The Word Association

Kate Rhodes

Kate Rhodes Kate Rhodes grew up in London. After completing a PhD in English, she taught at schools and universities in the UK and USA. She is currently Royal Literary Fellow at Cambridge University and writes contemporary crime novels. Kate began her writing career with two award-winning collections of poetry, both of which were shortlisted for the Forward Prize. In 2014 Kate won the Ruth Rendell short story competition. Kate is a member of the prestigious writing group, Killer Women. Kate’s highly regarded HELL BAY crime series set in the Isles of Scilly has been optioned for TV. She lives with her husband, a writer and film maker, in Cambridge.

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Latest book: PULPIT ROCK, Simon and Schuster, October 2020 (hardback), May 2021 (mass-market paperback), S.Fischer Verlage Germany, January 2021

Kate Rhodes - Pulpit Rock When DI Ben Kitto discovers a woman’s body, at St Mary’s most iconic beauty spot, his only choice is to place the island on lockdown, during the hottest summer ever recorded. Why has a young Latvian woman been dressed in a bridal gown, then left hanging at Pulpit Rock? When more women’s bodies are found dressed as brides, Kitto must confront the island’s culture of secrecy. The killer appears to hate young independent women who choose to work in Scilly, then leave, never intending to settle there. Someone is snuffing out their lives, before they can flee the island. Kitto is forced to interrogate islanders he’s respected all his life to expose the killer’s secret.

‘Beautifully written and expertly plotted, this is a masterclass in ‘closed world’ crime fiction.’ The Guardian

‘Rhodes does a superb job of balancing a portrayal of a tiny community oppressed by secrets with an uplifting evocation of her Scillonian setting.’ —Sunday Express

HELL BAY, Simon and Schuster, January 2018 (hardback), May 2018 (mass-market paperback), S.Fischer Verlage Germany, January 2020

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years in the Met’s murder investigation team, his work partner’s suicide has left him grief-stricken, and in charge of her wayward dog, Shadow. Kitto returns to the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born to recover, but his plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found at Hell Bay. Kitto volunteers to run the investigation but soon the maimed body of Laura’s boyfriend washes up on the ghostly uninhabited island of Samson, and he must close the case before another teenager is killed. His own life is in danger when he discovers that the killer is an islander that no one would ever have suspected.

‘Beautifully written and expertly plotted, this is a masterclass in ‘closed world’ crime fiction.’ The Guardian

‘Rhodes does a superb job of balancing a portrayal of a tiny community oppressed by secrets with an uplifting evocation of her Scillonian setting.’ —Sunday Express

BURNT ISLAND, published October 2019

When DI Ben Kitto finds the body of a famous astronomer on a bonfire on the tiny island of St Agnes, on Guy Fawkes night, the killer must be among its eighty inhabitants. No boats have left the island since, so the killer must be hiding in plain sight. Has the victim been targeted for organising the island’s Dark Skies Festival, which will bring hundreds of visitors to St Agnes? Or maybe someone resents his attempts to turn the island’s disused lifeboat house into an observatory? Kitto must question the island’s elders, who guard their secrets closely, putting his own life at risk.

RUIN BEACH, published October 2018

When the body of professional diver Jude Trellon is found in Piper’s Hole on the island of Tresco, it looks like a tragic accident. But DI Ben Kitto soon discovers that she was choked to death with a statuette, stolen from a local shipwreck. Soon it emerges that divers have been stealing valuable treasures from an ancient shipwreck that lies so deep on the ocean floor that only experienced divers, or risk takers, dare to visit it. Kitto must risk his own life to the mercy of the sea to stop the spate of killings.

BLOOD SYMMETRY, published June 2016

Clare Riordan and her son Mikey are abducted from Clapham Common early one morning. Hours later, the boy is found wandering disorientated. Soon after, a pack of Clare's blood is left on a doorstep in the heart of the City of London. Alice Quentin is brought in to help the traumatised child uncover his memories - which might lead them to his mother's captors. But she swiftly realises Clare is not the first victim... nor will she be the last. The killers are driven by a desire for revenge... and in the end, it will all come down to blood


Three years ago the daughter of cabinet minister Timothy Shelley was brutally attacked and thrown into the River Thames. Jude Shelley is still in hospital, awaiting a face transplant, but no suspect has ever been found. Soon a new spate of identical attacks takes place, the killer revealing his obsession with the Thames by leaving objects from the shore at each crime scene. Dr Alice Quentin consults the history academics at London University and discovers that the killer is leaving victims’ bodies at sites of ancient human sacrifice: Execution Dock, London Bridge, and Vauxhall Cross. When DCI Don Burns is taken, the stakes are high for Alice who is falling in love with him.

