On an early spring morning in Richmond, Virginia, in the year 1885, a
young pregnant woman is found floating in the city reservoir. It appears
that she has committed suicide, but there are curious clues at the
scene that suggest foul play. The case attracts local attention, and an
eccentric group of men collaborate to solve the crime. Detective Jack
Wren lurks in the shadows, weaseling his way into the investigation and
intimidating witnesses. Policeman Daniel Cincinnatus Richardson, on the
brink of retirement, catches the case and relentlessly pursues it to its
sorrowful conclusion. As the identity of the girl, Lillie, is revealed,
her dark family history comes to light, and the investigation focuses
on her tumultuous affair with Tommie Cluverius.
ambitious young lawyer, is the pride and joy of his family and the polar
opposite of his brother Willie, a quiet, humble farmer. Though both men
loved Lillie, it’s Tommie’s reckless affair that thrusts his family
into the spotlight. With Lillie dead, Willie must decide how far to
trust Tommie, and whether he ever understood him at all. Told through
accumulating revelations, Tommie’s story finally ends in a riveting
Based on a true story, The Reservoir centers on a guilty and passionate love triangle composed of two very different brothers and one young, naive girl hiding an unspeakable secret. A novel of lust, betrayal, justice, and revenge, The Reservoir ultimately probes the question of whether we can really know the hearts and minds of others, even of those closest to us.
John Milliken Thompson is the author of America’s Historic Trails and Wildlands of the Upper South, and coauthor of The Almanac of American History. His articles have appeared in Smithsonian, the Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, and other publications, and his short stories have been published in Louisiana Literature, South Dakota Review, and many other literary journals. He has lived in the South all his life. This is his first novel.