Wednesday 1 July 2015

Reviewed: River of Souls by Kate Rhodes.

River of Souls is book four in the Alice Quentin series. It was published by Mulholland Books on June 18, 2015.

Thanks to Becky at Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy of this book to review for the blog tour.

River of Souls is the fourth instalment of the Alice Quentin series and it is another brilliant book by Kate Rhodes. Alice is ever likeable in the sense that she is quite normal – not full of herself, not so involved in her job that she’s cut off from being someone you can care for but also not the kind of person to let her personal life disrupt her work. I think Alice is one of the most honest, appealing protagonists I’ve ever read about and with each book she wins me over more and more. In River of Souls we meet Jude, a woman with such brutal injuries she is hardly recognisable. A year previously, she was attacked, had her face cut to shreds and was left to drown in the Thames. Amazingly, she survived but she’s hardly living a life. Seeing her frail and fragile, Jude’s family request that Alice, who is a psychologist, examines the case again. But then the killer is back out there and he isn’t stopping at just one victim. Alice needs to get to the bottom of this and quickly, before more lives are claimed.

Set with a backdrop of the Thames, Kate had such an entrancing way of bring the setting to life. Every description and every little detail made the Thames feel incredibly chilling. We do get to hear from the killer’s perspective in this book, every few chapters we get to discover their thought processes and follow them on their sickening journey to the Thames. Every chapter from the killer made the setting feel more vivid and eerier – I loved the chapters that followed the murderer. They saw things from an unusual angle and everything felt very different to a lot of other murder investigations.

Alice is brought back on the case and finds herself reluctantly working again with DCI Burns, who previous readers of the Alice Quentin series will remember that they share feelings for each other. There’s an issue between them but what I liked about Alice was how she didn’t let her personal life and her thing with Burns take over. She’s very conscientious and committed to her work. She doesn’t try and rush to an easy conclusion or jump on the bandwagon which is a little different to the detective side working on the case. One of my favourite parts of River of Souls was Alice’s communication with Jude, who she felt was holding something vital back. Unlike most people who couldn’t bring themselves to look at or have a proper conversation with Jude, Alice was much more respectful and treat her just normally, just like she’d treat anyone else. She was sensitive of the horrible circumstances Jude was facing but also forceful enough to try and learn as much as she possibly could to solve the case. Actually, Alice was willing to listen and attempt to understand anyone, even those almost impossible to fathom.

The story in River of Souls was very gritty and so fascinating. Alice was very thorough in her work and so we get to hear about a few possible suspects but I never knew where it was heading. The book got tenser and tenser as it went on and I was biting my nails and desperate to read more and get to the end of the mystery. The book was paced really well and it was at that nice level where it wasn’t whizzing through the case so we didn’t get the chance to even consider what was going on but also it didn’t slow down and get us bogged down with all the investigation. There was a moment towards the middle where I felt it was becoming a tiny bit repetitive but then new links came into the fray and brought a fresher perspective to the case. An intriguing turn of events quickly built the momentum and then there was no chance I was about to stop reading – my real life was cancelled until I reached the end of the novel and could finally settle again. Kate Rhodes, what a wonderful writer you are and I cannot wait for more.

A very compelling and intriguing case - another great book following the brilliant Alice Quentin.

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