Review: River of Souls by Kate Rhodes

Thursday 18 June 2015
Title: River of Souls
Author: Kate Rhodes
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 18th June 2015
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781444785562
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Jude Shelley, daughter of a prominent cabinet minister, had her whole life ahead of her until she was attacked and left to drown in the Thames. Miraculously, she survived. A year later, her family ask psychologist Alice Quentin to re-examine the case.

But then an elderly priest is attacked in Battersea, his body washed up at Westminster Pier. An ancient glass bead is tied to his wrist.

The river has always demanded sacrifices, and now it seems a killer believes it's calling out for more.

Alice is certain that Jude and her family are hiding something, but unless she can persuade them to share what they know, more victims will drown...

Kate Rhodes is an author I only discovered shortly after starting the blog last year but her Alice Quentin series very quickly became a favourite of mine, and River of Souls was one of the books I was most anticipating in 2015. I am glad to say that it didn't disappoint, in fact the only disappointment I experience reading one of Kate's stories is reaching the end because they are over far too soon.

Psychologist Alice Quentin's expertise is called upon when the case of a young woman who was brutally attacked and left to drown in the Thames is reopened. Jude Shelley is the daughter of a prominent cabinet minister, and he is one of the family members least enthusiastic about the case being reopened, Alice very quickly realising that details about the case were both kept quiet, and overlooked. When an elderly priest is found washed up at Westminster Pier, it's clear that the person who attacked Jude is still active and Alice is certain that Jude and her family are hiding something.

Kate Rhodes researches and conveys the psychology of crime brilliantly through her excellent portrayal of psychologist Alice Quentin. Having studied Psychology at A Level and then university it is something I have great interest in, and I really enjoy Kate's books because they are so wonderfully authentic. It is always fascinating to view both the crime and the mind of the perpetrators from Alice's point of view because she is able to have a more thoughtful, analytical view of proceedings than the police who we discover very fiercely focused on the more 'obvious' suspects (the predictable boyfriend for example) for that quick result fictional detectives crave.

I was most intrigued following the chapters from the point of view of our killer, who believes the river is talking to him, guiding him through the killings but at the same time we see doubt creeping in, at times an inability to follow through with the instructions. It becomes a thought-provoking book because we don't know the full story: why is this person killing? Do these doubts humanise him somehow or is he an out and out psychopath? It really is a fascinating and believable insight into a damaged human mind. The river forms the perfect backdrop for this atmospheric tale, it of course having many secrets of its own and I felt the chill in my bones as I read some of the scenes within this book.

Alice Quentin is a terrific main character, and one whose progression I am very much enjoying witnessing. Once again she is forced to work with an old flame, DCI Don Burns, and their 'relationship' faces further problems in this installment. Alice is however a career-driven women, a consummate professional, always with a focus on her job. She can be very analytical, looking at things from all angles; actually reviewing the evidence and the case before jumping to unfounded conclusions. Jude's attack is particularly brutal to read about, and Alice witnessing firsthand the effect this has had on Jude physically and mentally instills in her this fierce determination to get some kind of justice for Jude, and as a reader I wanted it as well.

The mystery element this time around is brilliantly done, with enough suspects and enough twists and turns - much like the Thames itself - to keep readers guessing throughout. There are some quite dark scenes throughout (which I love) but these are counterbalanced by those scenes of normality we get with Alice, especially with her best friend Lola who makes a very welcome return in River of Souls. The story is wrapped up perfectly, and in a way that will definitely leave readers wanting more. This is a series I very highly recommend. A must read for those yet to discover Kate Rhodes and Alice Quentin.


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