for the cards. She's learned from her sleazy uncle, Loyal, that the faster you shuffle, All in or nothing..... Kinda hard when so much is at stake and the chips are always stacked against you. Jamie Elders is but nineteen. She's seen life through the eyes of one scraping at the slippery sides of this bottomless pit, just aching to get out. It's a seedy little town, Blind River, stashed away near the lonely railroad tracks in upper state New York. All roads lead to nowhere fast. But Jamie has a gift for the cards. She's learned from her sleazy uncle, Loyal, that the faster you shuffle, the faster the con. Memory and sharp eyes can spot a bluff or a cheat in a heartbeat. Sometimes the cheating comes about from your own hands. Pity the fool that gets caught. Jamie and her seventeen year old brother, Toby, live in the squalor of Loyal's house. Chaos rises with the dawn there as they wait out their mother's release from prison after eight years. Their father died in a bar fight when they were young. Jaime's only wish is to finally see Toby graduate from high school in the upcoming months so that he can join the Army. No matter how many stars you wish upon, such things may never come true. Life just gets in the way. Gale Massey presents a solid read that focuses on the tragedies of the hand that one is dealt. Luck doesn't exist in a small town surrounded with bottomfeeders who lean in and squelch any possibilities of a breakaway. Massey's characters live on the edge. You can easily find them from the trail of regret that follows their tracks. Her storyline is rough and raw and the interactions can be callous at times. It's realism soaking into the fibers of small town America. Jaime is painted with deep flaws, a penchant for settling for less, and a habitual need to take the last seat in the darkened back row. But one thing that Massey allows you to see is Jaime's deep commitment towards her wayward, trouble-making, irritating brother, Toby. As readers, you will come upon their release mechanisms for the anger and frustration that reside within the both of them. Kids trying to raise one another in a dysfunctional world of elusive adults. One word of advice: Don't get bogged down with the technical poker terms and such. It's part of the hand in glove. While necessary to the story, the main focus will be Massey's jaggedy characters dancing to survive under some very dire circumstances. A very intriguing first novel by this author. I received a copy of The Girl From Blind River through Crooked Lane Books for an honest review. My thanks to them and to Gale Massey for the opportunity.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Melki

    "What's in store for you? A life of ratty babies, meaningless jobs, waiting tables like your mother, or living off welfare and the taxes of hard-working people. Or worse? That's all there is for girls like you. No one expects a thing better from your kind." The rumor around town is that the Elders family is cursed, and nineteen-year old Jamie Elders believes that to be true. She'd like nothing more than to blow the snow and ice of crappy little Blind River, NY, off her shoulders, and head to sunn "What's in store for you? A life of ratty babies, meaningless jobs, waiting tables like your mother, or living off welfare and the taxes of hard-working people. Or worse? That's all there is for girls like you. No one expects a thing better from your kind." The rumor around town is that the Elders family is cursed, and nineteen-year old Jamie Elders believes that to be true. She'd like nothing more than to blow the snow and ice of crappy little Blind River, NY, off her shoulders, and head to sunny Florida . . . but, there's her younger brother to think about. He's less than a year away from adulthood, and she needs to keep an eye on him. Then, one fateful night, everything changes . . . "Do you know what it's like? To think your life has taken a turn for the better, that you might have a future? And then, watch it fall apart because two men get into a pissing contest?" I had pretty much vowed to never read another book with GIRL in the title when Ashley from Crooked Lane Books asked if I'd consider reading this intriguing sounding book. Eh - some vows are meant to be broken. This is good. Really good. Massey, in her first novel, has written a compelling story that has a strong Winter's Bone vibe, but she managed to spin it into something that's all her own. Do yourself a favor, and DO NOT READ the second paragraph in the Goodreads description - it gives away a plot line I'd have been much happier discovering on my own. At this point, even if Massey's second novel is called The Shining Gone Girl With All the Gifts Who Kicked the Train While Getting a Dragon's Nest Tattoo , I'm going to read it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eve Recinella (Between The Bookends)

