Thursday, November 01, 2018

Review: River Bodies by Karen Katchur

Title: River Bodies
Author: Karen Katchur
Series: Northampton County, #1
Published: November 2018, Thomas & Mercer
Format: ARC Paperback, 290 pages
Source: Publisher

In this dark, gripping mystery, a brutal murder unearths old secrets that should have stayed buried. 

A body just turned up in the small town of Portland, Pennsylvania. The crime is eerily similar to a twenty-year-old cold case: another victim, brutally murdered, found in the Delaware River. Lead detective Parker Reed is intent on connecting the two murders, but the locals are on lockdown, revealing nothing.

The past meets the present when Becca Kingsley, who returns to Portland to be with her estranged but dying father, runs into Parker, her childhood love. As the daughter of the former police chief, Becca's quickly drawn into the case. Coming home has brought something ominous to the surface - memories long buried, secrets best kept hidden. Becca starts questioning all her past relationships, including one with a man who's watched over her for years. For the first time, she wonders if he's more predator than protector.

In a small town where darkness hides in plain sight, the truth could change Becca's life - or end it.

My thoughts: This is the first in Karen Katchur's new series and I found it to be quite compelling right from the start. It's the first time I've read anything by Karen Katchur and I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

I think what I loved most about this book is that it is more a "whydunit" than a "whodunit" type of thriller. Almost from the beginning, we are clued in to who has committed the gruesome murders, but we aren't quite sure why they are being done. The author expertly delves into the mental state of her characters as she explores the crimes that have occurred. And as she does this she moves back and forth from the present to the past, so that we can understand all that has happened to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

This book is definitely more character-driven than action-driven, though the end does feel a bit more action-driven. I liked that this story is told from three different perspectives. Becca is dealing with not only her estranged father, but major boyfriend issues - both with her current boyfriend and with her old childhood beau. Parker is the lead detective on the murders, giving the story that bit of a police procedural feel. John is a member of the local biker gang, and also happens to be related to Becca. Each of these narrators, if you will, are quite complicated and complex characters, yet add their own layer to the story. 

I found myself completely captivated by this book. There were plenty of twists and turns, despite knowing whodunit early on. The secrets and suspense really kept me on my toes throughout and I liked that the tension builds at just the right pace. I definitely look forward to seeing how this series progresses. 

Books in this series:
  1. River Bodies
  2. Cold Bones - due out August 2019

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