Review: The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

The Family GameThe Family Game by Catherine Steadman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

The publisher claims the rules are as follows:

1. Listen carefully
2. Do your research
3. Trust no one
4. Run for your life

With the The Family Game, Steadman has created her most intriguing plot yet. I was truly captivated!!

We follow UK-born novelist, Harry, who currently lives in NYC with her beau, Edward. Things are going so well for Harry. Her first novel was well-received and she is currently writing her second. And there’s Edward. She can hardly believe their relationship. It’s almost too good to be true.

He’s as handsome as a movie star and as wealthy as an Astor; old money, family money. He’s also kind, supportive and seems so into her it hurts.

The thing is, their relationship is progressing rapidly and Harry has yet to be introduced to his family. Edward has warned her they can be a bit much.

Now that they are engaged, the Holbeck family suddenly emerges as a huge force in their lives. Edward was right, they are a bit overwhelming. That American old-money vibe is just poring from every orifice.

Harry grins and tries her best to take it in stride, but her future-father-in-law, Robert Holbeck really gets under her skin. She’s drawn to him in a way that frankly makes her uncomfortable. Then, of course, there is the Dictaphone cassette he slips her upon their initial meeting.

Harry is confused. What is this? Some sort of test?

Firstly, she will need to find a device to play the ancient form of technology, but once she does, it takes even longer for her to actually listen to it. Frankly, I would have had that baby listened to in full by the end of brunch the next day, but that’s just me.

Harry is shocked by the contents of the tape. It seems to be a confession of a very dark family secret. Something that, if true, could be the downfall of them all. Is it real? Why would Robert have given it to her?

With this potentially shocking information in mind, Harry must endure more family events, each one more dangerous than the last. It’s the holiday season, after all.

In between festive activities, Harry puts her natural research skills to the test as she tries to figure out whether or not Robert’s tape is based in fact or fiction. She’s not sure who she can trust, but the wrong decision could cost her everything.

The Family Game is fun, crazy, dangerous and dramatic, just how I like ’em. The twist was a bit obvious in my opinion, but the writing made it wildly-entertaining anyway.

Harry was in a tough spot. Having no family of her own, I could see why she would be attracted to the Holbecks.

Even though they were a bit scary in their forwardness, there was also something attractive about their closeness and traditions. I can certainly see why she would get caught up a bit in their opulent lifestyle.

I really enjoyed Harry’s investigations into the tape. Because of her work as an author, she was used to researching things and brought all of her experience to the table when looking into Robert’s confession.

I also loved the use of the contents of the tape as a narrative device for learning more about the Holbeck family and Edward’s backstory. We don’t get Edward’s perspective at all, so I found that useful for actually getting a read on him and his life.

I had a lot of fun reading this. It was paced so well and I loved the different family events that Harry got to attend with the Holbecks, each one more startling than the last.

By the end, this was well and truly wild, as over-the-top as they come, but still super fun with a satisfying conclusion. It’s the sort of story where you’ll need to suspend belief for a bit, but for me, that didn’t impact my enjoyment level at all.

Thank you to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Steadman!

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Review: Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon

Never Coming HomeNever Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The number one thing on Lucas Forester’s checklist for a future mate was that she have money, and we’re talking serious money. The kind of money most people can only dream of; top 1%-levels.

When he meets Michelle while she’s vacationing in London, he sees those big, beautiful dollar signs all over her. She’s perfectly wealthy.

He can hardly believe his luck. His long-time plans of acquiring wealth through a loveless marriage are about to come to fruition. Thus, he puts his well-thought out plan into motion.

The culmination of this plan requires he take a hit out on Michelle and he does, without hesitancy or complication. Now he must play his most important role yet, that of the grieving widower.

Everything is falling into place. He’s feeling good. He’s going to get away with this and then the photos and cryptic messages begin popping up.

Someone knows what he did…

Lucas is scrambling. He needs to figure out who is doing this and put an end to it before they’re able to expose him, but no matter what he does, they seem to remain a step ahead.

Lucas has a lot to hide and this mystery individual is a risk to everything he has built for himself. He’ll stop at nothing to take out this threat.

I really enjoyed Hannah Mary McKinnon’s last two novels, so was very excited to get to this one. Never Coming Home brought her signature wild drama, all while providing a unique perspective.

Getting the story from Lucas’s POV was different and admittedly, very fun. He’s a conniving-dirtbag, there’s no doubt about that, but I found myself quietly rooting for him. It felt a little strange initially, but I got swept up fairly quickly and then was all in.

