Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review | Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Book Title: Jar of Hearts
Author: Jennifer Hillier 
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Published: June 12, 2018
Rating: 5 ❤❤❤❤❤

Goodreads Description: 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?

From the moment that I started to read this book, I was completely hooked. I have never read anything from Jennifer Hillier but the description on Net Galley intrigued me. I'm thankful I decided to read it. Seriously if you do read this book, get ready for a complete roller coaster in terms of a story line and in terms of emotions. 

The book begins with Geo in the midst of a trial, where she was sentenced and sent to jail. Initially, I thought she would spend the entirety of the book in jail and we would read her experiences in the system. However, that is not the case. Geo does come out of jail and we start to see how she navigates through life after she's been released. 

Shortly before her release and a while after, strange and familiar occurrences begin to happen near Geo's childhood home. While she is no longer the suspect in any of these new cases, the detective and long time friend of Geo, Kaiser believes that they have everything to do with her. At one point I felt like Kaiser's partner, trying to figure out the link between the new cases and the old ones. 

Geo begins to fear for her life and the life of people who are most important to her. Throughout the book, Hillier flashes from the present to the past, unraveling the night that Angela Wong was murdered and unraveling the events that occurred to lead Geo to her present day life. Each flashback reveals more and more of who Geo was as a teenager and how the murder of her best friend shaped her as an adult. 

Geo mentions that she knew that night would unravel eventually and she figured that eventually she would be arrested but what happened was everything revealed itself slowly but surely, even revealing Geo's deepest, darkest and most held onto secret. The flashbacks also reveals a lot about the role that Calvin, her boyfriend at the time, played in her life and how their relationship greatly effected her life forever.

“She picks up the empty Mason jar, the one Calvin filled with cinnamon hearts to give to her. It has been a present, his way of apologizing after the first time he hit her. Geo never liked the candy, which was the kind that was sweet on your tongue at first, only to turn hot the longer you kept it there. Cinnamon hearts were his favorite candy, not hers.” 

― Jennifer Hillier, Jar of Hearts

The name of the book is related to the mason jar of cinnamon hearts that Calvin gifts Geo as a teenager. (See above quote) I thought that was a clever way to name the book. I love that later on, Hillier ties the cinnamon hearts to Geo's adult life.

You will get no REAL spoilers here but all I can say is, definitely read this book! It took me all but two days (with breaks in between) to finish this book.

About the Author

Jennifer Hillier writes psychological thrillers. Her other thrillers are Creep, Freak, The Butcher and Wonderland. She is also a columnists at The Thrill Begins. 

Author's Website Goodreads

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