    This book was bloody fantastic! The writing was excellent. It was well paced. The plot was super engaging and had me hooked right from the start. The characters were well developed and intriguing. I loved the gritty small town feel it had. The only negative thing and why this wasn't a complete 5-Star book, I thought the ending was a bit rushed. I would have liked a bit more closure. Or maybe a farther look into the future. Perhaps there will be a follow-up book? In any case, that was just a smal This book was bloody fantastic! The writing was excellent. It was well paced. The plot was super engaging and had me hooked right from the start. The characters were well developed and intriguing. I loved the gritty small town feel it had. The only negative thing and why this wasn't a complete 5-Star book, I thought the ending was a bit rushed. I would have liked a bit more closure. Or maybe a farther look into the future. Perhaps there will be a follow-up book? In any case, that was just a small niggle in an otherwise excellent debut novel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “Follow your heart but always bet your spades.” It’s been a minute since I've done this, but Gale Massey’s debut novel gets all the Starzzzzzzzzzz. The Girl From Blind River is the story of Jamie – a girl whose mother went to prison when she was just 10 years old, leaving her and her 9 year old brother Toby to be raised by their uncle Loyal. Now a young adult and out of high school, Jamie dreams of running away and hitting the pro cir Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “Follow your heart but always bet your spades.” It’s been a minute since I've done this, but Gale Massey’s debut novel gets all the Starzzzzzzzzzz. The Girl From Blind River is the story of Jamie – a girl whose mother went to prison when she was just 10 years old, leaving her and her 9 year old brother Toby to be raised by their uncle Loyal. Now a young adult and out of high school, Jamie dreams of running away and hitting the pro circuit . . . . All she needs is to cash in on her latest online winnings. When there’s a glitch in the system, Jamie “borrows” a bit of cash from Uncle Loyal and ends up owing him big time. And ol’ Loyal isn’t one to NOT cash in on favors owed to him – especially when it has to do with something as big as what he has to get rid of . . . . . I knew as soon as I saw my friend Melki’s review that there was a very solid chance this would be a winner for me. When I scored a copy I about wet myself. I can’t believe this is a debut novel and I have absolutely nothing to nitpick. The Girl From Blind River had everything I love: trailer parks, poor folk, murder, cover-ups, family drama, and on and on and on. It was just the gritty type of story I was looking for. You know, something that makes me say . . . . ARC provided by Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Darinda

