Note: This is the second book of the series, and it could be helpful to read book #1 first; but, if mesmerised by the cover, you – like me - have forgotten to check if River of Wrath is part of a series, then, just have a little patience and you’ll get the necessary information to enjoy this “part” of the story (to our defence, there is no mention on the cover that RoW is book #2).
I wanted to read Death by the River since 2018 when I posted about it, here, on Mythical Books. Reading the blurb (not to be found now on Goodreads or Amazon) it becomes clear that the story was republished, if not revamped as part of the Sf. Benedict series. Anyway, even if I still have to read the River of Ashes (previously known as Death by the River), I quite enjoyed RoW.
I liked how the authors manage to create, maintain, and develop the gothic atmosphere on a contemporary background. The elements of the gothic novel are introduced (some, I presume, continue from the first book) gradually, increasing, slowly and then more abruptly, the tension.
RoW is dark, engrossing, and suspenseful. Its (main) plot is centred on both solving the crime(s) and pursuing justice, and the characters’ safety and survival. I cannot say that the authors play entirely correctly because they offer some clues (not quite red herrings) and light some directions but, whilst information is brought, secrets revealed and so some aspects are solved, they only serve to create new ghastly possibilities and a constant state of danger for the characters and uncertainties for the reader-detective. A lot happens in RoW, present and past (distant or recent) come together, entwined into a fast-paced story.
Further, I liked the connection with and the “presence” of the River – whilst a river brings life, being the central point around which life is created (nature and human settlements) it is also the one which both keeps secrets and divulges them helping serve retribution. Depending on your own experience, you could find deeper or other senses to the title and the role that the River plays in the story.
Conclusion: If you like your books and stories full of tension and dread, you could try diving into (some very dark corners of) the human nature of the River of Wrath – it’s a page-turner.