Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: June 12th, 2018
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Recommended Age: 16+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Death
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.
This was absolutely ADDICTIVE.
Jar of Hearts reminded me that mystery thrillers can make my heart beat faster than if I was running a marathon. If they’re not stopping it altogether or making my blood curdle, that is.
This one almost did. It’s not that I enjoy playing detective, but it’s difficult not to imagine scenarios that could have occurred and point fingers when you are presented with one or multiple crime scenes and suspects.
And yet, this ‘‘revelation’’ completely blew me away. I did not expect it at all, and of course I won’t tell you more about it, but know that I’ve never read a mystery thriller like this one in the past. Ever.
There are three main characters—Geo, Kaiser and Calvin, though flashbacks with Angela appear frequently. Each and every character, including the secondary ones, is fully developed and affective. Regardless of the importance of their role—small or big—all of them made me feel something, especially Georgina Shaw and her ex-boyfriend.
Georgina Shaw is the woman who covered for her ex-boyfriend, Calvin James, who murdered her best friend, Angela Wong, when she was sixteen. When the truth finally comes out, fourteen years later, she and Calvin are sent to prison, but her sentence is short and Calvin is there to greet her in the most horrifying of ways when she eventually returns home.
I could not put this down. I didn’t downright ‘‘like’’ any of the characters, except for the old lady Geo meets in prison, but I was interested in the ones introduced to me and I truly wanted to understand Geo and even found myself sympathizing with her at different moments. Plus none of the characters is predictable.
Unpredictability is exactly what I need in my mystery thrillers and Jennifer Hillier granted my wish tenfold.
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