    Jamie Elders desperately wants to escape her small town, and her family's reputation as criminals. Unfortunately, she makes a poor decision, and winds up in debt to her uncle. Since she is now in debt to him, he expects her to follow his demands. One night, those demands include disposing of a dead man. With Jamie's future on the line, she must decide to be a criminal, or follow the law. A debut novel by Gale Massey. Well developed characters in an interesting story. Jamie is 19-years-old, and dr Jamie Elders desperately wants to escape her small town, and her family's reputation as criminals. Unfortunately, she makes a poor decision, and winds up in debt to her uncle. Since she is now in debt to him, he expects her to follow his demands. One night, those demands include disposing of a dead man. With Jamie's future on the line, she must decide to be a criminal, or follow the law. A debut novel by Gale Massey. Well developed characters in an interesting story. Jamie is 19-years-old, and dreams of playing poker professionally. She grew up around card games, and has a knack for it. The story has a lot to do with poker, which I found fun to read. Jamie makes plenty of bad decisions, as do other characters in this book, but I kept cheering for her. She has a heartbreaking backstory, but stayed smart and strong. I received an ARC of this book from Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. This book is expected to be published in July 2018.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Small-town corruption, a dysfunctional family (and not in a funny way), and a nineteen year old girl trying to get the heck out of dodge. Jamie Elders has learned a lot from her family... mostly what not to do. She wants a clean break and to be the first who doesn't fall into a life of crime. Her impressive poker skills just might help her get enough money to start a life far away from this stagnant town. But when her plan backfires, her debt puts her in over her head and serious dominoes start Small-town corruption, a dysfunctional family (and not in a funny way), and a nineteen year old girl trying to get the heck out of dodge. Jamie Elders has learned a lot from her family... mostly what not to do. She wants a clean break and to be the first who doesn't fall into a life of crime. Her impressive poker skills just might help her get enough money to start a life far away from this stagnant town. But when her plan backfires, her debt puts her in over her head and serious dominoes start to fall. Told with a vulnerable but believable POV, Jamie is a character who is very easy to root for but the developed storyline doesn't provide much optimism. She has so much going against her but she's smart, and her problem solving skills might be just good enough to keep her alive. The Girl From Blind River is a winning debut novel. Check it out. My favorite quote: "Sometimes you get what you want in this world, but what's more often true is you get what you deserve."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    Why I Love It by Siobhan Jones There have been dozens of great novels about the fleeting highs of gambling—BOTM has even featured one before, recommended by none other than the great Anthony Bourdain. Most of those books feature the usual bluffs and tells, big money and big losses. This month, we’re offering a story that includes all that and a little more: a blue-collar tale of backroom card games, small-town politicking, and a talented young card shark in a whole lot of debt. Jamie is a 19-year-o Why I Love It by Siobhan Jones There have been dozens of great novels about the fleeting highs of gambling—BOTM has even featured one before, recommended by none other than the great Anthony Bourdain. Most of those books feature the usual bluffs and tells, big money and big losses. This month, we’re offering a story that includes all that and a little more: a blue-collar tale of backroom card games, small-town politicking, and a talented young card shark in a whole lot of debt. Jamie is a 19-year-old girl in upstate New York with nothing but a flair for poker and a disreputable last name (read: family drama, in spades). She dreams of going pro and getting out but spends her days working for her tyrannical uncle and trying to keep her younger brother out of trouble. Each day is as boring and gray as an Adirondack winter sky—until a poker game goes south, a gun goes off, and Jamie finds herself on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit. There’s a death at the center of this novel, to be sure, but Blind River is as much a study in grit as it is about a murder. Jamie is the kind of plucky girl with a life story that tugs at your heartstrings and a fierceness that will leave your hands shaking each time she makes a bet. A rural story of dark woods and dark hearts, this is one book worth betting on. Read more at: https://www.bookofthemonth.com/the-gi...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary Keliikoa

    I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this amazing debut through Net Galley. Jaimie Elders is 19 and trapped in a small town, trying to live down the reputation of a mother who'd been in prison, a troubled brother where her loyalty runs deep, and being indebted to an uncle that has masked his reasons for taking her and her brother in for his own illegal gambling activities. The tale is familiar--a diabolical judge that runs the town, the married man who uses a young girl, a murder tha I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this amazing debut through Net Galley. Jaimie Elders is 19 and trapped in a small town, trying to live down the reputation of a mother who'd been in prison, a troubled brother where her loyalty runs deep, and being indebted to an uncle that has masked his reasons for taking her and her brother in for his own illegal gambling activities. The tale is familiar--a diabolical judge that runs the town, the married man who uses a young girl, a murder that is being covered up, the detective that refuses to give up until he uncovers the truth. Yet through the sometimes naive, but always resourceful eyes of Jaimie, it's a story that kept me turning the pages to know how it would turn out. From page one, I was drawn in and rooted for Jaimie to find her way out. In the end it's a story of hope, that we are not destined to live any other life than the one we choose.

  13. 3 out of 5

    Tracy Malenfant

    The Girl From Blind River jumps right in and moves quickly. There is a parallel between the skill, patience and ability to read people that Jamie has learned through poker that enable her to make difficult decisions, navigate family dynamics and analyze people. A mystery with depth…wonderful read from this debut author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Stein

    A captivating, gritty and crisp page turning criminal thriller with a fascinating and emotionally gripping protagonist in a colorful life setting that makes reading this book a delight. I can't wait to read more from this incredibly talented debut author whose name will soon become one of the genre's greats.

