Just arrived from Amazon and in my book queue (the short one): So Cold the River by Michael Koryta, which I learned about from an NPR interview/review during a recent homeward commute.
Koryta is a crime novelist whose father took him, at age eight, to see the ruins of the West Baden Springs Hotel in Indiana, once called the eighth wonder of the world. He tried and failed to work the hotel into a crime novel, but it wasn’t until he decided on a venture into the supernatural that his story took off.
The story involves a filmmaker hired to uncover and document the history of a dying man, and one of the clues is a bottle of “Pluto Water,” apparently from the lost river, “an evil force” that flows around and under the hotel.
It sounds like a tale to read around the fireplace on a dark and stormy night, but I’m not going to wait that long.
You’re right, this post, when I had just gotten the book, based on the NPR interview, did not convey what is at stake. Check the second post, “More on So Cold the River,” after I had finished. The protagonist, a filmmaker, is given an old bottle of “Pluto Water,” that evokes a very angry ghost who is able to possess people and threaten the protagonist, everyone he cares about, and in fact, the entire Valley of the Springs.