The River Mouth by Karen Herbert. (2021).
**3.5 out of 5 stars**
15 year old Darren is killed by a gunshot wound to the chest in the Weymouth River. The killer is never found. 10 years later, his mother Sandra’s best friend Barbara is found in a dry riverbed near a remote Pilbara road. Barbara’s DNA matches the DNA found under Darren’s fingernails. When the investigation into Darren’s death is reopened, Sandra questions what she knew about Barbara. She discovers there are secrets in her small community, and that her murdered son had secrets too.
This is the author’s debut novel, and I think it’s a pretty good first novel. Moving between two timelines, the death of young 15 year old Darren is the core of the novel. Sandra is put in an extremely difficult position when it looks like her best friend, who has just passed away, might have had something to do with her son’s death ten years ago; quite horrifying to even imagine. It turns out there’s a lot going on in this little town and the book explores some serious topics such as grief, murder, infertility, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug use and abuse, divorce and racism. This all makes for a dark and intense story and at just over 250 pages readers will find themselves flying through the book.
Overall: I recommend this novel for any readers that enjoy Australian mystery novels and I look forward to future novels from this author.