Death by the River

Young Adult - Thriller
370 Pages
Reviewed on 10/01/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, Ph.D., is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, an advanced practice registered nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She has worked in nursing for thirty years and dealt with victims of sexual assault, abuse, and mental illness at many New Orleans area hospitals. Brought up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and is known for infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured animals. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face. Archery, photography, making wine, listening to jazz, blues, and classical music, and helping endangered species are some of his interests.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Death by the River is a thrilling psychological work by author team Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor, aimed at young adults. Catching the current vogue of teen psycho and revenge tales like Bates Motel, Revenge and 13 Reasons Why, the anti-hero of the tale is the sadistic psychopath Beau Devereaux, a charming top-dog alpha male who abuses his thrall over others to exercise his thirst for evil. At the abandoned St. Francis Seminary on the riverbank, Beau enacts horrors that haunt the nightmares of his classmates. When he sets his sights on a brand new victim for his senior year, it becomes clear that there’s only one way to stop him – blood is paid for with blood.

The only suggestion I’d make is that Death by the River contains such extreme acts of violence and gore that it perhaps ought to have an adult rather than young adult label. Other than that, I found it to be a horrifically brilliant book with a deep psychological connection to its killer. Beau Devereaux could have easily been a clichéd psycho, but the plot constructed around him and his development during the novel really shone as a masterpiece of character creation. In spite of everything, I still almost rooted for him and had sympathy in places, much in the style of Dexter or Hannibal. Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor do a fantastic job of setting a chilling scene with classic horror locations and authentic teen reactions to death and danger. Highly recommended, but definitely for adults.

Viga Boland

If you’re a young adult or older teen who prefers reading books to smart phone screens, and who really loves getting stuck into a story that will have you gripping the book tighter than your phone, snap up a copy of Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor. What a gripping psychological thriller! Immerse yourself in the world of high school students about to graduate, students who love to party down by the river not far from the long abandoned Abbey with its gothic spires and basement cells, and where a ghostly woman in white floats through the corridors and dogs howl whenever death is in the wind.

But it’s not the ghostly apparition or the dogs you have to worry about: it’s the handsome, rich Beau Devereaux, high school quarterback and the object of most girls’ dreams until they get to know the real Beau. Because his wealthy, controlling father demands it, Beau takes great pains to hide who he truly is from everyone: a narcissistic misogynist with rape and murder on his mind. If Beau has you in his sights, be wary, very wary. Beau’s current girlfriend is a pretty cheerleader called Dawn, but the girl he really wants is Dawn’s twin sister, Leslie, and he’s determined to have her. But Leslie wants nothing to do with him and wishes Dawn could see through him as she has.

The story builds slowly, but never too slowly, to give readers time to get to know the key characters well, so that by the time all hell breaks loose near the ending, we are holding our breaths and hoping that the perp will get what he deserves before more women are severely hurt or die. Does Beau get what he deserves? Read Death by the River to find out. While the authors have written a chilling story here, there’s more to Death by the River than thrills. It’s actually a fascinating study into the effects of good and bad parenting on children. Do it badly and parents, children and society as a whole pay the consequences. This book is not just an exciting read; it’s a sobering one.

Romuald Dzemo

Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor is a suspenseful thriller with a strong appeal for fans of young adult fiction. Beau Devereaux is the only child of a powerful family. He is intelligent, handsome, and the star of the football team, a real darling of St. Benedict. But Beau is a psychopath who commits unspeakable crimes against victims along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River and succeeds in keeping them silent. While in senior year, he targets the stubborn twin of his girlfriend. He is determined to have Leslie as an ultimate prize, mindful of how much she hates him. Will things work as planned this time around or is there no one to stop him?

While the story follows compelling characters, it also plunges readers into an intriguing setting. It is ironical that the horrors are taking place along the river that runs so close to what once was a religious establishment, one that should, in another setting, evoke a powerful sense of God and reverence for life. The characters are sophisticated and readers will learn to honestly hate the villain of the story — he is well imagined and developed with skill. In a subtle way, the authors allow his crooked mind to reveal itself. Like most serial killers, he is a charmer and an intelligent young man, but beneath the cool surface is a cauldron of simmering evil.

Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor have written a riveting crime tale with strong psychological underpinnings. Death by the River is ingeniously plotted, written in gorgeous prose, and featuring a strong conflict that propels the narrative forward. The suspense intensifies as the story moves on, with the reader always feeling as though something awful could happen at any moment, and this feeling grows in intensity until the explosive climax. A real thriller!

Christian Sia

Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor is a crime thriller with an exciting setting and compelling characters. Beau Devereaux is a star, and not just that, he is from a rich family and he is aware of it. He is the star quarterback of the football team, and that also fills his head. He is intelligent and charming but beneath the handsome demeanor is a monster that has grown over the years. He brings his victims to the abandoned Abbey and does horrible things to them. Recently, he has been fascinated by Leslie, the twin sister to Dawn, his girlfriend, and the more she pushes him away, the stronger is his resolve to have her. The number of his victims increases. Can someone stop Beau or will he succeed in having Leslie?

Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor are great writers and from plot to setting to character, they display great storytelling skills, weaving a crime yarn that pulls readers into the twisted mind of the protagonist and holds them engaged till the exhilarating finish. I loved Leslie and Gage and the role they play in this story. The writers make sure they create a compelling character in Beau, a perfect reflection of a psychopath. For instance, he has a very sick idea of love: “To him, love meant possession, rage, power—not some fuzzy warm fairy tale.” The writing is flawless and the entire narrative stands out for its economy of words, the well-crafted and natural-sounding dialogues, and the masterfully handled conflict. Death by the River is psychologically engaging, emotionally rich, and utterly absorbing. A great read that equally explores life in a high school.

Jessyca Garcia

Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor is a dark page turner! The story is about a teenage psychopath boy who is used to getting his own way. On the outside he appears perfect. He comes from a good family, is a football star and has the perfect girlfriend. Inside he is ready to explode. He is trying to find something that can satisfy his rage. That something is his girlfriend's sister.

Death by the River is NOT a book for everyone! There are rape scenes and a bit of violence. Other than that, I thought the story was good. I was never sure how things would turn out. I do not like predictable stories and this was for sure not one of those. There were parts I liked and did not like. I thought Beau meeting Andrea was too much of a coincidence. It seemed too perfect for him. The ending left me in a little bit of a shock, which I liked. I was not expecting things to turn out that way.

However, I felt more could have been done as far as punishment for Beau. I thought he still got away with too much stuff. Dawn and Leslie were both very likable characters. I also wanted to know more about Derek's mom and Beau's father's relationship. Although this book is not for everyone, I think that Weis and Astor did a good job with it. I would like to read more of their work in the future.