Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

I’ve absolutely loved everything Jennifer Hillier has written, so of course I was beyond thrilled to receive an advance copy of her newest one.

Fourteen years ago Geo did the unthinkable. And now that past has caught up with her. When her best friend Angela disappeared, most people assumed that she’d run away. But not Geo. Geo knew the truth. And when everyone else finds out about her crime, there’s no escaping the consequences. So she goes to prison, does her time, and tries to put her life back together when she’s released. When bodies start piling up again, though, the question must be asked. What’s the connection to Angela’s death? And how does it involve Geo?

This book is everything you’d want in a thriller. Great characters, gripping storyline, psychopathic suspense, twists and turns…it’s all there. So do yourself a favor and read it. And then read the author’s others if you haven’t already.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Jar of Hearts

Review: Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

34612420

I love medical mysteries.  Some of my classic favorites are from Robin Cook, the master of the genre.  So when I read the description of this new one, I just knew it was for me.

When Dr. Alex Taylor wakes up on an operating table, she’s naturally confused.  Did she suffer an accident that she can’t remember?  Nope, it’s something much more sinister.  Or at least that’s what she believes.  But her story of abduction by a madman is so absurd that nobody believes her, even though she’s a highly respected surgeon.  And then when strange things continue to happen, her credibility is further damaged.  And her sanity is called into question.  Can she get anybody to believe that her experience is somehow connected to a series of mysterious deaths?  And will it be too late to save herself?

This is a classic thriller.  It has all the elements needed for a suspenseful who-dunnit.  A great summer read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Don’t Wake Up

Review: Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier

wonderland-9781501115189_hrJennifer Hillier is one messed up writer. And I mean that in the best possible way. I mean, how else can you explain the brilliance of Creep, Freak, and then the Butcher? And then along comes this one. And there are clowns. And scary dolls. All of the most important elements of one heck of a scary story.

Vanessa is forced to return to her hometown after a scandal nearly cost her a career. With the help of some much needed connections, she’s able to secure a job as Seaside’s chief of police. There’s some comfort in bringing her children home to the place where she grew up, a small touristy town that owes its existence to the omnipresent Wonderland. Everyone wants to be there, and everyone has been at one time or another.

But her less than happy homecoming is thwarted when she’s immediately thrown into the thick of things. A dead man has been found inside the amusement park, after hours no less. And he’s been dead for a very long time. Is this connected to the spate of missing teens that nobody wants to talk about? And what kind of secrets are lurking behind the gates of Wonderland, just under the smells of cotton candy and the cheerful sound of carnival music?

At the very surface, this is your basic scary-mystery-serial killer-slasher story. All the elements of the genre are there. But it goes much deeper than that, thanks to the brilliance of the author. She knows how to set the stage and how to build suspense from page one. This story is scary, and the fears are real. Grab it and settle in for a good read. With the lights turned down low. And then be prepared to sleep with the lights turned back on.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Wonderland

Review: The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

20140222-093602.jpgAfter I read Creep, Jennifer Hillier instantly become one of my favorite new authors. The sequel, Freak, sealed the deal. Now she’s back with a new stand alone novel. The question is, does it stand up to the brilliance of those first two books?

Back in the 80s, Seattle was gripped by terror as the Beacon Hill Butcher terrorized the city. That fear was put to rest when the Butcher was killed by police chief-turned hero Edward Shanks. Thirty years later, Shanks is ready to move into a retirement home. Grandson Matt, an up and coming chef and soon to be reality cooking show star, is the lucky recipient of Edward’s large Victorian home. Renovations to the family estate soon turn up family secrets that have long been buried. A side story concerns Matt’s girlfriend, Samantha. Sam is a true crime author determined to find out what happened to her mother, who she believes was one of the Butcher’s victims even though her death came after his crime spree ended. I have mixed feelings about these characters. Edward is a scary, cantankerous old man. Matt is a self-centered egomaniac with huge anger issues. And Sam is a likeable enough person although I found her to be a bit of a pushover.

I was beyond excited when I received this book. I expected a pulse-pounding, on the edge of your seat page turner, and I wasn’t disappointed. It kept me interested even though you pretty much know who the killer is and where the story is likely going from early on. Although this one doesn’t have the suspense/psychological thriller aspect that the author’s previous two books did, it’s still a great book. My only complaint is that I felt that the ending was a bit of a letdown, wrapping up in a handful of pages after building to a crescendo for the last fourth of the book. Still, this is an excellent third novel from a promising author!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: The Butcher