ARC REVIEW: River Bodies – by Karen Katchur

Title: River Bodies
(Northampton County #1)
Author: Karen Katchur
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: November 1st 2018
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: November 4th 2018
Pages: 302

“Sometimes it wasn’t what the person said but rather what they didn’t that told you more than their words ever could.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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There was just something about that cover, title and blurb that immediately caught my attention and made me want to find out more about the story. River Bodies has that appeal to inner crime thriller fan in me, and I have been looking forward to it. What I didn’t expect was to have such mixed feelings about River Bodies in the end… I’ll try to explain why, although partly I still can’t exactly put my finger on the why. First of all I have to point out my feelings had nothing to do with the writing style, which was engaging and easy to read. It was rather the pace of the story that was a tad slow for me, and made it harder to stay invested in the story. That and the fact I wasn’t expecting to have so much focus on the characters and their relationships instead of a more developed investigation of past and present crimes. And I definitely didn’t sign up for the love triangle, or the having to deal with multiple cheating main characters, something I absolutely loathe. I guess this was part of the reason the story went south for me. There were also some plot holes and inconsistencies I couldn’t help wondering about. How come that if Becca is literally living on the other side of the river and only fifteen minutes away, nobody recognizes her in the place she grew up? Nobody ever crossed the bridge and saw her on the other side she lived now, especially since she’s a vet and all? Not really credible. Also, her not having seen her best friend Parker during all that time, him being a cop and surely moving around while on duty, is not credible at all either. The murder mysteries themselves are interesting and I didn’t mind the flashbacks, but I would have liked to see those elements related to the murders more developed instead of having to deal with relationship troubles. River Bodies is more of a mix between contemporary romance and a character-driven mystery than the proper crime thriller I was expecting, and unfortunately that mix didn’t hit the mark for me. I’m sure the right person would enjoy River Bodies a lot better than I did though.

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When a body turns up in the small town of Portland, Pennsylvania, newly detective Parker Reed cannot help but see the similarities to a twenty-year-old cold case. That crime was hushed up and never solved, but Parker is determined to connect the two murders and find the killer. Then former best friend Becca Kingsley suddenly returns to Portland to be with her dying father and former police chief. Coming home has brought back memories that were deeply buried, memories Becca isn’t sure whether it would be better and safer to keep buried. Especially since they might be related to the murders…

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I was looking forward to River Bodies, but sadly it didn’t completely hit the mark for me. Part of the problem was probably that I was expecting a crime thriller, where River Bodies has more focus on the characters and their relationships rather than the actual crimes committed and the consequent investigation. Having to deal with multiple cheating characters and a love triangle came as a very unpleasant surprise for me, and definitely influenced my reading experience negatively. The crimes themselves and the investigation weren’t as important in River Bodies, something that surprised me. Fans of slower paced and character-driven mysteries with a dose of romance will undoubtly enjoy River Bodies a lot better. Just be warned there might be some graphic scenes involved.


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WWW Wednesdays #195 – November 7th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading the ARC The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes, a psychological thriller I’ve been looking forward to. I’ve been meaning to read one of her books for a while now, so here’s me finally doing that. I’m also starting the Warm Bodies conclusion and ARC The Living by Isaac Marion since it’s due very soon… At least it has made me speed up and finally read the sequel so I can cross off another series. I’m not sure what to do with An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris though… I’m about 30% into the story right now and I’m really not sure whether I should force myself to keep reading or just throw in the towel and DNF it. I’m keeping it on hold until I decide what to do.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Corner To Corner Crochet by Jess Coppom (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/11
Corner To Corner Crochet offers, apart from the explanation of the technique itself including how to change color and weave ends, 15 patterns using this technique. Corner To Corner Crochet was without doubt enlightening, with techniques and stitches explained with both words and numbered photos. I will be looking forward to try this technique myself!

2. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/11
The Chalk Man has been said to having that Stranger Things feel and isn’t just another crime thriller. There is something more going on that is hard to put your finger on, something that will both keep you on edge and brings a whole lot of suspense on board. This is one of those stories where the dual timeline actually worked for me.

3. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/11
I’m always in awe how she is able to put a devastating neurological disease in the spotlight, mixing medical facts and symptoms with a fictional story in such way that you end up both being educated and entertained at the same time. This balance between facts and fiction is what makes Every Note Played such an interesting read for me. It’s not just a simple description of ALS and its symptoms. Through the main character Richard we get to see exactly how this disease evolves and what effects it has on both his life and those close to him.

4. River Bodies by Karen Katchur (3/5 stars) REVIEW 13/11
I was looking forward to River Bodies, but sadly it didn’t completely hit the mark for me. Part of the problem was probably that I was expecting a crime thriller, where River Bodies has more focus on the characters and their relationships rather than the actual crimes committed and the consequent investigation. Having to deal with multiple cheating characters and a love triangle came as a very unpleasant surprise for me, and definitely influenced my reading experience negatively. The crimes themselves and the investigation weren’t as important in River Bodies, something that surprised me. Fans of slower paced and character-driven mysteries with a dose of romance will undoubtly enjoy River Bodies a lot better. Just be warned there might be some graphic scenes involved.

5. The Cheerleaders by Karen Thomas (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/11
There is just something about the writing that draws you right in, makes you forget about your surroundings and just read. I was intrigued from the start, and even though not all characters are likeable and there are a few high school cliches involved, somehow the mystery around the death of the five cheerleaders was enough to forget about those objections and keep on reading. Entertaining and twisty enough to finish it in record time. The Cheerleaders is without doubt one of the strongest YA contemporary/mystery reads I’ve had the chance to read this year, minor flaws and all.

6. The Burning World by Isaac Marion (3/5 stars) REVIEW 20/11
I confess I actually read the first book so long ago (three years) that I confused my feelings for the story with another zombie read. I wasn’t convinced by the first book, and this sequel didn’t wow me either. This was partly because of the writing style, partly because I didn’t like the WE chapters, partly because of the lack of horror, partly because of the lack of a proper plot and partly because of other reasons.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have quite a few pending ARCs coming up, and I think Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt will be the next one I will tackle. It’s been ages since I read a Western themed historical fiction story, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m also planning on reading the ARC Not A Clue by Chloe Delaume. As part of the whole Goodreads Choice Awards theme, I’m also picking up The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen soon. There has been a lot of hype around that one, so fingers crossed it will live up to it. My newest TBR jar pick The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble will be on hold until I decide what to do with An Officer And A Spy first…


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