It’s been ages since I read a really edge of the seat gripping thriller. I remedied that with Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin.
Like most other books in this genre, it is a police procedural setup dealing with a police duo struggling to hunt down a serial killer.
Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now, years later, mauled by the press and traumatized by nightmares, he faces a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case. He and his partner Jacki Stone enter a deadly labyrinth, and at its center is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He’s running a sinister cult and playing dark mind games with the police. The investigation has a shattering effect on Castle and Stone. Dark coded ritualistic killings are being carried out on high-profile figures and the body count is rising. Castle employs a brilliant psychologist to help him solve the case, but some psychopaths are cleverer than others.
In some ways, this book is highly predictable. The body count and the gore level is really high making this a book only for those with a strong stomach. Some of the slasher scenes and the murder depictions were really over-the-top gruesome and repetitive. The slasher style cover was also very off-putting.
However, once the first clues start emerging in the case, I was able to overlook the gore and get sucked into the unraveling of the mystery, which is done very skilfully. It’s also a brilliant psychological study of how the police are influenced by the evil surrounding them. In the end, they manage to track the killer, but at so much personal cost, that it hardly seems a victory at all.
Also, the last twist in the tale is genius, pure genius. I never saw it coming, although I later realized that hints were there all along.
I took this book along on a vacation, and normally, I never actually read during travel, but this book was absolutely unputdownable.
A huge thanks to the author Richard Godwin for sending me this book for review. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am thrilled at discovering a first-class new (to me) thriller writer.