River Of Wrath (St Benedict #2) by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

Oh man, I absolutely loved this bananas sequel to River Of Ashes! A large part of this is probably due to the fact that we don’t have to live in the viewpoint of a psychopath, as we did in this novel’s precursor, but instead experience events from the perspectives of people struggling to come to terms with the terrible deaths that have only recently befallen their town.


As the book opens, Leslie is still grappling with the senseless murder of her sister Dawn, and the steps she herself took to avenge her fallen twin. In her guilt, she’s dumped her boyfriend Derek out of fear that he’ll figure out what she did and revile her. Her closest friends now are three other victims of the monstrous Beau Devereaux: Kelly, Sara and Taylor. All four of them have been paid off by Gage Devereaux, the town patriarch, to keep quiet about what happened, a bargain they’re happy enough to stomach now that Beau is gone.

But the dead of St Benedict refuse to stay buried. When yet another corpse is found on the banks of the Bogue Falaya river on which their Louisiana town stands, the residents can’t help but wonder if they are indeed cursed. The skeleton has lain hidden for around twenty-five years tho, so Leslie figures that this crime, at least, has nothing to do with her.

Unfortunately, the attention-seeking Sara gets it into her head that she’s a medium, and wants to start contacting the spirits of those who died by the river, Dawn included. Surprisingly, Leslie isn’t exactly opposed to the idea: if she knows her sister’s spirit is at rest, or at least not trapped in the place where she died, then perhaps Leslie too can start thinking about leaving this suffocatingly small town. But their plans go terribly awry after a hot new guy shows up in St Benedict, upending the social order altogether. Is the Devereaux curse that Taylor has been avidly researching real? Worse, will it strike again, with terrible repercussions for the rest of St Benedict?

I really love how the authors leaned into the soap opera that is small town life in this absolute rollercoaster of dark secrets and smothered scandals. The pace never lets up as Leslie tries to deal with her guilt and with her attraction to hunky newcomer Luke, even as more murders are unfolding. I straight up laughed with glee when the actual actual identity of the woman in white was revealed: I freely admit that there were parts of the ending of the last book that had me very much exercising the bounds of my credulity, so to have those loose ends neatly tied up here was a delight. Personally, I’m (still) not a fan of Derek’s, but kinda hope Elizabeth gets everything she desires. I’ll only be able to find out what happens when the next book comes out tho, which I’m greatly looking forward to!

River Of Wrath (St Benedict #2) by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor was published January 31 2023 by Vesuvian Books and is available from all good booksellers, including

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