  15. 3 out of 5

    LV

    This is a fantastic, dazzling debut that provides glimpses into the underbelly of illegal gambling. It's a true page turner that will keep you engaged to the end. I can't wait to see the next book from this author!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    It all comes down to choices. The Elders family are known as con-men, liars, cheats, all around the sort of people you don't want your children associating with. Teenager Jamie gets caught in the middle while trying desperately to leave this small town and her family. One bad decision on her part puts her at her uncle's mercy. Because of what she did, she now owes her uncle an insane amount of money ... and she has to stay until it's all repaid. And then there is her younger brother, Toby. Could s It all comes down to choices. The Elders family are known as con-men, liars, cheats, all around the sort of people you don't want your children associating with. Teenager Jamie gets caught in the middle while trying desperately to leave this small town and her family. One bad decision on her part puts her at her uncle's mercy. Because of what she did, she now owes her uncle an insane amount of money ... and she has to stay until it's all repaid. And then there is her younger brother, Toby. Could she walk away and leave him behind? One night her uncle demands that Jamie help him ... dispose of a murdered man cover up his connection to the town's most powerful judge. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and uncle pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it—and face the consequences. Jamie is one smart cookie .. but is she smart enough to stay ahead of the law to save her brother ..and herself? This is a down-and-dirty look at illegal gambling and corruption that reaches the upper echelon of this small town. The people of this community are not always nice people ... mostly who Jamie has to deal with seem to live on the edge of humanity. This is a riveting debut novel, slowly moving heating up to an inferno with characters that stick with the reader far after reading the last page. There are twists and turns along the way to keep the reader rapidly turning pages to see what happens next. Many thanks to the author / Crooked Lane Books for the advanced digital copy of this most fascinating debut novel. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Robertson

    This is a stunning debut novel by Gale Massey. Jamie and her younger brother Toby live with their Uncle Loyal. He got custody of the kids when their mother was locked up. Jamie desperately wants to get out of Blind River and make a better life for her and Toby. All Toby dreams about is joining the Army when he gets out of school. The only thing holding him back is a terrible temper and a string of bad decisions. Jamie has become a pretty good online poker player, and she occasionally deals for h This is a stunning debut novel by Gale Massey. Jamie and her younger brother Toby live with their Uncle Loyal. He got custody of the kids when their mother was locked up. Jamie desperately wants to get out of Blind River and make a better life for her and Toby. All Toby dreams about is joining the Army when he gets out of school. The only thing holding him back is a terrible temper and a string of bad decisions. Jamie has become a pretty good online poker player, and she occasionally deals for her Uncle and his friends at their high stakes poker games. But when Jamie slips up and decides to skim some money from her Uncle's deposit one day, the stakes suddenly become much higher. A subplot develops out of a shady high stakes home poker game that Loyal is tied to. A celebrity that feels as though he's been taken for a ride accuses Loyal and a judge of fixing the game, and he is hell bent on getting revenge. Jamie's chance to make things right with Loyal and the judge suddenly develops when the ramifications from their shady game catch up with them. As time moves on, Jamie discovers some secrets that Loyal has been keeping from her and Toby. Teaming up with her mother, who is now out of prison, Jamie hatches a plan to turn the tables on Loyal and the judge and ultimately set things right in Blind River. I think this would be an interesting movie. It's a great story with interesting characters and location. I would recommend this book to fans of thrillers and suspense. I received this as a free ARC from Crooked Lane Books on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Randee Green

