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Book Review: Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin

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In the age-old debate of nature versus nurture in the formation of a murderer, one has to wonder what happens when you put fanaticism in the mix. In Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin, you will find a dark and sinister mystery that may beg to answer the question.

Following the leads of a new and vicious group of murders, Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle finds himself back in the same nightmare that destroyed his family and life years earlier. In the original case, the murderer was known as the Woodlands Killer because of where he left his victims. Knowing in his gut who the killer was — and yet not able to find proof — created a living, breathing hell for Castle. His entire life became the case; it got inside his head in a way that was not healthy. His wife left him and he became a mockery due to press exposure of the case. Pressure from the case continued to hold sway and Castle turned to alcohol, another way to drown his pain.

Now many years later there is a copycat, killing in much the same way. Castle is convinced that his old nemesis is behind the game. He and his partner DI Jacki Stone, race against time to gather the clues and stop the new murderer before he kills again. Castle is convinced that Karl Black is behind these killings as well. There is religious fervor in the destruction of the body; the deaths are brutal and sadistic.

Drawn deep into the fabric of the newest killing spree, Jacki understands the hypnotic and psychological pull of the case. Her life has now begun to twist in the same fashion as her husband leaves her for another woman. Unable to pull back from the precipice she continues on the case to find this sick and masochistic maniac as bodies begin to pile up. Getting in the mind of such a killer is tantamount to losing your soul, but she understands that Castle needs her help. He cannot do this without her, and she believes she is strong enough to withstand the pressure without breaking. Can they follow the clues to find the real killer? Is Karl Black involved, or is it as the press portrayed, just another mishandling of a serial case from the prior years? Will Castle be able to redeem himself? The new killer is invisible but Castle is convinced that Black is the puppet master. Can he prove his theories?

In Apostle Rising, Richard Godwin has written a brutal and suspenseful mystery, dotted with murders and mayhem throughout. The murders are graphic; crafted with visual process the scenes bring the picture to mind. The story has a dark and fanatical backdrop, with threads that interconnect. The suspense and mystery are superb; you never understand the emotional depravity until the end. It is an end you never see coming.

Castle is a charismatic and likable character. His damaged psyche is a part of what draws you to his fragile and one-track mind. He is determined to track his nemesis and solve both sets of murders. He is often in the fog of alcohol, which is now a part of his life. His depiction keeps you eager to find his thoughts and solutions, hanging on his knowledge.

Jacki is tough and yet she too is a figure that draws your sympathy. Castle is like a father figure to her, and she feels as though he needs her strength. She is hurt by her husband’s treachery, but angry as well. Not sure if she can allow him back, she continues to push him away. She is slowly losing the battle to hold her mind and keep it clear from the psychological workings of Karl Dark.

I would recommend this novel for those who love thrillers. Be prepared as the scenes are visual and quite graphic. The pace is a bit slow with the evolution of the new killer, and with a look into the inner workings of his mind. The tension keeps the read going, and leads you in an unexpected direction. Godwin has created a great whodunit. This book stays with you long after the final page.

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About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.