The Brutal Tide by Kate Rhodes

Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on the latest novel from Kate Rhodes, The Brutal Tide, book six in the Ben Kitto series. I’ve really enjoyed this Scilly set series and was so excited to be granted an early copy of the book courtesy of publishers Simon and Schuster. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 27 October 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

About the Book

DI Ben Kitto made many enemies in his time working as an undercover officer for the Met police, none more ruthless and calculating than gang leader Craig Travis.

Travis has longed to make Kitto pay for his role in getting him convicted – and that day has finally arrived. Now, a dark and twisted killer is heading for the Scilly Isles, one who has waited a long time for revenge.

With Kitto busy investigating the discovery of a body on the islands and distracted by the imminent arrival of his first child, his defences are down. He has so much to lose.

And Travis will stop at nothing to take it all from him.

My Thoughts

I’ve really enjoyed the Ben Kitto series by Kate Rhodes (and I’m not just saying that because I was a named character in book one – that’s just an added bonus. The whole series has been wonderful, the island setting adding its own kind of mystique and atmosphere the stories, the author blending often dark themes with the perfect feeling of mystery and suspense. Add into that some fabulous characters and the real sense of community that exists across Scilly, and the scene is set for what has been a brilliant series of books. That is no less true of book six, The Brutal Tide, which sees everything Ben holds dear under threat and the island community facing up to a very dark part of its past.

Ben Kitto has been a wonderful character to get to know. Originally from the islands he had spent a long time working undercover for the Met Police, until a very complex and life changing case drove him back to his home lands. It is that very case which is set to haunt him once again, with a face from his past set on vengeance, a person whose guile and cunning is easily underestimated, often at your own peril. But that is just one half of the story, with Ben and the local police force investigating the discover of some very old bones at the site of a contentious new build. It seems that someone will do anything to keep that story buried, the who and why remains to be seen. It’s fair to say that this part of the book is quite harrowing in its own way, but sensitively handled, so the facts inform rather than dominate the investigation or the story itself.

You’d think on an island community that keeping one killer in and one potential killer out would be quite an easy task. It’s not as easy as it should be and that in itself gives a wonderful kind of tension to the novel. Will Ben’s foe manage to find their way to the island or will their plans be thwarted before they even begin? And as for who is responsible for the bones on the island … Well finding that out starts with working out who they belong to in the first place and there is a lot of back and forth and misdirection in this area to. We, and Ben, may guess the victim, although evidence is harder to come by, and we may even have an inkling about the whodunnit, but the tragic nature of teh why is very carefully fed to readers, keeping the mystery alive.

What works really well in this book is that we know who Ben has the greatest reason to fear and why. The ‘killer’, the person seeking their ultimate revenge is, to readers, hidden in plain sight. And for me they were a great character, playing much against expectation and using that to make them devilishly successful. There are dark moments in this book, bother murder wise and through the various deep emotions experienced by our favourite characters, but they are fleeting, the characters, and their stories, much more important to driving the impetus of the investigation than the dark deeds they have performed. There are some high stakes, high tension moment, the landscape, or in this case the seascape, playing a vital role in the books conclusion. Even when we think that everything is resolved and we might be promised a happy ending, Kate Rhodes prepares to rip that rug out from under our feet once again. I’m pretty sure she just doesn’t believe in a quiet ending. I mean, where’s the fun in that, right …?

Another brilliant book in a series that is highly recommended. Perhaps it’s the devil in me, but it’s really given me a desire to visit Scilly now, even if the islands do seem to have a very high per capita murder rate …

About the Author

Kate Rhodes is an acclaimed crime novelist and an award-winning poet. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, the writer and film-maker, Dave Pescod. She visited the Scilly Isles every year as a child which gave her the idea for this new series. She is one of the founders of the Killer Women writing group.

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