‘Cold Black Earth’ (A Book Review)

UMF English Department Blog

cold black earth

Review by Curtis Cole
Author Sam Reaves knows how to set the mood: for his latest suspense novel, Cold Black Earth, he paints a dilapidated picture of American industry gone wrong; de-industrialization has made the land “looked tired” (1 ), causing protagonist Rachel Lindstrom to fear finding her “lost Eden… changed” (3). Rachel has good reason to be frightened of change after being away from her home town, Peoria, Illinois, for over twenty years—during which she missed the death of both of her parents (6) as well as the suicide of her sister-in-law (7)—while being forced to fight on behalf of Empire in Iraq, she now desires nothing more than an existential recuperation, to be babied and doted upon while she reconnects with old friends, hopefully assuaging her war-time horrors. All of which points to the realization that what haunts Rachel is not memories of her youth, of finding her…

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