Featured: Dark River Rising by Susan Clayton-Goldner

Featured: Dark River Rising by Susan Clayton-Goldner Purchase:

Review: “Dark River Rising brings up so many different emotions. It will make you sad and mad all at the same time.”

When Detective Winston Radhauser’s phone rings in the middle of the night, he knows something terrible has happened. On this night, a homeless man, rummaging for food in a local dumpster, finds the body of a severely beaten young woman.

On scene, Radhauser estimates the victim to be in her early twenties. He’s overcome when he learns the forensics reveal she is the girl whose disappearance has haunted him for three years—Ava Cartwright.

In broad daylight, Ava’s bicycle had been found parked with the kickstand down near a wooded area. Search parties inched their way through every portion of those woods, the neighborhood, nearby Lithia Park, and along miles of railroad tracks, but there was no sign of the little girl.

Where has she been all this time? And why was she dumped on the eve of her thirteenth birthday?

There must be something, some tiny detail, he missed that will give him a lead.

This time, Radhauser won’t quit until he finds it.

Susan Clayton-Goldner

Meet Susan Clayton-Goldner:

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she was a creative writing major in college.

Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona’s Medical School.

About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams in 1991–purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy rode, trained and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career.

Through the writing process, Susan has discovered she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work.

Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014. Her novel, A Bend in the Willow was released in 2017 and is a Readers’ Choice Best Books of 2017 winner.

She has just finished a her 11th book in the award-winning Winston Radhauser mystery series and is working on #12. She has also completed a stand-alone thriller, called Tormented, which won the Rone Award for best thriller, and a novel based on her journey to love and forgiveness with her alcoholic and abusive father entitled Missing Pieces.

After spending 3 years in Nashville, Susan and Andy enjoyed a quiet life in Grants Pass, Oregon, with her growing list of fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. Andy died from a massive brain bleed on March 10, 2021.

For months afterwards, Susan couldn’t write about anything except grief. She found the grief road to be rocky with many pot holes, but she is now writing again. And has found happiness with a man she was in love with 37 years ago, 2 years before she met Andy.

She now shares her time between Tucson and Grants Pass. Somehow she knows the writing will be what brings her back to life. When she isn’t writing, Susan enjoys making quilts and stained-glass windows. She says it is a lot like writing–telling stories with fabric and glass.

Review by Nancy Allen, The Avid Reader:

Detective Winston Radhauser is awakened during the middle of the night by a phone call informing him that a body was found in a dumpster by a homeless man who will only talk to Winston.

When Winston first sees the body he believes the body to be of a young woman in her early twenties. He is later informed by the ME that the young woman in question is actually the body of a thirteen-year-old girl who went missing about three years ago.

Three years ago ten-year-old Ava was out riding her new bike that she just got for her birthday. Ava wanted a kitten for her birthday but her parents got her a bike instead. Ava sees a kitten at the edge of the woods. A man is holding the kitten.

Ava knows the rules but she wants the cat so badly. She knows the man with the kitten. She believes that her parents must have changed their minds about the kitten and decided she could have it. She thinks that is the reason the man is there with the kitten. She thinks this man was sent by her parents to give her the kitten.

Dark River Rising is told from more than one point of view. One of those points of view is Ava’s. We find out what happened to Ava through her own eyes and story. We get to hear from her mother, father, and little brother as well as Detective Radhauser.

Dark River Rising is one of the most heart-wrenching stories I do believe Susan has written so far. But each one gets better and better. As of right now, I do believe that Dark River Rising is the best one.

Dark River Rising brings up so many different emotions. It will make you sad and mad all at the same time. My heart was filled with so much sadness from the very beginning. Dark River Rising is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time.

Dark River Rising is one of those stories that you are not sure if you can read but then you think about Ava and her story that she deserves for it to be read. I believe that Ava would want her story told in hopes that she could help many children.

Dark River Rising is a sad story but I do highly recommend it to one and all.

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