by Karen Katchur
Series: Northampton County #1
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
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.
River Bodies by Karen Katchur is the first novel in the Northampton County mystery series. Multiple POVs, childhood flashbacks and a suspenseful buildup provided an entertaining mystery in Portland, Pennsylvania, a small river town that borders New Jersey, where neighbors keep their heads down and look the other way.
Becca Kingsley lives on the New Jersey side of the river with her boyfriend just minutes from the animal clinic where she works as a veterinarian. As she makes her morning run along the river, she feels as if someone is watching her. It’s a man she knew as a child. He often watches her, but today he is down by the river and something looks strange.
Becca has other things on her mind, like that the fact that her boyfriend is cheating on her again. A phone call soon sets this matter aside as Becca learns her estranged father is dying and asking for her. Becca soon finds herself back in Portland, in her childhood home (just across the river). The tale that unfolds brings back buried memories, re-acquaints her with her childhood crush and unknowingly places her in danger.
I didn’t have a sure footing in the beginning of this tale and worried I would not like Becca. I loathe cheaters and struggled to understand women who deal with them. Thankfully, we quickly moved on to her father dying and a current murder-mystery that is strikingly similar to an unsolved case.
Katcher provides us with Becca’s point of view and that of the killer. We are also privy to the past as Becca reflects and remembers events from her youth.
The town is home to a motorcycle gang known as the Scion. The townsfolk sidestep them, and at one time their leader, was the chief-of-police (Becca’s father). Becca’s Dad has since retired but holds secrets. It was an interesting tale, with a love interest, troubled childhood, and character growth. Secrets and repressed memories resurface providing suspenseful moments.
Becca’s childhood friend and teen crush, Parker, is now a homicide detective and lead on the present day murder. He also looks back at the original murder. Both were gruesome, and forensic evidence shows a unique signature.
Fans of murder-mysteries and thrillers will find themselves caught up in River Bodies. By the 30% mark I was all in and I am happy I stayed with it. The twists and climatic ending delivered. This is the first in a series, and I am curious to see how Becca will be involved if at all.
[bctt tweet=”Murder reawakens repressed memories in River Bodies by Karen Katchur a suspenseful small-town thriller. #MurderMytery #thriller ” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I’m glad it got going at the end. Great review! I am pretty sure I got this as my Kindle first book and will be reading it in the next couple months. Anne – Books of My Heart
I did see that this was a selection after I was solicited.
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
I’m glad to hear that it’s worth pushing through the beginning because I know I would also struggle with the cheating aspect.
This sounds really interesting. I do love thrillers (murder or otherwise). I looked at the audio and don’t recognize the narrator, but might have to give them a try. Great review.
Oh cool. I will have to listen to a sample
Ok Kim you’ve got my interest. I love small town mysteries and I’m glad the author cleared up the cheater problem for you, I too don’t like heroines who stay with them even though its much too common in real life. I wonder how she’ll connect the stories. Great review thanks!
I think that it what gets my ire up. It is common.
Ohh, chilling. DOubting those close to you
It had some cool elements
I just want to know about that man who is watching her. We all know he is the killer. And why does she allow a man to just watch her all this time? Are you not concerned? lol.
Hehe…she sort of knows him, and you’ll find out more,..but spoilers darling!
Small town murder mystery? YES PLEASE. I’m glad it picked up around 30%. I hate it when books do that sometimes though!
It was more me but yes, it pulled me in.
Great cover and review. A slow start…that’s why I try and stick to a book. Sometimes I found the ending made it all worth it.
It depends on what it is. Since it was the cheating thing, I pushed past and was rewarded.
Rachel @Waves of Fiction
Yeah, I would be irritated if Becca kept on with her cheating boyfriend too, but it sounds like she moves on with Parker? Sounds like an intriguing mystery, and I love that cover! So Fall-like. I’ll have to see if they carry an audio version. Love listening to mysteries! Fab review, Kimberly! 🙂
Not a fan of having to read 30% of the book before you were invested. Having said that I know I’ve gone even farther before DNFING a book. Glad it got better. Okay, so the father is a retired chief of police AND the ex leader of a motorcycle gang? Now that’s a combination! Although I do know that some gangs are good and ride for charity or just the joy of riding.
Keep in mind it was the cheating not the mystery that made me wiggly.
Sorry about the slow start, thank goodness it worked out in the end.
Agreed. Thank you Nadene 🙂
I always love your snowflakes! You can barely see them on my blog, because the background is mostly white.
Now that October is over, I’ve set my spooky reads aside (for the most part), and will start pacing myself on the murder mysteries. My heart can only take so much! I’m glad you mentioned sticking with this one, and that it ended up being worth it!
It’s also obnoxious when a character stays with someone they know is being unfaithful. Have more respect for yourself! She does realize she’s better than that, right?
Download WP Snow Effect. You can actually change the color of the snow so it shows up. Also unlike Jetpack’s snow the bottom of my page doesn’t jump.
I have Blogger, so I don’t think a WP plugin will crossover! That’s a bummer. Thanks for letting me know, though. I’ll just keep looking. <3
Well crap, nope it won’t. You are kind of stuck with Jetpack’s snow.
With the taste of Melinda Leigh’s books still in my mouth. This one sounds absolutely fabulous. Good to know that it starts off shaky. I’m not thrilled about the cheating element, but if it becomes a none issue quick enough I can let it go. 🙂
She grows a backbone 🙂
Wow — this sounds like a good one! Thanks for the post.
I hope you get to try it Angela.
*blinks* WOW! That sounds like a lot to take in! I’m glad you enjoyed it! I look forward to reading your reviews of the subsequent titles.
Thank you Jen 🙂
A biker gang. I like when dangerous elements are introduced in the storyline.
Love the snow flakes on your blog.
Yes, it added interest especially with small-town politics.
I am glad that Becca turned into a character that you enjoyed. The murder mystery sounds super creepy!
She gained some backbone. LOL
Tyler H. Jolley
Good to know it’s worth sticking out and finishing. I agree, with the cheating thing. I can take most flaws in a character, but that is one that drives me nuts.
I find myself angrier at the partner that takes the cheater back again and again. Know your worth.
Sorry to hear this was a bit slow in the beginning – that can be rough. Good to know that the actual murder mystery aspect is exciting though!
Yeah, I am not sorry that I read it.
I’m glad you stuck with it and it ended up being a good story. I tend to DNF books after about 20% if they don’t work for me, so it’s good to know that I have to stick with this one a bit more.
I am not a fan of cheaters and don’t understand women who stick around with repeat offenders, but thankfully the story turned towards the murders.
Oh mystery book, I always love a good mystery book!
This is the perfect time of a year for mysteries.