Category Archives: Atria Books

Review: The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti

Title: The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

A “dark, twisty, edge-of-your-seat suspense” (Karen Robards), The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.

Review:

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti is a suspense-laden psychological mystery.

Beautiful socialite Zoe Whittaker leads an enviable life with her wealthy husband, Henry.  Her gorgeous husband lavishes her with extravagant gifts, pampers her with lavish vacations and refuses to allow her to lift a finger around their beautiful apartment. However, her storybook life begins to fall apart after someone from her distant past recognizes her at a charity event she organized. Zoe has been keeping a dark secret about the events that led to her precipitous move and name change several years earlier and she is deathly afraid of anyone learning the truth about her. 

Feeling a bit unmoored as memories begin to haunt her, Zoe decides to renew her search for her biological mother. At the same time, she meets with local reporter Cash Murray to dissuade him from using any pictures of her in his accompanying article for his feature on her charity event. A little preoccupied by thoughts of her past, Zoe is stunned when Henry throws harsh accusations her way and his attention begins to feel more controlling than loving. Following a couple of unsettling incidents, Zoe is certain her past is catching up with her but is the truth more frightening than she can possibly imagine?

Little by little, Zoe has given up bits and pieces of her identity since meeting Henry.  Transformed from the purple-haired, multiple pierced apprentice floral designer into a sleek, polished millionaire’s wife, she is content to let Henry make all the decisions in their marriage.  Filling her days with charity work and shopping, she is a little bored, but overall she is satisfied with their life.  However, with no living relatives (excerpt Henry), Zoe cannot help but feel the need to renew her search for her biological mother.  Dismayed but undeterred by Henry’s vehement objections, she takes Cash up on his offer to help with her search.

Having never witnessed anything but loving attention from Henry, Zoe is astonished by his sudden and inexplicable mood swings.  Her once charming and adoring husband is sometimes frightening as he places unreasonable demands on who she can see and what she can do.  Even more disconcerting are his unfounded and abrupt allegations that her relationship with Cash might go beyond friendship.  Suddenly unsure of how Henry’s reactions, Zoe carefully guards what she tells him as she renews old friendships and continues looking for information about her ongoing search for her mother.

With a series of puzzling incidents, a scandalous past and a marriage that is perhaps a little too good be true, The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti is a riveting mystery that is full of spectacular twists, turns and astonishing revelations.  Although initially a bit slow-paced, the novel quickly gathers steam as it hurtles to a stunning conclusion.  All in all, an outstanding mystery that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under Atria Books, Contemporary, Kate Moretti, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, The Vanishing Year

Review: Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino

Title: Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

From USA TODAY bestselling author Renée Carlino (Before We Were Strangers), a warm and witty novel about a struggling writer who must come to grips with her past, present, and future after she discovers that she’s the inspiration for a pseudonymously published bestselling novel.

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

Review:

Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino is a novel within a novel that alternates between past and present. Emiline (Emi) and Jason “Jase” Colbertson helped one another survive their dysfunctional childhoods only to lose touch after Emi moves out of state. Reunited as adults, they still remain separated by Emi’s anger and unresolved issues but will the ending of a bestselling novel bring them together?

Despite her loving relationship with her aunt and her partner and some much needed therapy, Emi is still struggling with the baggage from her abusive childhood.  Her long term relationship with Trevor does not seem to moving forward and her career is somewhat stalled as well.  Emi is rather closed off and she refuses to discuss her past with anyone, including Trevor.  When her roommate convinces her to read the bestselling debut novel by the mysterious “J. Colby”, Emi is stunned then angered to discover the book is based on her childhood so she immediately knows her old friend Jase is the author.  While the story is mostly factual, Emi is incensed that he wrote the book from her perspective. Even worse, Jase changed some very important details of a pivotal event from their childhood.  Tracking down him is surprisingly simple, but will Emi’s confrontation with Jase finally give her the opportunity to heal the wounds from her past?

Emi is so prickly and combative that she is very difficult to like.  She runs from problems instead of facing them and she is fairly hot tempered.  She is not very honest about her past so a lot of her troubles are of her own making.  Emi’s childhood was truly horrific but since she has not properly dealt with it, those long ago events continue to define her and control her actions although she is now in her late twenties.

