The Vicious Circle by Katherine St. John – Blog Tour Review

Title: The Vicious Circle

Author: Katherine St. John

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Harper 360

Publication Date: 10th November 2022

Rating: 4/5



A perfect paradise? Or a perfect nightmare?

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 love books about cults so I was really excited by the sound of The Vicious Circle and it turned out to be just as addictive as I’d hoped! The story follows Sveta, a model living in New York, who inherits her uncle’s entire estate upon his death, despite him leaving behind a wife. Her uncle was a notorious self-help guru who lived in Xanadu, his palatial retreat in the Mexican jungle, where Sveta travels to for his funeral. However there is more to this odd, supposed utopia than meets the eye.

The Vicious Circle is one of those books that you can easily get caught up in and read in one sitting. It starts steadily but the tension ratchets up as the story moves from chilly New York to Mexico, where Sveta finds herself in an increasingly dangerous situation. It makes for an exciting and propulsive thriller with intriguing twists and turns, some of which I saw coming and some I didn’t. Sveta is, by and large, an engaging and relatable character to follow, and The Vicious Circle is definitely a book to lose yourself in and escape for a few hours!


Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour and organising it. I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

Buy the book:

Waterstones | Blackwell’s | Amazon

2 thoughts on “The Vicious Circle by Katherine St. John – Blog Tour Review

  1. Stephanie @ Bookfever says:

    Great review! I don’t think I’ve read a book about a cult before (that isn’t nonfiction) but I could be wrong. I really like the sound of this one because it does sound like an addictive read, like you said. I’ll have to add it to my TBR!


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