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"Apostle Rising" by Richard Godwin, a review

"Reading Apostle Rising"
2011 Kristin Fouquet

The first striking note upon reading “Apostle Rising” is the stunning fact: this is Richard Godwin’s first crime novel. The construction is carefully and cleverly plotted. The entire book is precisely paced with short chapters, keeping the reader anticipating the next.

Twenty-eight years after the unsolved case of “The Woodland Killings” nearly destroyed him, Chief Inspector Frank Castle must now find a copycat killer. With the assistance of his partner DI Jacki Stone, they try to penetrate Karl Black, a suspect from the first investigation. Black has founded a dark cult, The Last Brotherhood, which has a different interpretation of Christianity. In addition to the copycat killings of politicians, a new rash of prostitute murders occur, further stretching police resources and the psychological impact on Castle and Stone.

Weaved within the story are italicized passages in the first-person, allowing the reader into the mind of the killer. These insights are often poetic, sometimes wrathful, but always sinister in their foreshadowing of the bloodshed to come. The murderous author of these beliefs describes and elevates the murder weapon with veneration to such a degree, it nearly becomes a character itself.

Godwin’s diction is tremendous. The accounts of the murders are visceral, a witnessing of the crime in minute detail. A few had even this reader, a party to several autopsies and many embalming sessions, cringing from the intense depth and duration of these torturous killings. The ability to display this facet interposed with the killer’s dynamic philosophy, and the detectives’ slow struggle to closure, displays Godwin’s deft craft.

“Apostle Rising” is beautifully written with colorful language and vivid descriptions. Godwin’s deep psychological exploration of his characters may have his readers delving deeper into their own minds.

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© 2011 Kristin Fouquet

Find out more here: Richard Godwin Media

Purchase a copy here: "Apostle Rising" (Black Jackal Books, 2011)


  1. Beautifully reviewed, Kristin. Between you and Richard you have the eloquence in prose market absolutely cornered. My lasting impression of Apostle will be not so much the horror of the crimes or the agony of the police assigned to capture those responsible -- though both events are vividly wrought. Rather it is the concept of how absolutely corrupting and invasive the essence of evil is and how such an insidious invasion causes the reader to despair for the souls of the good as well as the depraved. I agree with you completely that it's hard to think of Apostle as a first novel.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, AJ. Yes, I believe Richard did get to the core of evil and you really feel this as your read the killer's passages. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

    I wanted to mention I enjoyed your story "Mexico" over at A Twist of Noir.


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