First impressions of Jase as an adult are not exactly favorable.  He comes across as cocky and arrogant rather than self-assured and empathetic.  This grown up version of Jase is rather disappointing since he was so caring, kind and compassionate while he and Emi were growing up.  His obnoxious behavior at their first meeting as adults certainly does not help his image.  Jase had ample opportunity to reach out to Emi over the years so it is a little perplexing why he chose to write a book about their experiences instead meeting her in person.

The storytelling in Swear on this Life is rather unique since Emi and Jase’s childhood is revealed through the chapters of Jase’s book.  While this insight is invaluable, too much of the novel concentrates on the events of the past.  Emi and Jase’s interactions as adults are quite limited and somewhat acrimonious.  Jase’s novel serves as a catalyst for Emi to work through the residual issues from her childhood which does help her resolve her present day problems with Trevor and her career.  She is also slow to finish reading Jase’s novel which makes it difficult to believe Emi’s abrupt attitude change toward Jase and ultimately, the final resolution to their storyline.

The concept for Swear on this Life is interesting but overall, the execution is little dissatisfying.  While their childhood experiences are certainly heartbreaking, Emi and Jase are little immature and not very easy to like.  Although Emi’s roommate and aunts are much more appealing, Trevor is a bit of a stereotype and he does not treat Emi very well.  Renee Carlino does not hesitate to tackle difficult subject matter in her novels and although this latest release is a bit of a disappointment, it is a fast-paced read with a satisfying ending.

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Filed under Atria Books, Contemporary, New Adult, Rated C+, Renee Carlino, Review, Romance, Swear on this Life

Review: The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine

Title: The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary/Historical, Mystery
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Kate Morton meets Daphne du Maurier in this atmospheric debut novel about a woman who discovers the century-old remains of a murder victim on her family’s Scottish estate, plunging her into an investigation of its mysterious former occupants.

Following the death of her last living relative, Hetty Deveraux leaves London and her strained relationship behind for Muirlan, her ancestral home in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. She intends to renovate the ruinous house into a hotel, but the shocking discovery of human remains brings her ambitious restoration plans to an abrupt halt before they even begin. Few physical clues are left to identify the body, but one thing is certain: this person did not die a natural death.

Hungry for answers, Hetty discovers that Muirlan was once the refuge of her distant relative Theo Blake, the acclaimed painter and naturalist who brought his new bride, Beatrice, there in 1910. Yet ancient gossip and a handful of leads reveal that their marriage was far from perfect; Beatrice eventually vanished from the island, never to return, and Theo withdrew from society, his paintings becoming increasingly dark and disturbing.

What happened between them has remained a mystery, but as Hetty listens to the locals and studies the masterful paintings produced by Theo during his short-lived marriage, she uncovers secrets that still reverberate through the small island community—and will lead her to the identity of the long-hidden body.

Review:

The House Between Tides is a riveting mystery with a dual timeline.Events in the present are directly linked to those in the past and Sarah Maine seamlessly weaves the two story arcs into a very intriguing novel that is quite gripping.

In the present, Hetty Deveraux is finally ready to make a decision about what to do with the ancestral home she inherited from her grandmother. Her boyfriend, Giles, is pushing her to renovate the dilapidated mansion and open a posh hotel, and while the idea has merit, she is still mulling over her options. Upon her arrival, she is stunned to discover the home is literally falling down and possibly beyond repair. Even more shocking, human bones have recently been discovered and it is quickly determined that foul play is the cause of death. Hetty’s curiosity is immediately piqued and she begins looking into her family’s history in order identify the remains and hopefully unmask the killer.

Hetty has endured several losses in a short span and she has been content to hand over the reins to Giles as she tries to come to terms with her grief. Unbeknownst to Hetty, he has set things in motion to move forward with turning her ancestral home into a lavish hotel. Dismayed by this discovery, she is enchanted by the desolate yet beautiful island and she is enthralled by the family mansion.Hoping the reports that it would literally cost millions to renovate the house are wrong, Hetty is becoming more and more certain she wants to preserve her inheritance instead of turning it into a hotel. Unfortunately, she cannot seem to stand up to Giles and the overly pushy developers whom he hired for the project. While Hetty is a likable and sympathetic protagonist, she is frustratingly passive and unable to stand up for herself for almost the entire novel.

