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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: March 2011 ISBN: 9781470801359
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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.”

    NPR.org

  • “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.”

    Booklist

  • “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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trisha | 1/30/2014

    " This one was hard for me to get into at first, but then about halfway through it got really good! I am glad I stuck with it as the twist was not what I expected at all! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Georgiana Huizenga | 1/10/2014

    " I found this book to be very haunting and one that I will have trouble forgetting. It isn't a mystery in the tradional sense, but is very suspenseful. The characters are flawed but very believeable. There are many surprises as the book develops, several that I never suspected. The author conveys the feelings of not only a small community but the Kansas countryside, and a the basis for the story, the two murders. This is a very dark novel, so those who are interested in a straight detective story will not be happy with this book. The writing is outstanding, and I am anxious to read more by this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/10/2014

    " This is the author's first novel and it's very well written. It's told through a shifting third-person limited narrative and has an almost dreamlike quality at times. The story focuses on the Scott family who has recently moved back to Arthur Scott's hometown where he has not visited for 20 years. The move from Detroit to a rural small Kansas town affects each member of the family differently. This story examines small town prejudice, the judgmental nature of a small town church community and the effect of covering up truths and information. it would make for an interesting book group discussion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 1/5/2014

    " This could have been any old crime drama/suspense thriller, and in many ways it was. However, Ms. Roy's ability to portray 1960s rural Kansas was so precise and engaging that it became so much more. The characters were well developed, and the psychology/social mores/conflict made this a complete meal. I like this book more as I continue to think about its details and personae. This wold be a good book group discussion book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberlee | 1/4/2014

    " I think this was a great book. It kept me guessing the entire time, who had done what and why. It was disturbing, that's for sure. As another reader mentioned, it is kind of short is some sections but I think that adds to the suspicious nature of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly Lynch | 1/3/2014

    " I couldn't put this one down! GREAT read! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cathy | 12/31/2013

    " Sorry, didn't like it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth Roberts | 12/13/2013

    " Pretty good. Well plotted, mostly convincing characters, although I was not entirely convinced by the children's voices. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 12/10/2013

    " As much a study of dysfunctional familial relationship as a mystery, Bent Road is very well written and very dark. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joella Tunnell | 12/4/2013

    " A man moves his wife and family from Detroit because of riots there back to his hometown in Kansas. There he must face memories of his sister's mysterious death - and uncovers answers he doesn't expect. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura Hoffman Brauman | 11/25/2013

    " Very, very good. Dark, atmospheric -- and Roy keeps a feeling of tension throughout every page of the book. Great mystery that kept you on the edge of your seat for every page -- not because of breakneck pacing, just because the writing and the imagery was that good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carleen | 2/17/2013

    " Enjoyed it - lots of intrigue, suspense and surprises! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzy | 2/6/2013

    " Gothic mystery with a twist - very cinematic feel to the writing. Give a picture for small town values and thinking; the impact of change and how keeping secrets can be such a burden. Read it to attend bookclub with my sil in Kansas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 11/7/2012

    " Started out a little slow, but this book picked up about halfway through. I didn't see the ending coming. This new author shows a lot of promise! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aschiele | 9/16/2012

    " Well written and well paced. She paints an interesting landscape of Kansas in the 60s, not entirely what I was expecting but definitely worth a read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 9/16/2012

    " A solid debut novel that definitely keeps you turning the pages. I wasn't blown away by the ending, but I loved the setting and the premise of the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirsta | 7/27/2012

    " I like a very tightly woven story. This one was well woven but needed pulled tighter in several places. I'll keep a watch for this author to see what she does with some experience under her belt. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet Martin | 6/28/2012

    " I liked this book--I always like books set in rural areas--but found it unexceptional. Well written, but didn't rise above the crowd enough to deserve an Edgar nomination. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frank Mazzie | 1/22/2012

    " Very well written book. however even though it kept my attention and I enjoyed the reading of it, I was waiting for something, anything good to happen. Not uplifting at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charleen | 12/28/2011

    " family with father hiding early childhood secrets moves to Kansas in the mid-60's. youngest 2 children and mother have trouble adjusting. In the end all the secrets come out "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobbie Mission Viejo | 6/15/2011

    " Unique murder mystery that left me guessing "who done it" until the very end. Too many unnecessary characters and excessive verbiage keeps me from giving this good story a higher rating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol Campbell | 6/14/2011

    " Surprised at who-done-it and how it ended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debbykc | 5/21/2011

    " you know what's coming and it is completely predictable. barely readable about characters you do not care about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli | 5/17/2011

    " Great writing, a little depressing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 5/16/2011

    " Liked this quite a bit... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 5/15/2011

    " Noir thriller based in Kansas. It went on too long for me and at times but the characters were well developed and interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krista | 5/11/2011

    " I liked it and had to keep reading to find out the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nikki | 5/8/2011

    " Actually 3.5.... When will Goodreads start allowing "half-star" ratings?? This was a good, light read, but was a little hard to follow with the shift in perspective from character to character, even within a chapter....Kind of like a "murder on The Walton's homestead" theme. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 5/5/2011

    " interesting book, a bit dark and tough to follow, author skips around a lot, took some getting used to her writing style. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 5/3/2011

    " again with the suspense, with a weird catholic "bent" hahahah! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 5/2/2011

    " A very darkly forbiding book, but kept me interested and reading. Family secrets, assumptions, come back to haunt a family moving back home to Kansas from Detroit. From the very beginning one senses there is going to be something violent happening. Well wriiten first novel "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandi | 4/30/2011

    " Very atmospheric debut set in Kansas during the sixties. Lots of small town intrigue and interesting characters but I felt overall the book was a bit overwritten and somewhat overwrought. Thought the final portion of the book was very good though so I will probably give this author another try. "

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About the Author
Author Lori Roy

Lori Roy was born and raised in the Midwest, where she worked for years as a tax accountant before turning her focus to writing. Her work has appeared in the Chattahoochee Review and she is the recipient of the Ed Hirshberg Award for Excellence in Florida Writing. She also won an Edgar Award for her first novel, Bent Road. She lives with her family in Florida.

About the Narrator

Marguerite Gavin is a seasoned theater veteran, a five-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award, and the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones and Publishers Weekly awards. Marguerite has been an actor, director, and audiobook narrator for her entire professional career. With over four hundred titles to her credit, her narration spans nearly every genre, from nonfiction to mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and children’s fiction. AudioFile magazine says, “Marguerite Gavin…has a sonorous voice, rich and full of emotion.”