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. THE GIRL FROM BLIND RIVER, Gale Massey’s debut mystery novel, is due out July 10th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books. Nineteen year old Jamie Elder would like nothing more than to move on from her past – but that’s hard to do when she can’t even escape her hometown of Blind River, New York. Jamie’s father died when she was a child, and, not long after, her mother was convicted to an eight year prison term. Jamie, and her younger brother, Toby, have lived Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. THE GIRL FROM BLIND RIVER, Gale Massey’s debut mystery novel, is due out July 10th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books. Nineteen year old Jamie Elder would like nothing more than to move on from her past – but that’s hard to do when she can’t even escape her hometown of Blind River, New York. Jamie’s father died when she was a child, and, not long after, her mother was convicted to an eight year prison term. Jamie, and her younger brother, Toby, have lived with their abusive, law-breaking uncle ever since – and let’s just say that Uncle Loyal has done the absolute bare minimum required to provide for his brother’s children. The only reason Jamie has stuck around after high school is to take care of her younger brother. Once Toby turns eighteen and joins the Army, Jamie plans to skip town and join the traveling poker circuit. Her plans change when she steals money from her uncle. To repay her debt, Loyal forces Jamie to help him dispose of a dead body. The local police know that something is up, and Jamie is torn between keeping her mouth shut and telling all she knows. As Jamie learns more and more about what is going on in Blind River – and how it has shaped her life and continues to affect her and her brother – she realizes that there is only one choice for her to make. THE GIRL FROM BLIND RIVER is a fast-paced, compelling thriller that is told from multiple third-person points of view. The majority of the story is told from Jamie Elder’s perspective, but it is essential to have certain scenes told from other characters’ points of view. The reader will be captivated from the first page to the last as Jamie and the rest of the characters uncover the various secrets of Blind River. Jamie Elder is not perfect. She’s not always all that the likable. To be honest, none of the characters are really all that likable. You certainly wouldn’t want to invite them over for tea and cookies…But you would want them on your speed dial should you have a dead body to get rid of. Yet the readers will find themselves cheering for Jamie to overcome her past – her family members are criminals and she has been pegged from childhood to follow in their footsteps – and find a brighter future for herself. Jamie may be young, naïve, and bitter, but she is also resourceful and cunning. The chips may be stacked against her, but she knows how to play the odds. She will even cheat if she has to.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Suanne

    The Girl from Blind River is a fast-paced, impressive debut novel from Gale Massey. In it we meet Jamie Elders, a young woman of nineteen who’s trapped in Blind River, a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and in which children are pegged from birth to follow family bloodlines. When Jamie and her brother were young, their mother was sent to prison. Their uncle Loyal took them in, saving them from the “evils” of the Social Services Department. Anxious to break away and branch The Girl from Blind River is a fast-paced, impressive debut novel from Gale Massey. In it we meet Jamie Elders, a young woman of nineteen who’s trapped in Blind River, a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and in which children are pegged from birth to follow family bloodlines. When Jamie and her brother were young, their mother was sent to prison. Their uncle Loyal took them in, saving them from the “evils” of the Social Services Department. Anxious to break away and branch out on her own, Jamie wants to head to Florida to make money on the professional poker circuit. She learned cards from her mother early on and has the instincts of a savant, yet her age and inexperience necessarily mean she is somewhat naive. She also can’t leave Blind River as long as her brother Toby is in the care of the abusive Loyal who is in cahoots with a corrupt judge. Jamie’s naiveté also leads her to a going-nowhere affair with a married man who uses her for more than just sex. Despite her faults, she is well-rounded, but resourceful, smart, and strong. Her backstory is sprinkled in judiciously. The other characters are also well-rounded. No one, however, is totally innocent Massey does a terrific job amping up the tension. Jamie borrows from the money she collects from Loyal’s illegal gambling machines and loses it. In fiasco after fiasco, she grows deeper in debt to her snake of an uncle. Only when a detective from out of town convinces her to tell the truth of what she knows does Jamie see an end to her life in Blind River.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephenie Geschwender

