Ray and Marie Benson killed 13 women before they were caught, tried and imprisoned. Five of their victims were never found.
Six years later, psychologist Alice Quentin discovers a woman's body on the waste ground at Crossbones Yard. The wounds are horrifyingly similar to the Bensons' signature style. But who would want to copy their crimes?
When Alice is called in to consult, her first instinct is to say no. She wants to focus on treating her patients, not analysing the mind of a murderer.
But the body at Crossbones Yard is just the start, and the killer may already be closer than Alice knows.
At the height of a summer heatwave, a killer stalks the City of London.
The avenging angel leaves behind a scattering of feathers with each body - but why these victims? What were their sins?
Psychologist Alice Quentin only agrees to help out on the case because she owes Detective Don Burns a favour. But soon she finds herself deep in the toxic heart of the Square Mile - a place where money means more than life, and no one can be counted innocent.
With fascinating characters and a page-turning plot, Kate Rhodes's novels are perfect for fans of Nicci French and Val McDermid.
Crossbones Yard (Book 1)
Kate Rhodes introduces a fantastic new character, psychologist Alice Quentin. Strong, on the surface at least, she seems to have a lot going for her. Yet like all good protagonists, scratch beneath the surface and she has her demons. Rhodes writes her sympathetically, whilst avoiding cliché and gives us someone who we will want to follow in future books, just to see what happens to her.
The plot is complex and satisfying with enough twists and turns to keep any crime fans happy.
A Killing of Angels (Book 2)
"A Killing of Angels" is the second Alice Quentin novel, following on from the excellent "Crossbones Yard".
Alice is still dealing with the fallout from her previous case and has vowed never to work a homicide again. But she feels that she owes Detective Don Burns a favour. So when a man is pushed to his death on the London Underground, the killer leaving behind a calling card of a picture of an Angel, she reluctantly agrees to help.
The plot twists and turns in unexpected ways and the ending when it comes is barely telegraphed, making it a sudden pleasure in the last few pages.
Rhodes' writing is descriptive and evocative, from the steamy heat of London in a heatwave to the mutilated bodies, her skill with language shines through. Alice Quentin is a wonderfully flawed character and the events of the previous novel still resonate powerfully in her psyche. The cast of supporting characters - both new and old - is well served with a development from the previous book, particularly for Don Burns.
Rhodes has also clearly done her research. Quentin is a psychiatrist and the author wields the technical language clearly and confidently, explaining terms to the reader without being overly explicit.
All-in-all another damn good read from a very good author.
The Winter Foundlings(Book 3)
After her ordeals in Crossbones Yard and A Killing of Angels, psychiatrist Alice Quentin takes a research sabbatical at a secure mental hospital. However it isn't long before her old friend DCI Burns is asking for her help again. A sick killer is kidnapping little girls and leaving their mutilated bodies in white dresses inside cardboard coffins, reminiscent of the way that abandoned orphans were once left on the steps of The Foundling Hospital.
When another girl is taken, Alice is drawn into the hunt for the young child before she too ends up dead. Soon it becomes clear that unless the killer is found, not only will his latest victim be killed but he will continue kidnapping until he's captured. But what is the link between a long - term resident of the psychiatric hospital and the current spate of murders?
Again, Rhodes gives us a cast of compelling characters, all beautifully written. Some familiar faces return alongside others new to this novel, all woven into a tale full of plausible suspects, complex motives and heart - breaking and heart - thumping action. Alice Quentin is a wonderful heroine beautifully written by an author at the top of her game.
River of Souls (Book 4)
Kate Rhodes' fourth book in the Alice Quentin series sees her heroine on the trail of a vicious serial killer who believes that the river Thames is demanding new victims and that it is the killer's job to satisfy the call. The murderer is clearly seriously mentally ill and it soon becomes apparent that anybody associated with Shelley is a potential target. Quentin is forced to delve deep into the psyche of the killer in the hope that she can bring them to justice and prevent future deaths.
Rhodes' writing, as always, is evocative and for those familiar with that part of London it is easy to picture the locations that she describes. Again, the books have been meticulously researched and in this case, the fascinating history of the river is integral to the plot. The story twists and turns like the river itself, with plenty of plausible suspects that Rhodes is careful to keep in contention right until the very end.
This series has been populated with a cast of regular characters beyond Quentin and her regular collaborator Detective Don Burns and all of them have moved forward, it is a pleasure to re-enter the world of Quentin once again.
Ella Williams is ten years old. She loves her granddad and her sister and her shiny new red shoes.
She's just been abducted by a killer - someone who kidnaps young girls, holds them for a few weeks then returns their bodies clothed in white foundling dresses.
The crimes are clearly linked to notorious child murderer Louis Kinsella, locked away in a high-security hospital. Is it a copycat? Or is he giving someone direct orders from behind bars?
To save Ella's life, psychologist Alice Quentin must form a relationship with Kinsella. But he is slow to give up his secrets, and all the while, time is running out...
Jude Shelley, daughter of a prominent cabinet minister, had her whole life ahead of her until she was attacked and left to drown in the Thames. Miraculously, she survived. A year later, her family ask psychologist Alice Quentin to re-examine the case.
But then an elderly priest is attacked in Battersea, his body washed up at Westminster Pier. An ancient glass bead is tied to his wrist.
The river has always demanded sacrifices, and now it seems a killer believes it's calling out for more.
Alice is certain that Jude and her family are hiding something, but unless she can persuade them to share what they know, more victims will drown...
My Book Blog
My thoughts on some of the books that I have read lately.