Into the River – Mark Brandi

Growing up in a small country town, Ben and Fab spend their days playing cricket, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab’s dad hits him, or how the sudden death of Ben’s next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.

Then a newcomer arrived. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab’s dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.

Twenty years later, Fab is going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can’t ignore the past any more.



My review

In the first part of the book we meet the 2 main characters. Their story is told from Ben’s point of view. They seem like two normal teenagers, but some things put a shadow over their youth.

In the next part, we take a leap of about 20 years and now Fab is the narrator. We follow him in the present, but a macabre discovery forces him back into the past. He is obliged to face something that he hoped would never surface again.

I have mixed emotions about this book. Let me explain.

The author certainly knows how to put a story on paper. There is not the slightest doubt about that. I enjoyed the book, but I also have the feeling that there were things I missed.

Some situations are outlined in heaps of details. Maybe a bit to many perhaps, but hey, I am not, have not been and will never be a teenage boy, so what do I know? I do think boys do talk and behave like that and not 2 people are the same. On the other hand I also feel like the author was a bit to subtle in other situations and I have to say that sometimes I did not really understand what happened or in which year we were.

I don’t mind reading between the lines, but I must have missed some of the lines to read in between.

When the author talks about the very delicate situation, he uses the exact right amount of details. It leaves everything up to the mind of the reader to make their own version of it.

Nevertheless, it’s a very good story but I feel a bit confused. 4 stars.

Thank you, Mark Brandi and Legend Press.

Book received courtesy of publisher/author.


About the author

Mark Brandi is a Melbourne writer.

His bestselling novel, Wimmera, won the Debut Dagger (UK), and
the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and has been shortlisted for numerous prizes. It is published by Hachette Australia &Legend Press (UK) (2019).

His second novel, The Rip, is out in 2019.

His shorter work features in a few placesand is sometimesawarded.