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Death by the River
By Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
YA Suspense, Thriller
Paperback & ebook, 357 Pages
October 2nd 2018 by Vesuvian Books

Summary

Some truths are better kept secret.
Some secrets are better off dead.

Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

WARNING: Readers of Death by the River will encounter situations of violence and sexual abuse which could be upsetting.

Praise for DEATH BY THE RIVER

"... a thrilling psychological work ... Catching the current vogue of teen psycho and revenge tales like Bates Motel and 13 Reasons Why ... a horrifically brilliant book ... Beau Devereaux could have easily been a clich├ęd psycho, but the plot constructed around him and his development during the novel really shone as a masterpiece of character creation ... much in the style of Dexter or Hannibal." ―K.C. Finn, Multi-Award-Winning Author

"Rare is the story that simmers and rises to a boil so naturally and constantly that the reader manages to be repeatedly shocked ... a full-speed rollercoaster that doesn't slow down until the final page. Employing an evocative setting, powerfully defined characters, and taking along hard look at the darker side of human desire, this novel will catch your breath and hold it until the very end. RECOMMENDED" ―Michael Radon, US Review

"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." ―Viga Boland, Retired high school English teacher and Author of No Tears for my Father: Viga's true story of incest 

"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 a seminary, an establishment that should 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. Weis and 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!" ―Romuald Dzemo, Readers' Favorite

"A suspense-filled thriller steeped in equal parts atmosphere, insanity, and revenge." ―Mary Ting, Award-Winning Author of ISAN: International Sensory Assassin Network

"Weis and Astor have created something so dark, edgy, and gritty, it will stay with you long after you close the book." ―Julieanne Lynch, Dragon Award Finalist: Horror (2018)

"... a crime thriller that pulls readers into the twisted mind of the protagonist and holds them engaged till the exhilarating finish. The writing is flawless ... Death by the River is psychologically engaging, emotionally rich, and utterly absorbing." ―Christian Sia

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Excerpt

LESLIE AND DEREK
Leslie followed him along the shoreline until they came to a rusted iron gate with a No Trespassing sign secured to it. Decorated with crosses and swirls, the sign marked the entrance to The Abbey grounds. Stepping through the open gate, she peered up at the imposing structure.
Two spires of white limestone, shaped like the tip of a sword, cut into the blue sky. The structure of red brick and limestone, the front windows and doors secured with loose scraps of plywood, sat in the middle of a field of high grass. The squat stone building of cloisters behind The Abbey remained intact. The Benedictine monks who had run the seminary school demolished the dormitories, refectory, and library after the site had been abandoned.
“Some place, huh?” Derek let go of her hand and trudged his way across the high grass.
Leslie’s apprehension bloomed in her chest. The grounds, unkempt after years of neglect, were a hodgepodge of weeds, overgrown trees, and green vines. On the way across the thigh-high grass, they passed a beautiful triple-tiered fountain with an angel on top, raising her arms to the heavens—a silent witness to the past.
How do people come here at night?
“You ever wonder why those priests just up and left it?” she asked, uncomfortable with the eerie quiet. Even the birds had stopped singing. “I know everyone in town says they got a better offer from the seminary in New Orleans, but it seems funny a bunch of people abandoned the place for no reason.”
“They left because it’s a wreck.” Derek parted a thick pile of tall grass with his shoe. “My mom told me it was falling apart when she was a kid, and the Archdiocese didn’t have the money to fix it. So they packed up the seminary school, the priests, and all the staff and shipped them to New Orleans.”
“Seems a shame, though. I read once that the structure dates back to the early 1800s when the Devereaux family built it as a private church.” Leslie eyed the frame of the empty belfry atop one of the square-shaped towers. “You’d think they’d want to save it.”
Derek nudged her with his elbow. “Maybe the ghost drove the priests away.”
Beau’s tale had been in the back of her head the whole time, but Derek’s comment spooked the crap out of her. “By ghost, do you mean the lady in white?”
“Yep.” He scanned the land around them. “They say she wears a glistening white cloak and wanders the priests’ cells. She only appears when the moon is full or during storms.”
The thought of being alone in such a disturbing place terrified her. “Have you ever seen the ghost?”
“Nah.”
Leslie kicked herself for letting him talk her into coming to the remote location. “What about the wild dogs? Have you seen them around The Abbey?”
“Not to worry, baby. I’ll protect you from ghosts, wild dogs, and Beau Devereaux.” He climbed the granite steps, encouraging her to join him. “But I have to draw the line at your mother. There’s no way I’m taking her on in a fight.”

Copyright © 2018 by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

About the Authors

PHOTO CONTENT FROM ALEXANDREA WEIS AND LUCAS ASTOR

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi award-winning author of over twenty-five novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. 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. Weis writes paranormal, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance.

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.

Weis and Astor’s first collaboration was the multi-award-winning Magnus Blackwell Series.


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