River of Ashes

St. Benedict

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
276 Pages
Reviewed on 04/14/2022
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Author Biography

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is an award-winning author, advanced practice registered nurse, and wildlife rehabber who was born and raised in the French Quarter. She has taught at major universities and worked with victims of sexual assault, abuse, and mental illness in a clinical setting at many New Orleans area hospitals. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Horror Writers Association. The Strand Magazine said, “Alexandrea Weis is one of the most talented authors around, and her novels are destined to stand along with authors such as Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jeffery Deaver.”

Lucas Astor is an award-winning 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 next door behind a smiling face. Astor currently lives outside of Nashville, TN.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

River of Ashes is the first novel in the St. Benedict series by authors Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor. Beau Devereaux is a charming, popular high school guy. The hero quarterback, handsome and rich, Beau is everything you could wish for in a young man, except for one thing: he is a psychopath. He gets what he wants, and he wants Leslie. Beau thought that getting into a relationship with Dawn (Leslie’s twin sister) would be enough, but it was not. He is ready to do whatever it takes to get Leslie, even if it means he has to hurt, rape, and kill anyone who gets in his way. However, Leslie is not the only one Beau has pursued. She is just one of the victims who have fallen into the hands of this psychotic guy. Can Leslie stay safe and away from him? Or will she be his next victim?

The story comes with trigger warnings such as sexual assault, rape, and emotional abuse. That being said, I cannot praise this novel enough. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but that gorgeous cover (I cannot wait to get my hands on a hardback copy!) was the first thing that caught my eye, and then the blurb sealed the deal for me. The setting is incredible. The tense atmosphere of the river, the ill-concealed threats, and Leslie's and Derek’s attempts to outrun and outsmart Beau are exciting, to say the least. I loved Beau’s POV because it just made everything exciting. The writing style of both authors works in the story's favor and allows readers to fully enjoy Beau's perspective. This is the kind of novel that authors like Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins would be proud to write. The twists will shock you, and the fantastic storytelling will amaze you! In my opinion, River of Ashes is worthy of the 5-star rating and so much more.

Emma Megan

River of Ashes (St. Benedict) by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor is an exceptional psychological thriller about a psychopath teenager who commits depraved acts on young women. Beau Devereaux is the wealthiest and most popular guy in town, and he can't stand anyone who dares to say no to him. He likes to prey on young girls and dominate them. Beau is in a relationship with Dawn Moore, but the one he really wants is her twin sister, Leslie, who he keeps terrorizing and threatening just because she refused him once. Leslie knows how manipulative and psychotic Beau is, but her sister doesn't. However, there are many ugly secrets buried in their small town of St. Benedict, especially about Beau and his family. Beau keeps committing atrocious acts, and there's no one to stop him. But until when?

River of Ashes (St. Benedict) by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor is a strong dose of realistic horror about sexual assault. It's the most memorable novel with the most intriguing ending I've read this year. It's emotionally charged, quite sinister, evocative, and highly addictive. Weis and Astor are unquestionably exceptional writers as they tackle weighty social issues like acts of violence against women, including sexual harassment, assault, and bullying. In this dark and sinister tale, the authors compel readers to confront the horror of sexual assault by revealing the true nature of the aggressor and the sad reality of the victims of sexual abuse. This book delivers the most precious and underrated message: nothing justifies sexual assault. I promise I won't get tired of recommending this remarkable novel.

K.C. Finn

River of Ashes is a work of fiction in the psychological thriller and suspense subgenres, and serves as the first installment in the St. Benedict series. The work is intended for the adult reading audience owing to disturbing content such as scenes of sexual violence. In this chilling and dramatic work penned by author duo Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor, we find ourselves embroiled in the psychopathic wiles of the handsome and charming Beau Devereaux. The self-proclaimed prince of his school, the wicked Beau haunts his classmates and tortures them into silence until someone vows he must be stopped. But that person may well lose their life in the process of trying to put an end to his evil deeds.

One of the most striking features of this work for me was its atmosphere, which emanates from the pages and captivates readers in a cinematic sensation that really wakes up the mind’s eye. It’s easy to imagine the eerie, tree-covered abbey where secret terrors happen, and although this novel is concisely written and fast-paced, those horrifying moments seem to last a long time and haunt the reading experience throughout, which is the masterstroke of a true thriller and horror artist. Author duo Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor have certainly captured the psyche, theme, and storyline of a great horror story, but they go one step further in capturing the emotional horror that sinks deep into your soul and chills your bones for its sheer realism. Overall, I would highly recommend River of Ashes to all psychological thriller and horror readers out there.