Review: Your Life is Mine by Nathan Ripley

Your Life Is MineYour Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of my most anticipated thrillers of the year!

Blanche Potter (nee Varner) is a documentary filmmaker with one true friend, a surrogate mother and a horrifying past. Her long-dead father, Chuck Varner, is an infamous spree killer who also was the leader of a death cult. Preaching a philosophy he termed, Your Life Is Mine, Chuck raised his daughter like she would someday become the cult’s leader.

Blanche distanced herself as much as she could from that life but as we all know, the past never stays buried.

When she hears that her estranged mother has been shot, she believes there is more to the story than the cops are presenting to her. She believes Chuck Varner’s cult members are making a resurgence and the death of her biological mother is just step one in a plan that will ultimately end in another mass killing.

Traveling back to her hometown, Blanche begins an investigation of her own which leads her to some startling conclusions!

Nathan Ripley (aka. Naben Ruthnum) is a talented writer. There is an edginess to his writing that is visceral. He does not shy away from dark subject matter and it is on page. He doesn’t keep you in the shadows or sugarcoat anything for his readers.

I was so impressed with his debut, Find You in the Dark, last year. It was such a gripping read for me. I was glued to the pages and flew through it and immediately knew I would read whatever he had coming out next!

While I felt Your Life Is Mine had the same tone and grittiness, I was not sold on the subject matter. The cult philosophy was disjointed and I never really understood what the point of it was. Blanche, as a character, was sort of like a dead fish. I felt nothing from her and nothing for her.

Part of the fun of Find You In The Dark, at least for me, was the perfectly crafted game of cat and mouse between the protagonist, Martin Reese, and police detective, Sandra Whittal. They were perfectly matched and I found myself rooting for both of them.

In this story, no one was likable and honestly, I didn’t care one way or another who killed Blanche’s mother or why. The second half of the book did pick up the pace a bit but I wouldn’t necessarily say it was either thrilling or mysterious. Overall, it was a good book but it didn’t live up to the quality and excitement of his debut.

Thank you, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. As always, I appreciate the opportunity and I will continue to read anything that Ripley writes. As I mentioned, I love his writing, I definitely think this was more of a content issue than a writing issue for me.

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