The Long Rain by Peter Gadol is a great suspense novel that explores relationships, morals and guilt. Jason Dark is putting the pieces of his life back together. He’s moved to a family vineyard, opened up a small law practice in the rural town and is renewing relationships with his estranged wife and troubled son. But then things go awry. On a rainy night on a country road he accidentally runs over and kills a teenager. No one is around for miles and miles.
What would you do?
Maybe the answer is easy for you and you do the right thing, but Peter Gadol explores the sinister side – the weak side – that might try to cover it up. Dark convinces himself that nothing good can come of his admission. The boy is dead and will stay dead. As a lawyer, Dark sees jail or a civil suit that takes away all he’s just reclaimed. He must accept the burden of guilt to protect his family and new life.
The Long Rain is a great suspense novel. Don’t mistake it for a mystery novel. This isn’t a whodunit because you know who committed the crime. It’s not quite a thriller either. You won’t find gory descriptions of a serial killer, no chases with gun waving thugs and nothing blows up in a fiery orange ball. You will be treated to a fascinating internal, psychological drama.
Gadol puts you right smack in the middle of this queasy situation. Good people sometimes make bad decisions. Once Dark lies, he can’t seem to go back and reveal the truth. It’s like that friend you were supposed to call and the longer you wait the worse you feel and the tougher it is to call and explain why you flaked. The beauty of The Long Rain is that you get to live this nightmare vicariously. Guilt and anxiety eat at Dark, threatening to consume his new life. And like Dark, I often found myself sitting, shoulders near my ears, with knots twisting my stomach, thinking ‘will he get caught?’
Vivid descriptions of the vineyard and the detailed process of making wine provide needed breaks from the treacherous plot. Some may find the explanations of the crush, fermentation and cultured bacteria to be too detailed. But if you’re even a little interested in wine, these sections should be interesting. Either way, they are welcome spots of relaxation in an otherwise tense novel. There are also a few overly coincidental plot points, but they weren’t glaring enough to derail my enjoyment of the story.
The Long Rain taps into basic human flaws and puts them on display. It asks and answers a number of unsettling questions. Page by page the anxiety grows. You can’t help but feel the pressure of the situation. This isn’t an easy paint by numbers portrait. It’s a messy, emotional, visceral drama that exposes how secrets and guilt can damage trust and twist relationships. Enjoy the chaos knowing you can always close the book on the drama.