Review: Crossbones Yard by Kate Rhodes

Friday 27 February 2015
Title: Crossbones Yard (Alice Quentin, #1)
Author: Kate Rhodes
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 28th February 2013
Source: Library
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781444738766
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Ray and Marie Benson killed 13 women before they were caught, tried and imprisoned. Five of their victims were never found.

Six years later, psychologist Alice Quentin discovers a woman's body on the waste ground at Crossbones Yard. The wounds are horrifyingly similar to the Bensons' signature style. But who would want to copy their crimes?

When Alice is called in to consult, her first instinct is to say no. She wants to focus on treating her patients, not analysing the mind of a murderer.

But the body at Crossbones Yard is just the start, and the killer may already be closer than Alice knows.

I finished Kate Rhodes' The Winter Foundlings and called it 'a faultless novel', which it really was. I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of Kate before, so when I saw this book lying on the library's shelf I had to borrow it and I couldn't wait to read it. Having 'met' Alice Quentin in her third outing, my introduction to her in this book wasn't any less enjoyable because she is very much an enigma, a truly intriguing character that I am fast becoming a huge fan of. I very much enjoyed the opening of the book, which sets the scene very nicely, with a fair but still mysterious introduction to our main character. It being so long since reading The Winter Foundlings I can't remember whether it contains 'spoilers' for the previous books so I went into this not knowing what to expect.

I love London, and especially love crime fiction that really showcases the city, allowing our capital to become a character in itself. Showing not only its good bits but those dark places that people tend to avoid, or pretend don't exist. I always think that when you walk around London with somebody you don't pay attention, but when you walk around it alone you really take notice of how dangerous a place it can be. It's a very atmospheric read in places, and chilling, quite literally with these bitterly cold days and nights we are currently experiencing.

Alice is out running when she stumbles across a body near the gates of Crossbones Yard, a burial site for prostitutes hundreds of years ago. Her psychology work with the police leads them to contact her with a suspect, and with the body bearing the hallmarks of two criminals who cannot be responsible, is this the work of a copycat? The person in the frame just felt too obvious to me to be anything but a red herring, so straightaway the detective cap was out. This time around I was absolutely spot on, go me! But really, it wasn't all that difficult to work out who was responsible and for once, it didn't stop me from enjoying the novel as there were plenty of tense, exciting and action-packed scenes along the way.

Alice is a woman with a troubled past, and it seems in crime fiction there's only two ways a character like that can go. Become a psychologist (or police officer) or develop serious issues. Here we have Alice, the psychologist and her brother, suffering from bipolar and the story here does add some depth to the character, but it was just a little bit seen it all before, in the beginning at least. Alice was at times a little naive, and having read the third book in the series it's clear there's real development made with her character and so I'm excited to see how that progresses with book two. Another thing I wasn't crazy about was the romance. It seems that women authors write some of the most twisted crime books out there, yet they have to add in this romantic element to their books which just isn't needed.

Kate Rhodes is a wonderful writer, totally engaging me as a reader to the point where the hours flew by as I was reading this book. She has this way of drawing you in, making it impossible to put this book down at times and leaving me incredibly frustrated upon reaching its conclusion as I must now get my hands on book two, ASAP. The storyline itself isn't terribly original, but the mixture of the writing and some brilliant characterisation does I feel give it a little bit of an edge over other books like it, and I have no trouble recommending this series.


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