River Bodies by Karen Katchur [Book Review]

Book Review

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Title: River Bodies

Author: Karen Katchur

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publish Date: November 1, 2018

Genre: Crime & Detective

Series: Northampton County #1

My Rating: 3/5

River Bodies by Karen Katchur


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


Becca returns to her hometown of Portland, Pennsylvania, to be with her dying father. Becca has been living just across the river in New Jersey, but hasn’t been back to Portland to visit her father or old friends for 10 years. Her arrival in town coincides with a murder that is very similar to an unsolved murder that occurred 20 years earlier in the same town. Becca’s old friend Parker, who is now a detective, works to uncover who is behind the deaths. Meanwhile, Becca confronts old secrets in her and her father’s pasts.

Different viewpoints are used to tell the story, but Becca is the main character, and most of the story revolves around her. Becca is in a relationship with a man she has doubts about, she is estranged from her father, and she misses her old best friend Parker.

Becca’s father is on his deathbed, but he was once the police chief in Portland. The law enforcement in town has a delicate relationship with the town biker gang, the Scions. When Becca’s father was police chief, his stepbrother was the leader of the Scions. The stepbrother is now deceased and there is a new police chief, but old loyalties still remain, though some secrets are difficult to contain.

River Bodies is a mystery because of the murders, but it’s also a story about relationships. The descriptions of the area, the people, and the lifestyles are very well done. The characters are not particularly likable, but they are real. While the story does not have a lot of action, the various relationships between the characters is gripping.

Books in the Northampton County series:
  1. River Bodies
  2. Cold Woods
  3. Spring Girls

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