A Perfect Confluence
by Peter Bridgford
Black Rose Writing

"He had no idea what trials and tribulations might lie ahead for him on this river, but he secretly hoped they would all be as easy to get through as this first set of rapids."

Crime caper meets riverine adventure in this whimsical yet riveting tale. Noah is a likable jerk, an ex-addict on the mend who foolishly messes around with the local mob boss’s daughter. He’s not interested in Papa Guerro’s offer when Lizzie announces she’s pregnant after the one-night stand: marriage or certain death. This small-time godfather runs a funeral parlor and forces his victims’ families to use his services, so there’s no possible escape.

On the cusp of Noah’s newly mended life crumbling completely, he flees Buffalo, New York, to paddle down the Allegheny River in an old canoe belonging to his deceased parents. He finds solace navigating rapids in the wilderness but knows he must face a much bigger world ahead as he paddles toward the confluence of the Allegheny and the great Ohio River, where the metaphorical passage becomes far more perilous despite the controls of levees, dams, and locks. Before Noah reaches that point, he suffers a debilitating fever and is rescued by Becca, a pregnant teenager on the lam from an abusive husband in the mountains of West Virginia.

As it turns out, not only are pregnant women an indelible part of his karmic destiny, but also Noah’s pursuers, the wacky but deadly Guerro brothers, are close behind. They lend some comedic relief to what could have been another adrenaline-drenched but forgettable crime thriller populated with cookie-cutter villains and good guys. Bridgford’s multidimensional characters display both flattering and unflattering traits, and his practiced storytelling chops keep the tale percolating in many shades of gray and moving at a brisk pace. Readers may be in for an all-day read or a long night with this novel because the river journey is truly addictive from beginning to end. Noah and Becca’s fans will cheer them on to a vibrant new life.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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