Amanda Baron died in a boating accident on the Ohio River in 1953. Or, did she? While it was generally accepted that she had died when a coal barge rammed the pleasure boat she was sharing with her lover, her body was never found.

Travis Baron was an infant when his mother disappeared. After the accident and the subsequent publicity, Travis’s father scoured the house of all evidence that Amanda Baron had ever lived, and her name was never to be uttered around him. Now in high school, Travis yearns to know more about his mother. With the help of his best friend, Mitch Malone, Travis begins a search for the truth about the mother he never knew. The two boys find unexpected aid from an unlikely ally: an alcoholic former detective who served time for falsifying evidence. Although his reputation is in tatters, the information the detective provides about the death of Amanda Baron is indisputable—and dangerous.

Nearly two decades after her death, Travis and Mitch are able to piece together a puzzle lost to time and the dark waters of the Ohio River. They know how Amanda Baron died, and why.

Now, what do they do with the information?



A Brilliant Death

Publishers Weekly: An “engrossing coming-of-age mystery . . .” “Vivid local color and a satisfying portrait of boyhood friendship . . .”

Booklist: “An engaging coming-of-age mystery…. Travis is a fresh and lovely version of a familiar archetype—the poor kid with a smart mind, good heart, and the drive to stand up to injustice and make a better life for himself…. Yocum continues to write with great tenderness about small-town life in the Ohio River Valley.”

Kirkus Reviews: “Yocum…creates so much sympathy for his characters in this coming-of-age tale that you hope for an alternate theory to what appears to be the ineluctable facts of a tragedy.”

Robin Yocum was born in 1955 in Steubenville, Ohio, and grew up in the in the Eastern Ohio village of Brilliant. He is an award-winning journalist and the author of three books.
Read more