Aging millionaire Campbell Bradford is dying. He has never discussed his childhood in southern Indiana, never offered any hints as to how he got started. He has certainly never explained the story behind his decades-old bottle of spring water, which always feels chill to the touch, no matter what.
It’s too late for Campbell to divulge his secrets, so his daughter-in-law does the next best thing. She hires Eric Shaw to create a documentary in the twin towns of West Baden and French Lick. Eric will dig into the local history, learning more about the magnificent West Baden Springs Hotel and the early-twentieth-century tourism activity that flourished around the area’s natural springs.
It’s fast cash for a has-been filmmaker, and besides, Eric is intrigued by the story. He’s eager to begin researching—but he’ll have no need of libraries or museums or newspaper clippings. The visions will give him all the material he needs.
They start as soon as he gets to town. One moment everything is normal, the next he’s been transported back to the time of gangsters and Prohibition and quality moonshine. A violin plays a haunting melody, and a man in a dapper suit invites him to board the train.
Where are the visions coming from? Could it have something to do with the water in the bottle? (Say—is that bottle of water getting colder?) And who was the man on the train?
Michael Koryta, already established as a crime novelist, here takes the plunge into supernatural horror. This is not exactly a ghost story, though there is a ghost, sort of, and something is being haunted, probably. There is a stately old hotel, a hero with personal demons, a bad guy with worse personal demons, and a creepy bottle of water that holds clues to the town’s distant past.
Check the WRL catalog for So Cold the River