Posted in August Book Reviews, Thrillers

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

GirlInSnow

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

WHO ARE YOU WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.

Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka.

This is easily one of the most interesting, and also somewhat disturbing, books I’ve read in a long time. The start of our story is raw and honest, and it chilled me immediately.

This story follows Cameron, the boy who loved Lucinda too much; Jade, the girl who wanted her life; and Russ, an officer assigned to investigate the murder. The first thing I will say is that this author impressed me with how she took what is considered a thriller, and flipped it all around. While Lucinda’s murder is the glue binding everything together, you almost start to forget about her at points. You get so engrossed with the characters, what’s happening, their secrets, their thoughts. It was a unique take on the idea of a thriller and I enjoyed that.

I read this book in about six hours. I only put it down the first night to sleep and immediately started in again the next day. The way this story is laid out worked well. Each chapter focuses on one particular character and even with a large cast of characters, it was easy to follow, and not lose anyone in the story.

Cameron’s character swung from scary to timid. You weren’t sure if you wanted to help him or hide from him. Jade…I felt for her character. As we learn more about her as the story continues on, you feel your heart break for this teenage girl who is trying to figure things out while also protecting herself. Russ’s character is unique, and yet almost what you’d expect at the same time. He’s lost. Even though he’s a police officer and middle-age, he’s lost. All of our characters are. I think that’s what makes this story captivating; everyone is lost in their own way.

If you’re looking for a thriller that brings a fresh perspective to what we normally think of as a thriller, this is the book for you. The story is painful, visceral, and almost feels a little too raw in parts. But those are the aspects that I enjoyed the most. The characters are extremely flawed, but also not unlike most of us. A fantastic debut for the author.

 

Posted in June Book Reviews 2017, Thrillers

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

EveryLastLie

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow’s pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche. 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

I’ve been on a bit of a psychological thriller kick lately. It’s the genre I naturally gravitate towards and this book honestly reminded me why I love the genre so much. This is a book that, although I’ve received an advanced copy, I will be buying a copy for my shelf. This is a book that every one who aspires to write should read.

Mary Kubica pulled me in immediately. Not with the mystery (which is what usually plagues me for hours on end), but with the emotion in this story. The way that I could physically see Clara and Nick, the stress, the pain, the heartbreak. Everything was so vivid; the home, the heat, the stress, the terror. You could physically feel it along with the characters. You could read, and then close your eyes for a moment and see these characters and just want to help them.

One aspect that stood out to me was the insomnia. Nick experiences it in his final months and Clara experiences it after his death. This author shows this to reader so incredibly well. Insomnia for days on end can make you feel like you’re losing your mind. Everything becomes fuzzy and enhanced at the same time. You lose track of things because you’re trying to catch a minute of rest and it just never comes.

Nick was a character that I thought I would hate. But as you see him throughout the story and his love for Clara was so unending, it felt like my heart was ripping apart. Sometimes, you can love someone too much. So much that you never want them to be unhappy or stressed for even a moment.

Clara is someone you want to run and help. I knew she wasn’t real, but in my heart, I kept wanting to find her and help her. The frustration and shame she felt was something I could relate to. You’re in a mess, you don’t really know the magnitude of the mess, and you’re just wading through the muck, trying to deal with it. But you can’t because you don’t know how to, and you don’t even know what exactly is happening.

This book is a masterpiece from beginning to end. I truly can’t recommend it enough.

Posted in June Book Reviews 2017, Non-Romance Reads, Thrillers

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don't You Cry

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

From the author of the New York Times bestseller everyone is talking about THE GOOD GIRL, Mary Kubica returns an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession.

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

I finished this book a week or so ago. I was needing a day to let this book settle in my system, but I still am just blown away by it and I really struggle to find the words for this story.

This book was an absolute mind-fuck. I was so completely twisted and turned around, trying to understand what was happening, what was real. I kept coming back to this book over and over. I’d read for a bit, put it down so I could get something done, and then I’d have my nose right back in it because even when I wasn’t reading, it consumed my thoughts.

Quinn and Esther are roommates and when Esther goes missing, it causes Quinn to question everything in her life. Quinn is described as being a bit of a slow learner, but I personally didn’t see that in her character at all. I felt more like she was a young girl just trying to find her way, and constantly being compared to her over-achiever sister. Which is how she stumbles on Esther, who happens to be looking for a roommate. The two have a great friendship and Esther sounds like the person you’d love to have as your roommate. But are things always what they seem?

When Esther goes missing, Quinn starts finding out more and more about Esther. About her last roommate, secret letters, shredded pictures and documents. Who is Esther Vaughan?

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan town, Alex stops a bewitching girl sitting in the diner he works at. A strange friendship is born between the two. Alex is incredibly smart, but taking care of his alcoholic father consumes his time and money. So while Alex did have a scholarship to a great college, he couldn’t take it because of his father. As a reader, your heart breaks for Alex. From the moment I read his character, I felt he deserved so much better than what he had.

Overall, I loved this story. It hooked me in from the first page. That said, I did feel like the ending was somewhat anti-climactic. I’m unsure if I like that or not, simply because the ending is such a shock to begin with. I’m torn on if I feel like I wanted more from the ending or if I’m happy the way things were. Either way, this story will leave your jaw hanging open at the end because the end is more insane than anything your mind could ever conjure up on it’s own.