Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier


Title: Jar of Hearts
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Published: August 2019, Minotaur Books
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Source: Personal copy

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? Find out in Jennifer Hillier's Jar of Hearts.

My thoughts: I read this book back when it first came out a few years back, but as it was selected for an online book club I participate in, I decided I wanted to reread it and I am so glad I did. I loved it the first time I read and I loved it even more this second time around.

This is absolutely a totally binge-worthy read, one that I found to be true the first time around, and that certainly held true again this time. Since I have read tons of books between then and now, there were little things I had forgotten, but the gist of the book all came back as soon as I started reading it. 

This book is perfectly paced - I remember thinking that the first time around and I definitely felt that again during this second time. The tension rises at just the right moments and I felt the obsession and terror come through. This book plays on every emotion and goes for full shock value but it all works. Nothing is done without purpose. It pulled me in from the very beginning and never once let up.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It definitely goes down as one of my favorite books of all time and one that I will probably read again at some point - it is just brilliantly crafted.

My original review can be found here.


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