River of Wrath, an Epic Coming of Age Thriller by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor

The Bottom Line: The dynamic duo of Weis and Astor make magic together. A rising body count, a dark pact among unlikely friends and a wholly evocative world propel this small town mystery to epic heights. Highly recommended.

Until three unsolved murders rocked tiny St. Benedict, Louisiana, the town hadn’t had a single murder since 1942. As River of Wrath opens, local sheriff Kent Davis oversees the discovery of yet another body. This one looks to have been buried for at least 25 years.

High School senior Leslie Moore and her circle of friends know far more about the mysteries of St. Benedict than Sheriff Davis. After exacting revenge over a horrible crime, the teen vigilantes agreed never to speak to the police. But as Leslie struggles through grief, the newly unearthed body – and the collective shock when another girl goes missing – turns her anguish into an obsession to learn the disturbing truth.

In River of Wrath (St. Benedict, book II), authors Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor expand the deliciously murky world of St Benedict’s haunted abbey, the riverbanks where people go to party, and most of all, the enigma that is the Devereaux family. This time, Devereaux family patriarch and town mogul Gage Devereaux takes center stage. An investigation into the sordid Devereaux family history positions St. Benedict as a modern-day Pottersville, with the very soul of the town resting on the combined efforts of Leslie and Sheriff Davis.

Wounded by trauma and guilt, Leslie comes into her own as a sleuth that is tenacious, clever and even dangerous. But the story’s real heft is fueled by the layers of believable teen psychodrama at the book’s core. Rumors that The Abbey is haunted by someone they know, and her friend Sara’s creepy suggestion that they do a seance there, add palpable angst that coexist perfectly with the novel’s underlying sexual tension. River of Wrath is in every way a worthy successor to its award-winning predecessor, River of Ashes.

Bella Wright

Bella Wright blogs about books, film and media.

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