by Karen Katchur
Series: Northampton County #1
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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.Murder reawakens repressed memories in River Bodies by Karen Katchur a suspenseful small-town thriller. #MurderMytery #thriller Click To Tweet
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