River Bodies by Karen Katchur
Thomas & Mercer: 11/1/18
eBook review copy; 290 pages
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.
My review copy was courtesy of Thomas & Mercer.