The final twist was exciting and sort of a fist pump, jaw drop moment, but my main critique actually involves it. The big twist comes very close to the end and I actually could have done with a bit more after the big reveal.

I wanted more of that goodness and I felt it wrapped up a little too quickly for my tastes. Although, with this being said, the final few lines were super-satisfying.

Thank you so much to the publisher, MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It took me a long time to get around to it, but I’m so glad I have finally read this one.

I am absolutely looking forward to more from McKinnon!

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Review: The Prisoner by B.A. Paris

The PrisonerThe Prisoner by B.A. Paris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

When Amelie was a teenager, her father passed away after struggling with an illness. She had already lost her mother, so suddenly found herself alone.

With no money and no desire to go into the state system, Amelie disappeared to London, where she set about making a life for herself.

She works hard at it too. It’s a struggle. Sometimes with no other options, she was forced to sleep on the streets. She works in restaurants mostly, but that industry doesn’t necessarily equal security for a young woman still in her teens. Nevertheless, she pushes on.

Her luck seems to turn around on the day that she meets Carolyn. Carolyn is a successful business woman, recently separated from her husband, who sees something in Amelie and offers her a job as a live-in housekeeper.

That’s how Amelie’s world changes. She now has friends she can count on, a safe and comfortable place to live, as well as a good salary. She begins to live the life that other, more privileged girls, her age are living.

Soon she is moving up in the world and it’s through a new job that she meets Ned Hawthorpe, a business man, technically her new boss and the heir to a vast fortune.

Whilst on a business trip to Vegas, Ned offers Amelie a deal. If she marries him, he’ll give her something she really desires. Who would think that something could go wrong from this?

Thus begins the spiral for poor Amelie.

There’s a kidnapping. There’s a hostage situation. There’s much back-and-forth filling it all in. Why has Amelie been kidnapped and will she be able to make it out of this horrible situation alive?

As with all her other novels, this book begins with a bang right out of the gate. That’s one thing I always appreciate about Paris’s writing. There’s no beating around the bush, or wasted eons of build-up, her stories start very, very quickly.

Usually within the first few pages, you’re in it. This book is no exception.

Then the narrative alternates between the present, which includes Amelie being held hostage reflecting on her situation, what could have lead her here and how she can get out of it, and the past, which fills the Reader in on Amelie’s life from the time her father died, up to the present.

I generally enjoy when stories are formatted this way and I did enjoy it in this case as well. I also enjoyed the short chapters, which made the pace feel very quick. I literally read this in a day.

Unfortunately, not all elements worked as well.

This sort of felt like an early 90s-Lifetime movie. Now, let me be clear, I love a good Lifetime movie now and again. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Lifetime movies. Please don’t come at me.

However, this was forced drama and way over-the-top. I usually love over-the-top, that’s sort of my brand. Even things that are fairly unbelievable, but for some reason the tone of this, the feel of some of the circumstances, just did not work for me.

All the male characters were practically indistinguishable from one another. I was almost at the end and one of them was mentioned and I thought, who the hell is that? It took me completely out of the story. I’m still confused about who he was and he played a pivotal role in the plot.

With all of this being said, it was suspenseful and it did keep me fairly engaged, but I have read all of B.A. Paris’s works and when I see her name on a cover, I get excited.

Admittedly, I expect a lot and maybe that’s on me, but honestly, this one disappointed me a bit. It is a good book, there is a fun story within these pages that will keep a lot of Readers on the edges of their seats. Sadly, for me, it just wasn’t as great as I was expecting.

Don’t take my word for it though, pick it up for yourself. If it sounds intriguing to you, absolutely give it a go!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I’m glad I read it and am already looking forward to seeing what B.A. Paris will come up with next!

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Review: One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke

One of the GirlsOne of the Girls by Lucy Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Bella wants only the best for her best friend Lexi’s Hen Do. It has to be one for the record books, as special as Lexi herself. That’s why she picks her girlfriend, Fen’s, Aunt’s villa on a remote Greek island as the destination.

The guest list is small, just Bella, Lexi, Fen, Robin, Bella and Lexi’s other closest friend from childhood, Eleanor, Lexi’s soon to be sister-in-law, and Ana, a new friend Lexi has made in her adult life.

Even though the setting is stunning, the property exceeding all expectations, the rest doesn’t turn out quite as Bella had anticipated.

