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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
River Bodies by Karen Katchur is a so-so novel about relationships rather than a murder mystery. It is not a thriller. Becca Kingsley lives across the Delaware River from where she grew up in Portland, Pennsylvania and where her estranged father still lives. After his constant cheating on her mom, his decision to send her away to boarding school, and her parents' divorce, she hasn't seen him for years. Now she is a veterinary surgeon on the New Jersey side of the river where she lives with her beloved dog Romy and her cheating boyfriend, Matt. Occasionally she sees a relative watching her from the Pennsylvania side when she is out for a run with Romy. When she learns from her mom that her father is dying and Matt cheats on her, again, she takes off back across the river to see her father who is being taken care of by his current girlfriend. At the same time a body is found downstream, shot and gutted, like a deer. The body resembles a case her father had twenty years ago, when he was the police chief. It seems that both cases may be tied to the local biker gang, the Scions. When her high school boyfriend, Parker Reed, shows up as the Pennsylvania State Police lead detective on the murder case, she begins to rekindle her feelings for him. But Becca has more clues to the answers to solve both cases than she is admitting. The technical quality of the writing is good, so I have no qualms with that. The plot, however, is another story. The narrative alternates between what happens to Becca in the present and what happened in her past. This is not a murder mystery. You know the guilty party immediately and you pretty much know who was guilty twenty years ago. There is no motive given, but it's not pertinent to the novel. What it is, however, is a story about lying, cheating men and the women who put up with them until someone else arrives to save the day. I guess now is the time to admit that I didn't care for Becca and had little patience for her. I simple never connected to Becca and felt very little compulsion to finish the story, other than a commitment to read and review it. Becca needed some introspection and backbone. After all the flashbacks to her cheating father, she should have dumped Matt, no matter how good looking he was (seriously?) the first time he cheated. There is no need to go on; 1 star for the book, 1 for decent writing. Read this only if you like some lite-mystery around a sort-of romance novel. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Thomas & Mercer.
Karen Katchur, Author of “River Bodies” has written a suspenseful, captivating, intriguing, intense, riveting, and thrilling story. The Genres for this novel are Fiction, Mystery, Suspense and Thriller. The author describes her interesting characters as complex and complicated. Karen Katchur had me sitting at the edge of my seat. There are twists and turns, betrayals , danger, secrets and murder. The timelines of the story is set both in the past and the present. The common denominator seems to be the Delaware River. Becca Kingsley , is a veterinarian that loves to run by the river with her dog. She often feels that she is being watched and realizes that her step-brother is watching her from the other side of the river. The step-brother seems strange, quirky, and dangerous and is now the head of one of the gangs in his town. Becca is called home to the other side of the river when she gets news that her father is dying of cancer. Becca and her father were on terrible terms, and this might be the last time to make things right. Becca also sees that her former love, Parker Reed, a detective is involved in a case where a body was found by the river. This reminds all the townspeople of a similar case 20 years ago, where another body was found by the same river. The local people stay very quiet and don’t want to talk. The town consists of the regular people and the gang. Becca realizes that she has memories of the past that are so frightening, she has locked them away. I would highly recommend this novel for those readers who enjoy a great mystery full of suspense and surprises. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.