Nancy Corbett

General Fiction

River of Heaven

by Lee Martin

Samuel Brady is a closeted gay man in his declining years. His greatest ambition is to go to his grave with the secret of what happened on the night in Rat Town when he was a teenager and Dewey Finn died on the railroad tracks. So far, Sammy has done a stellar job of maintaining a life of solitude, living in the small town of St. Gilead, Illinois with his Basset Hound, Stump. But when his next-door-neighbor, Arthur, becomes a widower, he also becomes a bit of a pest. Before he knows it, Sammy finds that he likes Arthurís company, and the two of them become buddies. Once the door is opened, people begin to step into Sammyís life at an alarming rate. In spite of his resistance, he finds comfort and joy in the company of others. And he finds that the secret that wanted to be kept also wants to be told. All of the characters in Lee Martinís novel, River of Heaven, are vulnerable and likeable. But, then, readers are introduced to all of the characters through Sammyís narration, and Sammy is a decidedly vulnerable and likeable character himself. When Sammyís moody brother shows up midway through the story, bearing his own dark secrets, he also brings with him love and good intentions. The journey to the end of the tale and the telling of the secrets takes some unexpected turns but will leave the reader feeling that sweetness and love can be found at times when it is not sought.

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams..." Arthur O'Shaughnessy

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