Everyone seems a bit on edge, Bella’s not crazy about Lexi’s new friend, Ana. Who even is she anyway!?

Then there is the future sis-in-law, she’s awkward. Of course there’s tension with Robin. Bella and Robin have been estranged since that incident in high school. And why is Fen acting so remote?

Most unsettling for Bella though is Lexi herself. Who is this woman? Where is the party girl she used to know? The professional dancer who would hop from club to club imbibing in anything she could get her hands on well into the night?

But this story isn’t told just from Bella’s perspective. She just happens to be the person that I connected with the most; take from that what you will.

This story is told from all the ladies perspectives and my goodness, is there a lot racing through the minds of these women. The history, the self-doubt, the insecurities, the grudges, they run deep!!

Someone is not making it back from this weekend. You know that as you’re reading. This is not going to end well. But who and how and more importantly, why!?

One of the Girls took me by surprise. I loved this. It’s not perfect, no, but it resonated with me in so many different ways. I was absolutely captivated by these women.

I’m actually sorry I put off reading this for so long. It was a great fit for me as I enjoy a lot of drama, suspense and low-key girl squad vibes.

When I tell you the dramatic narrative left me unable to put this down, I am not exaggerating. I loved how this was formatted to slowly reveal the truth of all the relationships at play here. It’s complicated, but so is life.

I definitely would recommend this to any Reader who enjoys a lot of deep drama in their stories. We’re talking interpersonal relationships so mired, you wonder why the characters are even friends. Personally, I love that.

I also really enjoyed the conclusion to this. I loved the just desserts, if you will, and the way some of the storylines really came full circle. It gave me some real satisfaction at the end.

We love closure.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Penguin Group Putnam, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was my first Lucy Clarke, but definitely will not be my last!

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Review: The Bachelorette Party by Carissa Ann Lynch

The Bachelorette PartyThe Bachelorette Party by Carissa Ann Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Rosalee is excited about her future marriage to Asher, but she’s not necessarily looking forward to her bachelorette party, a destination event including her frigid future mother-in-law and bitchy sister-in-law.

Oh, and let’s not forget the inclusion of the groom’s super hot, yoga instructor childhood best friend, Georgia.

Alas, it’s tradition and Rosalee’s best friend, Mara, as well as her slightly estranged cousin, Tinsley, have put a lot of time and effort into planning this weekend long event.

They’ve rented a beautiful, Greek revival mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans for the occasion and it seems no expense was spared.

Unfortunately, what starts out as a mostly well-intended weekend in celebration of the future bride ends in murder and mayhem. Who did it and why?

Y’all, I really enjoyed this. I especially appreciated the way Lynch formatted the mystery. It was unique and a lot of fun!

Basically, it starts with a crime scene. You know someone is dead, but you don’t know who. You really aren’t given that much information at that point.

Then you get alternating chapters following each of the attendees of the bachelorette party: Rosalee, the bride, Elizabeth, the mother-in-law, Bri, the sister-in-law, Mara, the bride’s best friend, Georgia, the groom’s best friend and Tinsley, the cousin.

This may seem like a lot, but it is done in such a way that flows seamlessly. Each of the characters is very distinct, with their own opinions, motivations and grudges.

This portion of the story will take you through traveling to NOLA, all the way through to the night of the murder. Curtain closes.

The narrative picks up again as police interrogations of those involved begin. The header of each chapter doesn’t even tell you who the interview is with, so you figure that out as you go along.

I loved that, because you only figure out through the process of elimination, who the victim is. It was really fun. Then you get a few crime scene chapters with the police investigating the crime, filling in missing pieces along the way.

I think I may have actually been more enamored with the way the story was told than with the actual story itself. I’m sort of joking, but yeah, I was impressed with Lynch’s choices for how she laid this one out.

I had a lot of fun with this. I loved all the drama going on behind the scenes of what should have been a really good weekend. It was interesting to watch the dynamics among the characters change as the weekend progressed as well.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a light, fun, drama-filled whodunit. This would make a great weekend read, or a book to bring with you while you travel.

Thank you so much to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am looking forward to reading more from Carissa Ann Lynch!

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Review: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Daisy DarkerDaisy Darker by Alice Feeney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Nana is turning 80-years old on Halloween and invites you to visit her at her tired, gothic-feeling home on a tiny, tidal island, you go. Even if you can’t stand the rest of your family, you go.

