Title: Crossbones Yard
Author: Kate Rhodes
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Alice Quentin enjoys her job as a psychologist, and does a pretty good job convincing everyone around her that she is normal, even though she has a difficult past. Alice loves London, the city she lives in, and one of her favorite pastimes is running through the city when it’s dark, despite any safety concerns. One night, she comes across a dead body in Crossbones Yard, a historical prostitutes’ graveyard, and she becomes involved in the murder investigation.
Crossbones Yard is an atmospheric debut novel set in the city of London. Indeed, London is its own character in this novel. It’s absolutely dripping with the close, urban nature of London. This is a story that couldn’t have taken place in any other city; the setting is so integral to the plot, which is very much tied in with London’s sense of history. Rhodes’ descriptions of the city are vivid and make the novel an experience more than a read.
Alice is a interesting character. She’s damaged, to be sure, and her history (and specifically, her brother’s experience with heavy drug use) has really affected her. Sure, she’s good at her job and is devoted to her patients, but it messes up her sense of balance when she’s pulled into the investigation and asked to profile serial killers. She makes some frustrating choices, but she’s a refreshing character who breaks out of the traditional “damsel-in-distress” mold of many mystery novels.
The plot of Crossbones Yard will definitely keep readers guessing while reading, though the ending is a bit of a cliche. Rhodes does an excellent job making sure that there are always questions for the reader to ask; when one is answered another pops up in its place. She also balances the mystery plotline and Alice’s personal issues well; there’s not too much of one or the other, and Alice doesn’t sacrifice her character development to devote time to the story. It makes for an engaging, interesting read from beginning to end.
If you’re looking for an easy read that keeps things enjoyable, Crossbones Yard is a great choice. Readers will enjoy getting to know Alice; I know that I certainly hope this book marks the first in a series, rather than a standalone. Alice is a well-written character, and it’s clear that there are depths to her that Rhodes has not yet explored. Regardless of what Rhodes chooses to do going forward, I’m certain I’ll be keeping a eye on her writing career with great interest.