Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Oh, Tuesday. You’re not the worst day of the week, but you certainly are not the best. But that’s okay, because I’m back with a book that’ll make you think Tuesday is the best day ever!

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Title: Jar of Hearts {320 pages}

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: June 12, 2018

Summary:

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

Review:

About five years ago, I read a thriller that stayed with me for awhile. It was dark, creepy, and heart-pounding, the perfect mixture to make a perfect thriller. I put the author on my always-to-read list, but unfortunately, I never got around to reading her other books. When I requested Jar of Hearts on NetGalley, I did so because of the description, because it sounded dark, creepy, and heart-pounding.

Do you see where I’m going here?

Five years ago, it had been Jennifer Hillier’s Creep that had reignited my love for mysteries and thrillers. Because of that one book, I kept picking up the spine-tingling novels, the ones that kept me up a little later at night because I couldn’t turn the light off just yet. And now it’s five years later, and Jar of Hearts is going to give me a few more nights of bright lights.

Georgina Shaw has it all: a rich fiancé, a hot job, a cool car, and the rest of her life ahead of her. That is, until her best friend from high school, Kaiser, comes stomping into her life, arresting her for the murder of their best friend, Angela Wong. Geo accepts her part in Angela’s death, and she takes her five-year prison sentence with grace. When she is released, she thinks that she’ll get her life in order, get a job, reconnect with her father. What she doesn’t think is that she’ll be haunted by her past by murders in the present, murders that are uncannily similar to Angela’s. Someone is hunting down women and their children, killing them and dismembering the mothers, much like how Angela was dismembered. There’s only one difference: the eyes of the women have been scooped out, and a message on the children’s bodies ask someone to See Me.

There is a lot happening in this book, and for good reason. It’s told from alternating points of view, from Geo to Kaiser, and it gives us a glimpse of the life they both used to lead before Angela’s death. Geo remembers the night that Angela died, the night that part of her died, as well. Kaiser, on the other hand, gives us some insight into the relationship between the two girls, the jealousy, the subtle fighting. Combined, the reader begins to understand a bit more about Geo, Angela, and Kaiser, and even more about how, sometimes, we see what we want to see.

Jennifer Hillier has a neat way of making things really obvious and then throwing you at the last second. For the entire book, I knew that the killer wasn’t who they thought it was. I didn’t know who it was, but it wasn’t the guy everyone was pointing fingers at, I knew that much. And then, right when I was feeling smug and brilliant, a wrench gets thrown into the plan, and I’m back at square one, because of course this person is the killer, how could I be so blind? But she also writes in a way that involves you completely, and you’re left with little time to wonder who could be committing these heinous crimes. You are so consumed with the story and the characters, that you almost forget that there’s even murders happening around them. When she sends Kaiser out to a crime scene, I was like, oh, right! My poor babies have to deal with this on top of everything else.

What’s the moral of this review? Well, mainly that I’m going to start reading more Jennifer Hillier, and that’s not an empty promise. I’m going to revisit Creep so I can move onto Freak, and then I guess I’ll move onto every piece of writing that she has ever done and my entire life is going to be consumed with Jennifer Hillier books.

Oh, look. That’s the kind of dark, creep, heart-pounding stuff I was talking about.

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