And that’s indeed what happens for Daisy Darker’s family, assembled via Nana’s wishes for the first time in years.

Nana’s been a little fixated on her 80th ever since that palm reader told her it would be her last birthday.

In fact, it may be because of this that she has chosen this birthday to gather her entire family, including her son, Frank, ex-daughter in law, Nancy, three granddaughters, Rose, Lily and Daisy, one great-granddaughter, Trixie and a man named Connor, who has been a sort of unofficial member of the Darker family for years, to air some things.

This also may be the reason why she decides to read her Will to them all that night.

All are not necessarily pleased by Nana’s proclamations, but what can they do. What’s done is done, isn’t it?

As the clock strikes midnight, Nana’s crumpled body is then discovered on the floor of the kitchen. She’s dead, but was it an accidental fall, or did something more sinister happen?

After Nana’s death, everyone is panicked. It’s creepy being trapped on a remote island with a dead body, but there’s literally no way off and a storm has halted communication with the mainland.

The fun doesn’t stop there though, think And Then There Were None. No one is safe…

Daisy, the youngest of the granddaughters, has always been Nana’s favorite, even though she’s been mistreated by the rest of her family for years.

Well, that’s not necessarily true, Trixie, Lily’s often-neglected daughter, is always kind to her Aunt Daisy, so at least Daisy has two allies within the family; not a total loss.

This story is actually narrated entirely by Daisy, so getting insights into the family from her perspective is quite interesting indeed. She doesn’t hold back any punches when describing her relatives, that’s for sure.

In addition to the present drama, we also get a past perspective, taking us through Daisy’s childhood and most memorable times at the Darker seaside manor.

Connor, the man mentioned above, is a large part of these childhood memories, as that’s when he first came on the scene and essentially became a member of the family.

I had a fantastic time with this book. The audiobook absolutely enraptured me.

There was so much about this that I loved, from the classic-feeling mystery vibe, to the over-the-top family drama, bad-acting characters and claustrophobic setting.

This is my favorite book of 2022 so far and something superbly jaw-dropping would have to come along to change that, I think. This is next level.

I loved how this story was told. The set-up at the house with Nana was terrific, the use of the creepy poems to enhance the mystery, as well as the alternating timelines helped to build-out this story beautifully.

If I were to wish upon a star, I would wish that I had written this book. Alas, I am pretty sure that doesn’t work and Alice Feeney beat me to it. Perfection.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This blew me away. What a delight!

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Review: Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

Stay AwakeStay Awake by Megan Goldin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After waking disoriented in a city cab, with disturbing messages inked on her hands and arms, Liv Reese asks the driver to drop her at her brownstone. Once there, Liv realizes she doesn’t have her keys. What a night.

She’s going to have to wake her roommate, Amy, to let her in. It’s not ideal, but can’t be helped. Liv is exhausted. She just wants to sleep off the rest of whatever this is.

Making matters even more confusing, she doesn’t recognize the couple who come to the door of her apartment. Could they possibly be guests of Amy’s?

The woman, in particular, is especially curt and hostile towards Liv. She claims they live there, have for quite some time and have no idea who Liv is, or where Amy could be.

Ejected from the place she considers home, Liv doesn’t know where to turn. Then she finds the bloody knife. Every move Liv makes only seems to lead to more questions.

The next day, she heads to work. The last thing she remembers is answering the phone at her desk. Maybe she can find some answers there.

In the office, things are just as confusing. It looks different and she doesn’t recognize anyone, but somehow they seem to know her.

Stumbling around the city, trying to piece together how she ended up in this state, Liv catches a news report that shows a murder scene with the same message written on a window as is written on her hands.

She pieces together that the last memories she has are from two years ago. What has she been doing all this time, and more importantly, what did she do last night? Is Liv capable of murder?

Through past and present perspectives, the Reader is clued in to the truths surrounding Liv’s memory issues and murky past. The question is, will Liv be able to piece it all together before it’s too late?

She’s on the run, but she doesn’t even realize from what. I’ll admit, her story had me panicking at times. It’s uncomfortable, but in the best ways.

Stay Awake was one of my absolute most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint for a second. I enjoy Goldin’s work so much and this is certainly no exception.

This was an insanely-intense, jaw-dropping, mortifyingly-wild ride. Goldin took me on a freaking journey with this main character. Oh my goodness.

In my opinion, this is a perfect Summer Thriller. Megan Goldin delivers again!!!

