On an early spring morning in Richmond, Virginia, in the year 1885, a young pregnant woman is found floating in the city reservoir. It appears that she has committed suicide, but there are curious clues at the scene that suggest foul play. The case attracts local attention, and an eccentric group of men collaborate to solve the crime. Detective Jack Wren lurks in the shadows, weaseling his way into the investigation and intimidating witnesses. Policeman Daniel Cincinnatus Richardson, on the brink of retirement, catches the case and relentlessly pursues it to its sorrowful conclusion. As the identity of the girl, Lillie, is revealed, her dark family history comes to light, and the investigation focuses on her tumultuous affair with Tommie Cluverius.
Tommie, an ambitious young lawyer, is the pride and joy of his family and the polar opposite of his brother Willie, a quiet, humble farmer. Though both men loved Lillie, it’s Tommie’s reckless affair that thrusts his family into the spotlight. With Lillie dead, Willie must decide how far to trust Tommie, and whether he ever understood him at all. Told through accumulating revelations, Tommie’s story finally ends in a riveting courtroom
Based on a true story, The Reservoir centers on a guilty and passionate love triangle composed of two very different brothers and one young, naive girl hiding an unspeakable secret. A novel of lust, betrayal, justice, and revenge, The Reservoir ultimately probes the question of whether we can really know the hearts and minds of others, even of those closest to us.
The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson is an exceptionally well-written mystery about true events in the late 1800s Richmond, Virginia. So compelling is Thompson’s storytelling that readers will be left asking how well we can truly know those in our families and others very near in our lives. As readers are transported to Richmond, Virginia in 1885 by the well-painted canvas that Thompson creates through his prose, they witness the discovery of a dead woman floating in the Richmond reservoir, a woman who was pregnant and later identified to be Lillie Madison. While evidence seems to point directly at Tommie Cluverius, a young lawyer who is destined for brilliance in his career, Thompson has crafted the story with plenty of moments where readers will think everything has fallen into place and the next moment that intricately woven series of events and evidence trail all fall to pieces. A story of desire, guilt, and vengeance, historical fiction fans will delight in Thompson’s careful attention to the time period through his meticulous research, his keen sense for compelling suspense, and his creativity in bringing this century-old mystery to life. I highly recommend The Reservoir to historical fiction fans looking for an excellent mystery suspense book.
To learn more about author John Milliken or the book, please visit his website: johnmillikenthompson.com
I received a complimentary ARC of The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson from Other Press. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.