    I received an arc of this from the publisher Crooked Lane in exchange for a review. For me the ending is where all the best things happen. In the beginning the story moves very slow, and it is difficult to get into for about the first 100 pages. That being said once the story takes off the twist and turns keep you interested. That being said some criticisms that I have are all personal reader preferences. For one thing there are multiple perspectives in this book and I had a major plot point ent I received an arc of this from the publisher Crooked Lane in exchange for a review. For me the ending is where all the best things happen. In the beginning the story moves very slow, and it is difficult to get into for about the first 100 pages. That being said once the story takes off the twist and turns keep you interested. That being said some criticisms that I have are all personal reader preferences. For one thing there are multiple perspectives in this book and I had a major plot point entirely muddled because I couldn’t remember who’s point of view I was reading in so later in the book I was confused: having headers as to who you’re reading from for each chapter would have done wonders for me as I find it’s a lot easier to remember what chapter and story line belongs to what character. Secondly an explanation of the poker game would have made this significantly more enjoyable for me, or at least defining some of the terms used, I actually had to google Texas hold’em poker to lessen my frustration. Those criticisms aside I throughly enjoyed the fact that no one, and I mean no one is entirely innocent in this entire novel. As I’ve grown as a person and a reader I find that more and more books where characters walk the thin line between good and bad appeal more to me. It gives a depth and reality to the story that is lacking books where there’s a definitive line. For a debut novel Massey has done a wonderful job of actually surprising me with the ending of this novel. I greatly enjoyed being able to read this novel and hope there is more in the works from her.

  21. 3 out of 5

    L Corky

    #TheGirlFromBlindRIver #NetGalley Thank you #NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the E-ARC copy of this book Life can be tough living in a small town where everyone knows everyone. It can be even tougher when your family has a terrible reputation. When Jamie's mother goes to prison her and her brother Toby move in with their Uncle Loyal. Loyal is a con man, running crooked poker games and gambling machines. Jamie is forced to work for her uncle and to help him hide a dead body. Will Jamie and her #TheGirlFromBlindRIver #NetGalley Thank you #NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the E-ARC copy of this book Life can be tough living in a small town where everyone knows everyone. It can be even tougher when your family has a terrible reputation. When Jamie's mother goes to prison her and her brother Toby move in with their Uncle Loyal. Loyal is a con man, running crooked poker games and gambling machines. Jamie is forced to work for her uncle and to help him hide a dead body. Will Jamie and her brother ever get away from Loyal and have a better life? A very well written story, I would definitely recommend this book.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Renee

    Description 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. My Thoughts Jamie has the misfortune to come from a small town where everyone has some kind of re Description 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. My Thoughts Jamie has the misfortune to come from a small town where everyone has some kind of reputation. Her family, the Elders are known to all and not because of their brilliance or charitable nature, but rather because they are criminals. Jamie wants to leave this town and her family behind, with the exception of her brother Toby. However, her Uncle Loyal has other plans, including framing Toby for murder and making Jamie dispose of the body. Has Jamie learned enough from her family to turn the tables on her Uncle Loyal, save Toby and escape her life in Blind River? I quite liked this story, perhaps because I am from a small town and understand how someone can have a parent or sibling with a bad reputation and be branded as 'no good' not because of who they are or what they have done, but just because of another family member. Jamie has been dealt a bad hand, but how she handles herself and how she envisions her future is at the heart of this story. She is no innocent Little Miss Sunshine type character, but rather someone just trying to secure a better life.I thought her character was very well written and her situation believable. This is the first book I have read by Gale Massey and I will be interested to see what she writes next. Thank you, Gale Massey, Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the digital ARC to read and review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    L Corky

    #TheGirlFromBlindRIver #NetGalley Thank you #NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the E-ARC copy of this book Life can be tough living in a small town where everyone knows everyone. It can be even tougher when your family has a terrible reputation. When Jamie's mother goes to prison her and her brother Toby move in with their Uncle Loyal. Loyal is a con man, running crooked poker games and gambling machines. Jamie is forced to work for her uncle and to help him hide a dead body. Will Jamie and her #TheGirlFromBlindRIver #NetGalley Thank you #NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the E-ARC copy of this book Life can be tough living in a small town where everyone knows everyone. It can be even tougher when your family has a terrible reputation. When Jamie's mother goes to prison her and her brother Toby move in with their Uncle Loyal. Loyal is a con man, running crooked poker games and gambling machines. Jamie is forced to work for her uncle and to help him hide a dead body. Will Jamie and her brother ever get away from Loyal and have a better life? A very well written story, I would definitely recommend this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    P.J. Vernon