I was so confused towards the beginning on this story. It really played on my own anxieties, but in a way that was enjoyable. I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of Liv and wonder how I would handle these circumstances.

It’s hard to even imagine!

This definitely had me at the edge of my seat and I loved how it all played out. We also get the perspective of the police investigation to the initial murder.

The way the two eventually blended together was so well done. Goldin nailed it.

An extra-special thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

I did listen to the audiobook and it was fantastic, including narration from one of my all-time favorite narrators, Imogen Church. I highly recommend that format for soaking in this highly engaging Thriller.

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Review: The It Girl by Ruth Ware

The It GirlThe It Girl by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Meg’s Ruth Ware Ratings:

1. The Turn of the Key: 5-stars
2. The Lying Game: 4.5-stars
2. The It Girl: 4.5-stars
3. One by One: 4-stars
4. The Death of Mrs. Westaway: 4-stars
5. In a Dark, Dark Wood: 3.5-stars
6. The Woman in Cabin 10: 3-stars

The It Girl has come in strong, tied for second place on my Ruth Ware ratings list. That’s not too shabby.

And before you come at me, I’m totally aware I am in the minority opinion on The Lying Game.

In this novel we follow Hannah, who is married to a charming, handsome man, Will. She’s currently pregnant with their first child and working in a bookshop. So, her life is pretty great.

It hasn’t always been as peaceful, however. A decade earlier, when Hannah was in college, her best friend and roommate, April, was murdered. Hannah found the body.

It was an absolutely terrible time in her life. One Hannah tries hard not to think about. Unfortunately, it’s about to come back to haunt her.

On the night April was killed, Hannah saw a man exiting their dorm just prior to her discovering the body. Through her eye-witness statement this man was ultimately convicted for the crime and has been in prison ever since.

He has proclaimed his innocence the entire way through, but don’t they all say that?

After Hannah receives the news that this man, John Neville, has died in prison, she is contacted by a young journalist who believes he has proof of Neville’s innocence.

This rocks Hannah’s world. Could Neville have been innocent? Did she make a horrible mistake and if she did, who really killed April?

I really enjoyed my time with this story. It is told via alternating timelines, which I always have fun watching unfold and ultimately meld together.

We get Hannah’s present perspective, as she grapples with the news of John Neville’s death, as well as her past perspective, which covers her time at Oxford and her friendship with April.

Both time periods were interesting, although the past perspective did draw me in more quickly than the present perspective. However, the present perspective definitely caught up.

Once Hannah starts questioning what she saw the night of April’s death, she begins a little investigation of her own. She cannot let it go. It was at that point that the present perspective really grabbed me. I love some amateur sleuthing.

Ware did a great job of growing the intensity throughout this story. At the end, we were treated to some real cat-and-mouse moments, which I was living for.

It did have me at the edge of my seat, questioning absolutely everyone. What was the answer!? Who killed April!?

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who has enjoyed Ware’s work in the past. This has her classic touch mixed beautifully with subtle dark academia vibes.

If you haven’t read Ware before, but are interested in trying her work, I do think this would be a great place to start. This story is captivating and well-plotted. Absolutely worth the time!

I am so excited to see Ware will deliver us next!!

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Review: Where I Left Her by Amber Garza

Where I Left HerWhere I Left Her by Amber Garza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Whitney’s teenage daughter, Amelia, is at an especially difficult phase. She’s moody and secretive. Whitney hardly recognizes her sometimes.

Whitney tries her best to remain patient. Things have been challenging for them both since the divorce, since Amelia’s Dad moved to Europe with his new wife.

Recently, Amelia has stopped hanging out with her old friends in favor of a new friend, Lauren.

When Amelia asks if she can spend the night at Lauren’s house on the weekend, Whitney is definitely hesitant. She doesn’t know this girl’s parents and has always had a rule that she must know the family before sleepovers.

At this point though, Whitney is at wit’s end. She gives in. Amelia can stay at Lauren’s on one condition, that Whitney can drive her there and drop her off.

So, that’s what they do. Whitney really wants to walk Amelia to the front door, but Amelia is adamant that is not going to happen. Once they arrive at Lauren’s home, Whitney watches as her daughter walks up the front steps, is greeted by Lauren at the door and disappears inside.

The next day, after being unable to reach Amelia on her cell for several hours, Whitney returns to the home for pick-up.

