Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Reservoir -- Review and Giveaway

The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson
Published:  2011 by Other Press
Source:  Purchased at my local independent bookstore

  Once again I must give credit to the Books on the Nightstand Readers' Retreat (best weekend ever) for bringing a book to my attention that I likely would not have chosen on my own.  

  The Reservoir is a novel based on a true event that happened in Richmond, VA, in the late 1800s (the novel sets the year at 1885).     A young, pregnant woman is found lying dead in the town's reservoir and the investigation immediately begins to, firstly, identify her; and to determine her cause of death.  A "person of interest" is revealed right away -- Tommie Cluverius, who is described as fleeing Richmond to his family's home in rural Virginia almost immediately after the death is discovered.

  Of course it would not be a novel if the story ended there.  Tommie -- a young lawyer on his way up in the world -- is arrested for the murder of Lillie Madison, his cousin and occasional lover; and the novel goes back and forth between the preparation of the trial and the trial itself and the details of Tommie and Lillie's relationship.  Throughout these narratives we meet a host of interesting characters:  Tommie's brother Willie, loyal and willing to do anything to help his brother; the boys' Aunt Jane, Tommie's legal team, and the investigators of the death. 

  What I really enjoyed about this book was that the mystery lingered throughout the entire story.  Just when I decided the outcome, something happened to make me question that and change my mind, only for another twist to get me to return to my original thought.  Most importantly, these twists were not to my mind just devices thrown in to keep the reader interested, rather they were subtly included; and even now after reading the book twice I still cannot be sure I know what truly happened.
  This is an ideal book for both mystery lovers and for those interested in Southern fiction.  Highly recommended.

  Be sure to check the blog tomorrow for a guest post from John Milliken Thompson, The Reservoir's author.

  The publisher of The Reservoir, Other Press, has graciously offered a copy for giveaway to a lucky reader in the US or Canada (sorry, international readers).  Please leave your e-mail address in the comments below and the winner will be selected at random on Sunday, July 24.


  1. This book sounds really good. Thanks for the chance.
    amandarwest atgmaildotcom

  2. I like books that have subtle and ambiguous endings, so this sounds good. It also impresses me that the twists felt so organic and not contrived at all. I would love the chance to be entered in your giveaway, and thanks for hosting it. Great review, by the way!


  3. It certainly sounds like a fascinating read, especially since you mentioned reading it twice now! Thanks for the contest.

  4. This looks like my kind of book. I love mysteries and I also love true crime so I am really looking forward to reading this. Thank you for the chance at winning a copy :)


  5. After meeting the author at the BOTNS Retreat and hearing him speak about his own book I'm dying to read it!

  6. I'd love to check this book out!
    Thanks for the chance!

    fineinsanity (at) live (dot) com

  7. Thank you! I just received my copy today!!

    Shirley @ My Bookshelf


What do you think? Good or bad, I'd love to hear from you (but be nice - I'm sensitive!)