Book Review: The Boy in the River by Richard Hoskins

On 21 September 2001, the mutilated torso of a small child was found floating beside London's Tower Bridge, one tide away from being swept into the North Sea.
Unable to identify the victim, the Murder Squad turned to Richard Hoskins, a young professor of theology with a profound understanding of African tribal ritual and religion. , whose own past was scarred by a heartbreaking tragedy. Thus began a journey into the tangled undergrowth of one of the most notorious murder cases of recent years; a case which would reveal the horrific truth that innocent children are being ritually sacrificed in our capital city.
Insightful and grippingly written, The Boy in the River is an inside account of a series of extraordinary criminal investigations and a compelling personal quest into the dark heart of humanity. 
I bought this book after seeing Richard Hoskins being interviewed on This Moning, I am so glad that I did because The Boy in the River is a fascinating read.
I really appreciated how Richard Hoskins approaches his subject matter. He jumps between the investigations that he worked on ans his past personal experiences in Africa. He is brutally honest about what he witnessed and how it affected him and I think that it was this honesty that really touched me as a reader.
The Boy in the River does not make for comfortable reading especially as you know it is non-fiction. Hoskins describes scenes of child torture and the barbaric methods used plus the rituals and reasoning behind them. I felt terribly sad and disappointed and also extremely helpless that such atrocities are taking place in our capital city.
As I said, Hoskins is honest throughout the book and I was surprised at how non-judgemental he was. He describes African traditions and some of the religious beliefs behind child sacrifice and exorcism without bias. It is clear that he does not agree with the actions but he is trying to explain to the reader how they came about rather than criticising.
The Boy in the River gives you so much to think about. It made me question how I would react in certain situations and it also made me think about organised religion and the ways in which it can inform people's lives. The boy in the river suffered a terrible ordeal and untimely death; were his killers evil or did they truly believe that they were right to take his life in order to achieve something for themselves?
Richard Hoskins's writing is extremely accessible and I felt as though I learnt a lot. I was also left with many questions to consider but personally I think that is the sign of a good book.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5


Nikki-ann said...

This sounds like it's my kind of book. Many thanks for the great review, I'm definitely going to have to get this one! :)

Dot said...

Nikki-ann you're welcome, it's a really good book!

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