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River Woman, River Demon: a Novel
Cover of River Woman, River Demon: a Novel
River Woman, River Demon: a Novel
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Award-winning Mexican-American and Indigenous author Jennifer Givhan brings us an exquisitely written, spell-binding psychological thriller—weaving together folk magick with personal and cultural empowerment—that is perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic.

When Eva's husband is arrested for the murder of a friend, she must confront her murky past and embrace her magick to find out what really happened that night on the river.

Eva Santos Moon is a burgeoning Chicana artist who practices the ancient, spiritual ways of brujería and curanderisma, but she's at one of her lowest points—suffering from disorienting blackouts, creative stagnation, and a feeling of disconnect from her magickal roots. When her husband, a beloved university professor and the glue that holds their family together, is taken into custody for the shocking murder of their friend, Eva doesn't know whom to trust—least of all, herself. She soon falls under suspicion as a potential suspect, and her past rises to the surface, dredging up the truth about an eerily similar death from her childhood.

Struggling with fragmented memories and self-doubt, an increasingly terrified Eva fears that she might have been involved in both murders. But why doesn't she remember? Only the dead women know for sure, and they're coming for her with a haunting vengeance. As she fights to keep her family out of danger, Eva realizes she must use her magick as a bruja to protect herself and her loved ones, while confronting her own dark history.

River Woman, River Demon is a mysterious incantation of reckoning with the past and claiming one's unique power and voice.

Award-winning Mexican-American and Indigenous author Jennifer Givhan brings us an exquisitely written, spell-binding psychological thriller—weaving together folk magick with personal and cultural empowerment—that is perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic.

When Eva's husband is arrested for the murder of a friend, she must confront her murky past and embrace her magick to find out what really happened that night on the river.

Eva Santos Moon is a burgeoning Chicana artist who practices the ancient, spiritual ways of brujería and curanderisma, but she's at one of her lowest points—suffering from disorienting blackouts, creative stagnation, and a feeling of disconnect from her magickal roots. When her husband, a beloved university professor and the glue that holds their family together, is taken into custody for the shocking murder of their friend, Eva doesn't know whom to trust—least of all, herself. She soon falls under suspicion as a potential suspect, and her past rises to the surface, dredging up the truth about an eerily similar death from her childhood.

Struggling with fragmented memories and self-doubt, an increasingly terrified Eva fears that she might have been involved in both murders. But why doesn't she remember? Only the dead women know for sure, and they're coming for her with a haunting vengeance. As she fights to keep her family out of danger, Eva realizes she must use her magick as a bruja to protect herself and her loved ones, while confronting her own dark history.

River Woman, River Demon is a mysterious incantation of reckoning with the past and claiming one's unique power and voice.

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About the Author-
  • Jennifer Givhan, a National Endowment for the Arts and PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellow, is a Mexican American writer and activist. She is the author of four full-length poetry collections and her honors include the Frost Place Latinx Scholarship, the New Ohio Review's Poetry Prize, and others.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2022
    A murder mystery with organic roots in the otherworldly. Eva Santos Moon is a glass blower by trade and a bruja by heritage. Her husband, Jericho, a college professor, also runs a Magick shop, and they have two wonderful children whose names begin with X. But no amount of protection they can summon will help when they discover the body of Eva's friend Cecelia in the river behind their house and Jericho is immediately arrested for her murder. Evidence emerges that suggests he may have been having an affair with Cecelia, but when Eva tries to talk to him about it, he suggests he may plead guilty to protect her. After all, it's not the first time someone close to Eva has died; when she was 15, her best friend drowned, and she was believed by some to be responsible. The trauma of this most recent death, and her suspicions about Jericho, instantly sends Eva back to a place of trauma; drinking and blacking out, she also begins to experience visitations from Cecelia's ghost. Then a former love reenters her life, and Eva has to decide where her path of happiness lies--and how far she will go to find out the truth about Cecelia's murder. There are all the expected thrills and chills as well as some unexpected ones, but the real gift here is Givhan's command of language. She employs gorgeous metaphors and crass slang with precision. In a similar way, the mystical and the earthly are seamlessly intertwined, in place as well as in plot. It's not often that we get a story of hoodoo and conjuring that presents these as religious elements rather than sensational ones. Eva embodies these complexities as well; she's a memorable and multifaceted heroine. Sharp as glass shards and lush as the desert after the rain, the writing is the true magic here.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 10, 2022
    Eva Santos Moon, the narrator of this captivating whodunit from Givhan (Jubilee), is haunted by the drowning of her childhood best friend, Karma Marquez, when they were both 15. Years later, Eva still can’t remember whether she tried to save Karma or pushed her under the water. Consequently, Eva suffers from PTSD, marked by severe nightmares and blackouts. One night, Eva hears her husband, Jericho, screaming from the direction of the river near their New Mexico home. When she runs to help him, she finds him holding the bloody body of a close family friend, Cecilia Trujillo, who was apparently left to drown in the river by an attacker who smashed Cecilia’s face. Jericho is promptly accused of murder. When Eva later discovers texts between Cecilia and Jericho that suggest they were intimate, she feels betrayed. The coincidence of two friends dying by drowning doesn’t escape Eva. She again wonders whether she was somehow involved. In her effort to uncover the truth, Eva relies on the bruja spirit, an ancient spiritual art that she inherited from her late mother. But who can she trust? Givhan keeps the surprises coming. Psychological thriller fans will be well satisfied. Agent: Rebecca Friedman, Curtis Brown.

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River Woman, River Demon: a Novel
River Woman, River Demon: a Novel
Jennifer Givhan
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