Today’s Book of the Day is a Psychological Thriller novel by Roger Canaff and it’s 80% off for a limited time. Copperhead Road has a 4.8 star rating and is on sale for only 99 cents – save $4!
“I was spellbound by the richly developed characters, fast-paced, cleverly intersecting plot, and clean, crisp, vigorous writing.” Kevin – Amazon Reviewer
by Roger Canaff
Rating: 4.8 Stars
Genre: Thriller and Suspense
Price: $0.99 save $4
At seventeen, John Ray had silently survived years of childhood molestation at the hands of a respected coach and mentor in his hometown. That should have been enough. But as younger boys start disappearing, found sexually abused and murdered in the same woods where he was once victimized, he must confront not only his own past but an interwoven set of characters, some evil, some desperate and some both, who share his memories in one way or another.
On the edge of manhood, it is five years since John escaped his own child abuse, although the abuser, Jim Kelly, remains a family friend and a well-liked pillar of the community. But Kelly has left him alone for years, and John assumes he’s safe at last.
He’s beginning his last year of high school, the memory buried under the typical pangs of adolescence, cigarettes, swiped liquor, and the warmth of his friends- boys who, at least for now, know nothing of what he suffered. Whatever the lingering effects, he bears them alone.
There is only one other boy he knows who was also molested by the same serial predator- and they are enemies by clique affiliation and never speak. For John, the nightmare seems over. He will soon discover how wrong he is.
As the hunt for the first missing child intensifies, a new student appears who focuses on John and the other victim, Vinnie, in a subtle but unmistakable way that gnaws at them. The new student, Lon, a loner and rebellious outsider, gradually reveals to both John and Vinnie what he knows about their past, and through a series of demands for confession and atonement, seeks to punish them for how he believes they failed to act in response to their victimization. He’ll punish the town as well for its complicity in what “Big Jim” did to so many for so long. If they don’t cooperate, they’ll be exposed, and far worse.
As summer dies, the first boy is found in a shallow grave. More will follow; the town has a serial child killer in its midst.
John struggles to determine who Lon is and what he really wants, but he cannot turn to Vinnie, and opening himself up to his friends is yet unthinkable. In fact, his closest childhood friend might bear innocent responsibility for the abuse he suffered.
As fall and winter progress, Lon weaves a tighter and tighter noose around John and Vinnie, forcing them to commit acts of revenge against town leaders who may have been complicit in Kelly’s acts. But it’s not just Lon who John is trying desperately to outfox or at least outlive- it’s an entire group now, each with secrets to hide at any cost, and a child murderer still unknown. And still busy.
What John must do, whom he must open up to at long last, and which corpses he must unearth, both literally and figuratively, in order to stop the madness around him is what drives this intense story to its heart-pounding conclusion.
In addition to its pace and rich character development, Copperhead Road features an eerie and remarkable sense of place; its setting is the Northern Virginia suburbs of the mid 1980’s, pre-cell phone and pre-Internet, and will carry any reader back to a simpler but sometimes darker recent past. Please don’t forget to check the “Look Inside” feature for more detail as well.
Here’s what the reviewers have to say:
It’s hard to believe that I was lucky enough to find another outstanding book this year for such a bargain price. I like books with many rich characters, and subplots woven masterfully throughout and tightly connected to the main story. If you decide to buy this book, set aside some uninterrupted time because you won’t put it down for long.
I was hooked from the first page. Well written and thoroughly engrossing, Roger did a fantastic job of making me feel personally involved in the story. While it is a difficult subject to read about, I felt compelled to keep going because I was emotionally invested in what happened to each character. Well done.
I highly recommend that everyone take time to read this book. It definitely made me think too that even as loving caring parents we often don’t want to see bad happening to our children. It definitely made me as a parent think about following my gut if I think something isn’t right with my kids.
Will be recommending this to my book club. Well written. Takes a very difficult subject and brings it to life with just the right amount of detail, angst and emotion to hold the readers interest and bring light to the issue of sexual abuse in our society. Well done, Roger Canaff.
Brilliantly written, well crafted story. The only downside is that the story ends. The characters are crafted in a way that makes you want to follow them long after the last page. I look forward to the next book by this author!
Get Copperhead Road here: Copperhead Road
About The Author
A former prosecutor and current consultant and legal expert on special victims issues, Roger Canaff was born in New York City, raised in Northern Virginia, and attended college and law school at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and then Chapel Hill, respectively. He prosecuted child abuse and sexual violence cases in Alexandria, Virginia and then the Bronx, New York with stints in between managing attorneys and consulting on cases in the US and abroad.
He lives in New York City and continues to write, speak, teach and consult on special victims cases in addition to writing from www.rogercanaff.com.
Stephen King once dedicated a novel to his children with the words “Kids, fiction is the truth inside the lie.” That’s a beautiful sentiment, and I suppose when I reflect on the gifts in my life, the one of simple storytelling- either of a story I’ve enjoyed or one I’ve told, ranks as high as any.
The reality of sexual abuse in early childhood drove me, in a way, to what I considered a calming distance from the concept of truth. But in boomerang fashion I returned to it with a vengeance and became a special victims prosecutor in the late 1990’s, a career I loved dearly and still take part in as a trainer and consultant.
But whatever state I’ve endured where my trust of and contentment with the hard and real have been concerned, fiction has always been there. Writing has been the vessel, the path and the destination. Like many who practice it I probably have little choice. There’s magic in the ability to tell a tale; I’ve known it since I was a toddler and looking for the audience I still seek almost everywhere I go.
Truth is power; a disarming, vivacious force. I told that to the victims I worked with- hundreds of them, mostly children- when helping to prepare them for testimony in child abuse cases. Their accounts were not stories in the sense of being fictional, but from their shared memories and my own I have created fiction that I suppose is the very essence of myth: Every bit the truth inside the lie.
When I’m not writing I am living in New York City and loving every insultingly expensive, overcrowded, cursed weather-beaten moment of it. I own a sailboat and love nothing quite like feeling her fly beneath me when the wind is right around 12 knots and steady. I’m blessed with a loving family, a beautiful nephew, and the best childhood friends- still steadfast after 40 years- that I could have asked to help pull me through. Newer friends have appeared as well and decorated my life in layered ways I never thought possible. I believe in a God and still practice as a left-leaning Catholic, although with strong Deist tendencies. Lately my most tempting image of God is one of a frustrated artist and the cosmos a palette. Magnificent. But still striving.
It’s a joy-filled, messy thing. I can only smile ear to ear at the chance to be a part of it, every day, until the last one meets me. Until then, I’ll tell stories. Thanks for reading this one.
Thank you for considering today’s Book Of The Day – Roger Canaff and ENT appreciate it.