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Extended Audio Sample Bent Road, by Lori Roy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,583 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lori Roy Narrator: Marguerite Gavin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For twenty years, Celia Scott has watched her husband, Arthur, hide from the secrets surrounding his sister Eve’s death. As a young man, Arthur fled his small Kansas hometown, moved to Detroit, married Celia, and never looked back. But when the 1967 riots frighten him even more than his past, he convinces Celia to pack up their family and return to the road he grew up on, Bent Road, and that same small town where Eve mysteriously died.

While Arthur and their oldest daughter slip easily into rural life, Celia and the two younger children struggle to fit in. Daniel, the only son, is counting on Kansas to make a man of him, since Detroit sure didn’t. Evie, the youngest and small for her age, hopes that in Kansas she will finally grow. Celia grapples with loneliness and the brutality of life and death on a farm.

And then a local girl disappears, catapulting the family headlong into a dead man’s curve.

On Bent Road, a battered red truck cruises ominously along the prairie; a lonely little girl dresses in her dead aunt’s clothes; a boy hefts his father’s rifle in search of a target; a mother realizes she no longer knows how to protect her children. It is a place where people learn that sometimes killing is the kindest way.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Bent Road is a remarkably assured debut novel. Rich and evocative, Lori Roy’s voice is a welcome addition to American fiction.”

    Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Dropping us in a world of seeming simplicity, in a time of seeming calm, Lori Roy transforms 1960s small-town Kansas into a haunting memoryscape. Bringing to mind the family horrors of Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres and the dark emotional terrain of Tana French’s In the Woods, Bent Road manages to be both psychologically acute and breathtakingly suspenseful, burrowing into your brain with a feverish power all its own.”

    Megan Abbott, Edgar Award–winning novelist

  • “In her promising debut novel Bent Road, Lori Roy proves that dark secrets hide even in the most wide-open places. Set in the beautifully rendered Kansas plains, Bent Road is a family story with a suspenseful gothic core, one which shows that the past always has a price, whether you’re running from it or back toward it. Crisp, evocative prose, full-blooded characters, and a haunting setting make this debut stand out.”

    Michael Koryta, author of Tonight I Said Goodbye

  • “This tautly written, chilling piece of heartland noir is…an impressive debut. Roy takes a bucolic setting—rural Kansas—and makes it an effective stage for a suspenseful tale of tragedy and dread…Bent Road is rich in sensory details…that anchor the story in its place and time. Roy populates that world with a believable cast of characters, deftly marrying a story of domestic violence and familial love with a gothic mystery that is compelling at each turn of the page.”

    St. Petersburg Times

  • “A tale of extraordinary emotional power, one of longstanding pain set against the pulsating drumbeat of social change, a rhythm the Scott family wishes could be ignored but which affects them regardless.”


  • “Roy’s outstanding debut melds strong characters and an engrossing plot with an evocative sense of place…Roy couples a vivid view of the isolation and harshness of farm life with a perceptive look at the emotions that can rage beneath the surface. This Midwestern noir with gothic undertones is sure to make several 2011 must-read lists.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Roy’s exceptional debut novel is full of tension, complex characters, and deftly gothic overtones. Readers of Tana French’s In the Woods will find this dark and satisfying story a great read. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “In her debut mystery, Roy excels at creating the kind of ominous mood that is unique to the novel’s small-town setting, in which the church holds sway, and family secrets are locked-up tight. Terrifying and touching, the novel is captivating from beginning to end.”


  • “Roy’s suspenseful debut novel presents readers with a rich mix of troubled characters planted against the backdrop of a small Kansas farming town and the mysterious deaths of two young girls…This odd, dark, and often creepy tale of a dysfunctional community and a family that fits right in will keep readers wondering right until the last page.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A 2011 Library Journal Best Book for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author
  • A 2011 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Serena | 2/19/2014

    " This book had me up until the very end. There were many things I didn't see coming! I am looking forward to more books by Lori Roy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Karen Brown | 2/10/2014

    " The characters are haunted by secrets, the setting is darkly beautiful. Lovely book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Becky | 2/2/2014

    " I think that this would be a great book for a book club. Many characters, many plot lines to discuss. Read it in two days because I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Steph | 2/2/2014

    " Wonderful example of a modern Southern Gothic. Captivating characters. Roy's novel incorporates one of the best techniques of horror-taking the familiar, safe surroundings of the characters and turning them into nightmarish landscapes,keeping in consideration that often the most horrific events are the ones that could actually happen. I was hoping for a more dramatic build-up to the story's big reveals. Still, it was interesting how the climatic moments in the story were greeted with an icy stillness and an eery sense of calm; a rather unique I approach. BENT ROAD was nevertheless a strong debut effort, and I look forward to Roy's next book. "

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