She’s surprised when an elderly couple answers the door, claiming there are no teenage girls there. She must have the wrong house.

Initially, she’s embarrassed. She could have sworn this was the house, the one with the rose bushes out front, but truth be told, all the houses do sort of look the same.

Whitney leaves, drives around the neighborhood looking for anything familiar and ends up right back there. She knows this is the house. Something is very wrong.

She calls her best friend, she calls the police, she calls her ex-husband. They need to find Amelia.

From there, the Reader gets a front row seat to the drama as Whitney desperately searches for her missing daughter. All will be revealed, but we’ve got a long, bumpy road ahead.

After my experience with Garza’s 2020-novel, When I Was You, I was super stoked for this next release. Where I Left Her is an over-the-top, ridiculously far-fetched drama.

We love it. Okay, maybe not ‘we’, but I LOVE IT!!

I really vibe with Garza’s writing and this one totally sucked me in. It was crazy fun.

Once I started, I was completely invested 100%. Honestly, both Whitney and Amelia made me angry. They aren’t making the wisest choices, but no one makes the best choices all the time…

I had a lot of fun learning about Whitney’s past and how it may have come back to haunt her. It was quite intriguing the way Garza pieced it all together.

I would definitely recommend this, particularly if you’ve enjoyed Garza’s writing before.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Mira Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I had fun with this and will definitely pick up anything else Garza releases!

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Review: Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

Things We Do in the DarkThings We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paris Peralta is in trouble. After being discovered in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor, with a straight razor in her hand, her celebrity-husband, Jimmy, dead in the bathtub behind her, she’s promptly arrested for his murder.

Not a great way to start a day, following a night she can hardly remember. It appears Paris suffered a head injury at some point during the night. This must be why she can’t remember what happened.

A flurry of media activity immediately flocks to the action. Jimmy Peralta was a well-loved comedic actor, who had recently made a giant comeback. His death is big news.

Paris is devastated and swears that she is innocent. In spite of everything happening around her, Paris actually has bigger worries.

When Paris and Jimmy met, she was a yoga instructor and he attended her classes. He was smitten fairly quickly and she was as well, but she was never truly honest with Jimmy.

She never told him about her past. A past she has been hiding from for years.

Twenty-five years ago, Ruby Reyes, dubbed the ‘Ice Queen’ by the media, was convicted for the murder of a man in Canada. It was a very high profile case, with people still discussing it to this day.

Ruby feels like she knows who Paris really is and she spends the final days of her prison stay writing Paris threatening letters. Apparently, blackmail is a hobby you can participate in from anywhere.

Drew Malcolm is an investigative journalist turned podcaster. His specialty happens to be my favorite: true crime. When he hears that Ruby Reyes is going to be released from prison, he can hardly believe it.

Drew grew up in the same area where Ruby lived and committed her infamous crime. He feels personally connected to the case and decides to make it the next hot topic for his podcast.

Using alternating perspectives, as well as both past and present timelines, the Reader gets taken on a real journey in Things We Do in the Dark.

I didn’t pay much attention to the synopsis before I started this, Jennifer Hillier’s name on the cover was enough to get me to read it, and I’m happy I went into this pretty much blind. I was so surprised each time the direction and perspective of this story shifted.

Unsurprisingly, Hillier’s writing drew me in from the very start. I loved Paris as a character and her relationship with Jimmy. I found it completely fascinating.

For me, Jimmy was that quintessential stand-up comedian turned actor, who suffers from depression and substance abuse issues. He found this beautiful young lady who truly seemed to make him happy and he started to turn his life around. I loved that aspect.

I felt like I knew him, even though he really didn’t play a role in this story.

As far as Paris was concerned, I just got her. I liked her. Learning about her past, I truly felt for all she had been through in her life, all she had overcome and achieved in spite of it.

Additionally, Drew was a fantastic character. I liked how much his investigative journalist background contributed to the story. This man was on a mission.

I had so much fun with the reveals in this, as the three threads begin to weave together. I felt this was expertly-plotted and a great way to escape the world for a while.

I did listen to the audiobook and felt that is was super well done. I was enchanted by the narration. Once I started, it was really hard to put it down for anything.

Dinner, that can wait. Sleep, who needs it? Work, it will be there tomorrow.

In short, I loved this. Fast-paced, compelling and with so many elements that I tend to enjoy, Hillier won big for me with this one!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. It’s clear I am a huge fan of Hillier’s work and this one is no exception.

I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!!

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