What the River Buries by Rocky Hirajeta

Title: What the River Buries

Author: Rocky Hirajeta

Published on: 21 March 2023

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers | Teens & YA

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

What a fantabulous debut! I mean, WOW!! Seriously. This is, no doubt, one of the best debuts I have ever read. Excellent storytelling, well-paced storyline, likable characters (gives you Nancy Drew vibes), a mystery to keep you guessing till the end, multiple twists and turns, and a mind-blowing ending. Rocky Hirajeta, you are the BEST!

Seventeen-year-old Natalie feels lost after the death of her father. She chooses to spend a couple of hours at night in the Acres – a riverside forest. One night, she sees some activity close by. She does not pay heed. Then, she botches up her photography presentation and school and is given another chance to make things right. She decides to do night photography and goes to Acres. But she stumbles across a man clad in black burying a body.

Natalie’s not doing well at school. Her grades are going down, she’s withdrawn from her mum, and her best friend Marisa hardly recognizes her. Natalie tells Marisa she saw something in the forest and Marisa begs her to go to the cops.

Natalie had left her sketchbook in the forest. The next morning, the killer’s delivered it to her doorstep with a note warning her to stay clear. But Natalie cannot ignore what she saw. She starts to dig deeper and finds herself in trouble.

Soon I’ll be too much of a threat, if I’m not already. I’ll need to be taken care of.

But I’ll take care of them first.

What the River Buries by Rocky Hirajeta

Natalie is grieving the loss of her father. Her frustration has no way out – she spends time alone, withdrawn from her outer world. When she photographs the man burying a body, she wants to know more about his activities. All she’s seen in the dark is his neck tattoo. The next day, he sends her a note, warning her to stay put or else…

But Natalie’s curiosity is piqued. She won’t let it go. She wants to dig deeper. She doesn’t want to go to the cops because the killer had mentioned he has contacts in high places. Natalie finds herself at dead ends many times throughout the investigation.

Natalie might be an amateur sleuth as this is her first case. But she’s a gifted investigator. She crosses the line many a times, all right. Gets caught at times too. But what matters is, at the end of the day, she wants to bring justice to the woman who was buried in the woods.

There are so many twists and turns, and it kept me guessing till the end. Excellent character portrayal – I loved Natalie the best. The killer’s identity is revealed halfway through, but Natalie must find proof. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, as they are hell bent on making sure Natalie doesn’t find any.

I read this book in one sitting – it was THAT good. I enjoyed every bit of it – storytelling is simply brilliant. The mystery kept me guessing till the end.

If you are looking for an engrossing and unique mystery featuring a teenage sleuth, you might want to give What the River Buries by Rocky Hirajeta a try. Hands down, this is one of the best debuts ever!

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