    Review forthcoming.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I'm sure if I understood poker I would have enjoyed this book more. All the talk of this card versus this on the river, I just didn't get. Jamie seemed a spunky protagonist even if she was naive at times. Jack was bad news - anyone could see that. Still she trusted him. I just don't like to gamble with anything. Money, love, job. I like secure. It is hard for me to understand why anyone would risk something a deck of cards. In all the movies and books, it never ends well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jaime North

    So I actually loved this book. And I knew I was going to like it because in the first chapter, while reading I got the vibe where it was reminding me a bit of The Outsiders. Even though that was pretty much the end of the similarities, it was still off to an amazing start. For one thing, this book was just different from anything else I had read lately. When people catch onto trends and it’s like they toy around with the same ideas in different ways, it was refreshing to read something different. So I actually loved this book. And I knew I was going to like it because in the first chapter, while reading I got the vibe where it was reminding me a bit of The Outsiders. Even though that was pretty much the end of the similarities, it was still off to an amazing start. For one thing, this book was just different from anything else I had read lately. When people catch onto trends and it’s like they toy around with the same ideas in different ways, it was refreshing to read something different. Secondly, I love some good complex characters and without overdoing it, the author established so well who these people are. But she still managed to avoid cliches and didn’t cop out with an easy clean ending. I just thought this was great all the way through - definitely will be a remaining fan for this author when she writes more😊

  27. 4 out of 5

    Coleen (The Book Ramblings)

    Blind River is a town you would not want to be caught in but Gale Massey has written the ideal atmospheric thriller that everyone should be reading this fall. A full review will be posted soon on the blog and here!

  28. 3 out of 5

    Rochelle

    Review forthcoming.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Glenda Bailey-Mershon

    I like few books as much as The Girl from Blind River. If I could give it 4.5 stars, I would only because it meanders just a bit early on in setting up Jamie Elder’s story. But four stars just won’t do. Why? Because, wow, this is one great debut novel. This book may be marketed as crime or mystery, but don’t be fooled. The author, Gale Massey, has a message she wants you to get and a theme she develops to provide the spine of the mystery, and she builds that framework and message brilliantly. Th I like few books as much as The Girl from Blind River. If I could give it 4.5 stars, I would only because it meanders just a bit early on in setting up Jamie Elder’s story. But four stars just won’t do. Why? Because, wow, this is one great debut novel. This book may be marketed as crime or mystery, but don’t be fooled. The author, Gale Massey, has a message she wants you to get and a theme she develops to provide the spine of the mystery, and she builds that framework and message brilliantly. This story crackles and pops with characters both moral and immoral and every stage in between, all trying to get over in a town with a failed economy and a criminal mastermind or two. And Jamie and her younger brother land smack in the middle of the biggest con the locals have seen in a long while. But there’s so much more here than criminal misadventures and mystery. Ultimately, this is a story about a girl who could choose to succumb to or to overcome her family’s legacy of theft and violence. What do you do if your father is dead, your mother is in prison, and your guardian/uncle is a criminal who orders you to perform his pickups and errands? And if your little brother is the fall guy in a murder he didn’t commit? How will you negotiate the traps along your path that threaten to pull you for good into a world of thieves, con men, and murderers? Will you use your quick mind and sharp senses for crime or some distant future you can’t quite envision for yourself? How will you escape? Which way is out? And given the chance to run, will you stop to retrieve the brother you swore to protect? Jamie is good at one thing, poker, and she rides it to find a way out. She’s no victim, but a sharp and quick-thinking girl learning how to use every chance to protect herself and her brother. Massey understands not only the game but why people gamble, and her deft handling of telling details makes it hard to put this book down. She also knows how to build tension and momentum, and there are times when this novel fairly hums with enterprise. Just because people are poor, or bent, doesn’t mean they’re stupid. And just because they’re flush doesn’t mean they’re virtuous. Massey wants us to see how people can be trapped by poverty, ignorance, and grim surroundings into the wrong path. She wants us to get what fears and insecurities grip a young girl turning woman on her own in such vulnerable circumstances. And she is damn sure gonna make you wish with all your heart that Jamie makes the right choice. And, oh, yes, this writer can write sentences that make you smell the acrid scents of a failed logging town, see the shadows in endless woods, hear the haunted song of a river that seems to rush to nowhere. I haven’t seen crime writing this good since Raymond Chandler. I am not kidding. Massey has the chops and you’ll be wishing with me that her next novel’s not far behind. Note: I received an ARC from the publisher and have previously interviewed this writer.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Albert