The killer has suffered a psychotic breakdown after working as Shelley’s assistant for years. Since his mother committed suicide, he can hear the river talking to him, calling for more souls. His hero worship of Timothy Shelley turned to an obsessive desire to protect him after discovering that his boss had been having an affair. When Alice finally tracks Burns down he is close to drowning in the Thames. She will need all of her bravery to rescue him from the murderer’s clutches and the rising tide.


In the depths of a harsh winter psychologist Alice Quentin begins a placement at Northwood, a high security psychiatric prison for the UK’s most dangerous prisoners. She plans to carry out research, but her work is disturbed when the bodies of young girls are found in historic locations in London. The first child’s body is left outside the Foundling Hospital in a cardboard coffin, dressed as a Victorian orphan. The killing bears a chilling resemblance to the murders carried out by Northwood’s most terrifying serial killer. Louis Kinsella was a primary school headmaster when he abducted and killed eleven young girls, and was obsessed by the Foundling Hospital’s regime.

When another young girl’s body is discovered Alice is drawn into DCI Don Burns’s investigation. The killer knows details from Kinsella’s killing spree which only he could have shared. Alice must form a close relationshipwith the murderer, to make him share his secrets, but their meetings become a game of cat and mouse. The only way for Alice to gain access to his mind is to reveal secrets of her own, and she knows how much danger she’s in. Kinsella is a brilliant psychopath who goaded his last therapist to breaking point through constant psychological bullying.Soon Alice must race against time to save the life of ten year old Ella Williams who is being held captive by a vicious killer. To gain Kinsella’s secrets, she must bargain with her life


It’s the hottest summer on record and a banker is pushed to his death under a Tube train in central London. Psychologist Alice Quentin works with DI Don Burns to track down the ruthless serial killer. But as more bank workers die in a series of vicious attacks, it’s clear that he will stop at nothing to show the world his contempt for the finance industry. The killer leaves pictures of Renaissance angels and a handful of white feathers at the scene of each crime, and Alice must understand the meaning of these symbolic calling cards before the case can be solved. She starts a new relationship with ex-financier Andrew Piernan, but soon realises that he could be involved in the crimes. Alice is exposed to the greed and violence which lie at the toxic heart of the city, and has to use all of her psychological insight, just to survive.

CROSSBONES YARD, Hodder and Stoughton, UK hardback publication date June 2012.

Alice Quentin has a high-powered job, and she lives in a glamorous London neighbourhood, but her life is unravelling. Her drug-addicted brother Will lives in a van, parked outside her apartment building, and memories of her father’s violence still haunt her. Thirty-two year old Alice works as a psychologist at Guy’s Hospital, and she believes that hard work will keep her fears under control, but she is terrified of confined spaces. One night while out running she finds a girl’s body at Crossbones Yard, a prostitutes’ graveyard in Southwark. The police ask her to build a profile of the killer, and she discovers that the murder is like those carried out by serial killers Ray and Marie Benson seven years before. The Bensons tortured their victims before burying their bodies in the grounds of their property. Alice is forced to visit Marie Benson, Britain’s most notorious female killer, in Rampton Psychiatric Hospital. When Alice starts to receive threatening letters, and a second woman is killed outside her apartment building, it’s clear that her life is in danger. Her brother Will’s drug use is spiralling out of control. When Alice finds a knife in his pocket, she fears that he is involved in the murders.

Alice begins a tense relationship with one of the investigating officers, DS Ben Alvarez. When her best friend, the actress Lola Tremaine goes missing, Alice escapes from her police bodyguards to hunt for the killer, only to find herself captured and locked inside a wooden box. At the end of this gripping urban thriller Alice learns how to fight back, to overcome the memories that have kept her life in check.



The Alice Quentin series

‘A fast-moving, entertaining mix of sex, suspense and serial killings.’ The Washington Post

'There are some great twists, turns and surprises in this debut novel.' The Sun






FATAL HARMONY (2019) All published by Mulholland in the UK, apart from Fatal Harmony, published by Bloodhound Books. The first three novels were published in the US by Minotaur, River of Souls and Blood Symmetry by Harper Collins Witness Impulse. Foreign editions in German, Russian, Portuguese and Czech.