“Jon Bassoff’s writing is as gritty as a bloodstained baby blanket. His latest, Beneath Cruel Waters, is a disturbing tale of secrets and sins that challenges the myths at the heart of a most dangerous institution—the family. This relentless exposure of one man’s destructive re-creation of his forgotten past rejects and then recasts assumptions about the redemptive power of forgiveness and the saving grace of the truth. Readers beware. Buckle up for a nightmarish trip through more than one level of American hell.” —Manuel Ramos, author of Angels in the Wind
Holt Davidson, a Kansas firefighter, hasn’t been back to his hometown of Thompsonville, Colorado, for more than two decades, but when he learns that his estranged mother has taken her own life, he returns for the funeral, hoping to make peace with her memory. He spends the night at his childhood home, rummaging through each room, exploring the past. But instead of nostalgic souvenirs, he discovers a gun, a love letter, and a Polaroid photograph of a man lying in his own blood.
Who is the dead man? Was his mother the one who killed him, and, if so, why? Who sent the love letter? And what role did his sister, institutionalized since she was a teenager, play in this act of violence? As his own traumatic memories begin to resurface, Holt begins an investigation into his mother’s and sister’s pasts—as well as his own.
A wrenching psychological thriller in the vein of Tana French’s In the Woods, Jon Bassoff’s Beneath Cruel Waters reminds us that the sins of the mothers are the sins of the sons.