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.
A psychological thriller that weaves together the threads of folk magick with personal and cultural empowerment, River Woman, River Demon is a mysterious incantation of reckoning with the past and claiming one’s unique power and voice.
“Jennifer Givhan has invoked a delectable spellbinder. River Woman, River Demon is a conjuring of equal parts murder mystery, brujería, sex and romance, hauntings and terror, femme empowerment, all with a dash of Northern New Mexican cooking. ¡Buen provecho!” —Ana Castillo, award-winning author of So Far from God
“A murder mystery with organic roots in the otherworldly…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.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Givhan’s River Woman, River Demon is full of unexpected magick, hauntings, and secrets as a woman makes sense of her past and her power. I loved figuring out with her what exactly she was capable of.” —Sarah Blake, author of Clean Air
“Jenn Givhan is a powerful conjurer of words. In River Woman, River Demon she has woven a tale rich in culture, folklore, and social relevance. Intriguing, suspenseful, and inspiring, the novel reminds us that no matter how dark life may become, we don’t need to be perfect and we don’t have to fight every battle alone to rise toward the light.” —Rudy Ruiz, author of The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez and Valley of Shadows
“Riveting…Featuring lush, evocative prose and beautiful, detailed descriptions of people and places, the book is difficult to put down…River Woman, River Demon is a seamless psychological and supernatural thriller about resilience and personal empowerment.” —Foreword Reviews (starred review)
Jennifer Givhan, a National Endowment for the Arts and PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellow, is a Chicana and Indigenous novelist, poet, and transformational coach. She is the author of Jubilee, which received an honorable mention for the 2021 Rudolfo Anaya Best Latino-Focused Fiction Book Award, and Trinity Sight, winner of the 2020 Southwest Book Award. She has also published five full-length poetry collections and her honors include the Frost Place Latinx Scholarship and the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize.
Kyla Garcia is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. Born and raised in Hoboken, New Jersey, she discovered acting at the age of eight when she played Lady Macbeth in a children’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. She made her off-Broadway debut at fifteen when she played Dorothy in Oz: A Twisted Musical. Eleven years after she discovered her passion for acting, she would go on to play Lady Macbeth once again in London at the Globe Theatre, where she studied Shakespeare during her third year at Mason Gross School of the Arts. She received her BFA in acting from Rutgers University.