    The Girl From Blind River by Gale Massey is another novel that readers of popular fiction will pass right by and not realize the gem of a book this one really is. Gritty and brutally honest, this is the tale of what we do for the ones we love and how the forces of family and small town America can keep us down. Comparisons will be made to Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone and if you don't know what that book is, then it is well past time for you to expand your horizons. "...I see it all the time. The Girl From Blind River by Gale Massey is another novel that readers of popular fiction will pass right by and not realize the gem of a book this one really is. Gritty and brutally honest, this is the tale of what we do for the ones we love and how the forces of family and small town America can keep us down. Comparisons will be made to Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone and if you don't know what that book is, then it is well past time for you to expand your horizons. "...I see it all the time. Kids like Toby are like a tidal wave that just rolls over you. Parents think they're creating something better than themselves , something beautiful and wondrous, but it isn't like that. Kids are their own form of grief-if they don't pull you under, they show you what you're made of..." The Elders family are criminals and cheats. A simple truth that has haunted nineteen year old Jamie Elders all her life. A truth that will continue to keep her down as long as she stays in Blind River. But she cannot leave just yet. She is her uncle Loyal's ward and her younger brother Toby has to stay on the straight and narrow so that he can join the Army one day. That in itself is the challenge. But Jamie has a plan. She is a wiz at online poker and slowly, she is creating a savings that will buy her away from Blind River. Toby gets to be in the Army and she gets out. No more Blind River. No more running errands for her uncle Toby's illegal gambling business and no more being just another crooked Elder. She can go where the Elder name won't follow her. But plans have a way of changing and in Jamie's case, falling completely apart. There is a dead body and all her money disappears and now she is in debt to her Uncle Loyal and the only way to pay him back is to help him hide a body. Jamie feels herself sliding deeper and deeper into the Elder ways. But it is when her younger brother Toby is accused of murder that she feels it all slip away. "...That day. The preacher was baptizing people.' 'You made me wait so you could take a turn.' He'd been so stubborn about it and she'd sat there sweating in the sun for an hour. 'That river was cold. I always thought that's what it'd be like to die, you know? Everything just goes cold.' He pushed up from the table. 'Toby, don't go there. Don't do that.' But he was already banging on the door. The guard opened the door, unlocked the chains, and grabbed Toby's arm. She tried to grab his sleeve, but the guard blocked her hand. 'Give me a little time, Toby,' she said, but he didn't turn back. His metal anklets clanged against the concrete floor as he disappeared into the sound of a dozen slamming doors..." Now Jamie has to bet it all on one last long shot gamble. To free her brother, to get her freedom and be the one Elder who amounted to something. But with a crooked Judge and her criminal Uncle and ex-con mother and the whole area of Blind River in her way. Will she even survive? Gale Massey has written a terrific novel of the struggles of escaping the home that is its very own prison. Jamie Elder is a character that we can all relate to as we try to become more in our lives than the world around us wants us to be. She has every reason to give up. A best friend who has become the very thing they both swore that they would not be. A younger brother whose self destructive tendencies keep both of them chained to their small town. An uncle who is both burdened and angry at having to raise two children that are not his. A mother who looks out only for herself. And there is Blind River, a prison without walls. The Girl From Blind River is the evolution of the American Novel. It is not trying to make some deep social and political statement. It is a novel about people and a place. It is about struggle and hope. It is about all of us.

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