Thursday, May 24, 2018

Jar Of Hearts Review

Title:  Jar of Hearts
Author:  Jennifer Hillier
Genre:  Mystery, Suspense
Publisher:  Minotaur Books, St. Martin's Press
Release Date:  June 12, 2018
Purchase Link:  Amazon

My Rating:  5 Shattered Hearts

*Many thanks to Minotaur Books of St. Martin's Press for an arc of this book via Netgally.

A compelling story of murder, betrayal, and the secrets of the past…

Georgina, known as Geo, is a 30-year-old rising executive when her world comes crashing down. Her high school boyfriend has been identified and arrested for a series of serial murders, including Angela, Geo's best friend in high school. Angela disappeared without a trace at 16 and her body has just been found. Now Geo is under arrest for helping her then-boyfriend cover it up. And it's one of her other close friends from high school, Kaiser Brody, who arrests her.

While Geo is sent to prison for her part, Calvin escapes from custody and is on the run. Geo, now thirty-five, is about to be released from prison to try and start over. But someone has started killing people and dumping their bodies in her old neighborhood, with some of the markers of the missing Sweetbay Strangler—her old boyfriend Calvin. Is these killings some kind of message from Calvin? Are they some of revenge? Is she herself now in danger?

Everything turns on what really happened that tragic night back when Geo and Angela were high schoolers. Everyone thinks they know the truth, but there are dark secrets buried deep within other secrets, and it may be too late for anyone to survive the truth.

The cover and title of Jar of Hearts seduced me into taking a closer look, and the gripping, heart-stopping story held me captive until the shocking end . . . and beyond.  It's been several days since I finished this dark, chilling story, and I still can't let it go.  Hillier's writing is magnetic.  It sucked me in and held me in a trance as I burned through page after page - in fear of what was to come and yet helpless to stop reading.  For me, that's the mark of a great author and book.

At the age of thirty, executive Georgina (Geo) Shaw is arrested while in the midst of conducting a boardroom meeting.  After years of looking over her shoulder, the past comes calling.  It took fourteen years for her lies and deadly secrets to be discovered and five more for her to pay her dues to society.  Everyone believes they finally know the truth of what happened that fateful night when Geo's sixteen-year-old best friend disappeared.  Do they?  Or does the tragic truth remain hidden in the chaos of Geo's mind?  Can she keep the past buried and make a fresh start?  I'm not going to risk spoilers by going deeper into this story.  As intriguing as the synopsis is, it doesn't prepare you for the horrendous madness to come.  My advice is to dive in blind and swim for your life.  It's one hell of a ride. 

Hillier does an amazing job with the pacing and execution of the overall story arc in Jar of Hearts.  Brilliantly written, a frantic, sinister tone of impending doom heightens, page by page, from beginning to shocking end.  For me, the strength of the story is in the heart-breaking details of lives forever shattered and altered by an appalling split-second betrayal that can't be undone, and in the slow unmasking of broken characters - their splintered hearts and souls stripped bare as ghosts of the past overpower them, demanding to be set free.  This gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story is dark, graphic, and at times, a little too real.

Through twists & turns, Hiller takes readers on a journey that is unapologetically raw, gritty, and tragic.  While I did foresee one of the plot twists, I was in no way prepared for the shocking ending.  I've reread it three times now, trying to determine in my own mind if Geo's state of mind and circumstances at the time justify her actions in the final heartbreaking scene.  While the ending is jarring, brutal, and abrupt, it's clear now that it's also predestined.  I greatly appreciated the addition of an epilogue which gives readers some closure and hope.  Jar of Hearts is a stunning, gutsy story that will haunt me for some time.  A Page-Burning, Must Read!

My Rating:  5 Shattered Hearts . . . And that's the truth!
Cross My Heart . . . xxx


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