Book Review: The Vicious Circle by Katherine St. John

On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when Paul mysteriously dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left not to Kali, but to his estranged niece Sveta.

Shocked and confused, Sveta travels from New York City to Mexico to pay her respects. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, and transcendent vibe. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on promises of an impossible utopia, guided by a disturbing belief system and a charismatic, dangerously capable leader.

As the sinister forces surrounding Sveta become apparent, she realizes, too late, she can’t escape. Frantic and terrified, she discovers her only chance of survival is to put her confidence in the very person she trusts the least.


I flew through The Vicious Circle. It’s an easy read and a story you can easily sink your teeth into. For me, this was mostly to do with the characters. There are some great characters in this book. Some likeable, many not so much, but the key point is that there was so many layers to them. This is a book about trust and which of the characters can you actually trust, well, you need to get to the end of the book to find out.

The story itself was great too. Admittedly, there were some elements of the story that you will be familiar with from other books. Saying that, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the many twists and turns of The Vicious Circle.

One last thing is the setting of The Vicious Circle. At times, I really felt as if I was in the Mexican jungle, adding to the creepiness and anticipation of this story.

Sounds up your street? Pick up your copy of The Vicious Circle here.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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