In 1910, Hetty’s distant relative and renowned artist Theo Blake relocates to his home on Muirlan Island along with his bride Beatrice. With very few modern comforts, Beatrice is soon entranced with the stark beauty of the island but she is soon dismayed her husband’s increasingly fractious relationship with Cameron Forbes, the son of his factor. Beatrice is also frustrated as Theo begins to spend more and more time holed up in his study and less and less time with her. With his mood darkening with each passing day, their fragile marriage begins to crumble and Theo eventually turns into a recluse with the reputation of being a little mad.

Of the two story arcs, Beatrice and Theo’s is the most compelling. Beatrice’s marriage to the twenty years older artist is typical of the time period, but she is definitely not a shrinking violet who passively lets life happen around her. She comes into her own after their arrival on Muirlan Island and while at first she defers to Theo, she quickly begins to form her own opinions about her husband’s treatment of the locals and his unpalatable hobby of killing rare birds for his collection. Beatrice is quite observant as she witnesses Theo’s puzzling reaction to Cameron and she draws her own conclusion about the reasons for the growing discord between them. Her attempts to keep the peace are soon marred by her growing dissatisfaction with her marriage, Theo’s stubborn refusal to take better care of his tenants and the increasingly volatile arguments between Theo and Cameron.

The House Between Tides is a wonderfully atmospheric novel that is fast-paced and impossible to put down.   The characters are richly drawn with realistic strengths and weaknesses. The mystery surrounding the newly discovered bones is fascinating and as the story progresses, the victim list is essentially narrowed down to two people. Sarah Maine does a wonderful job keeping readers guessing right up until the big reveal who was murdered and why. Although the final resolution of the various story arcs is a little convoluted, readers will be satisfied with the novel’s conclusion. All in all, an absolutely wonderful debut that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under Atria Books, Contemporary, Historical, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Sarah Maine, The House Between Tides

Review: The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

Title: The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?

On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense. Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes will be captivated by The Girls in the Garden, the next unforgettable novel by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell.

Review:

With an eclectic cast of characters, a unique setting and an unusual storyline, The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell is a spellbinding mystery.

On her own for the first time since she married, Clare Wild, along with her daughters, thirteen year old Grace and twelve year old Pip, move into an apartment that shares a sprawling communal outdoor space with their neighbors.  While Grace makes fast friends with the rest of the teenagers in the park, Pip remains a little leery of her sister’s friends. In the meantime, Clare is dealing with a plethora of concerns about their new circumstances but she forms a tentative friendship with Adele and Leo Howes. The couple are the parents of her daughters’ new friends, Catkin, Fern and Willow, and while Clare does not spend a great of time with the family, she does agree to join them for the annual midsummer party. She quickly comes to regret this decision after Pip discovers Grace’s unconscious body later that evening. Clare cannot fathom who would want to hurt her daughter or why, but as young Pip has already discovered, there are plenty of dark secrets lurking within the close-knit community.

As Clare tries to come to terms with her new life, Pip and Grace are often left to their own devices.  Although she is more safety conscious than her neighbors, the girls are often unsupervised for hours as they roam around the massive park that abuts their apartment. Even though she does not know Adele very well, she has no concern over the amount of time her daughters are spending with her family. Preoccupied with her own troubles, Clare is not aware of what Grace is up to when she is out from underneath her watchful eye and she allows her misbehavior to slide without comment.

Adele is an earth mother who homeschools her daughters and does not expect them conform to society’s expectations.  She does not believe in traditional medicine and relies on homeopathic remedies to treat their illnesses.  Adele is friendly with her neighbors and most of the community children freely walk in and out of her home at will.  She is comfortable in the neighborhood and never feels a minute of worry about her daughters’ safety while they are out and about in the sprawling acreage.  Adele’s marriage is quite happy although she is not exactly a fan of Leo’s father who is staying with them while recovering from surgery.

Pip is an pretty amazing young girl who is quite mature and wise beyond her years.  She desperately misses her father but she understands why they cannot be together. Her sadness over their separation is slightly alleviated by her fascination with her new neighbors and her delight with the new apartment. Initially excited to be accepted into the tight circle of neighborhood friends, Pip quickly becomes uncomfortable in their company and she begins avoiding them.  Once extremely close to Grace, the sisters soon drift apart after Grace forms a tight friendship with one of the neighborhood boys, Dylan.  Pip becomes increasingly concerned about Grace when she starts staying out late and keeping secrets from both her and their mother.

The idyllic community is shattered by Grace’s attack and since they trust their neighbors implicitly, no one can figure out who would want to harm the young girl. While this is not the first time their peaceful life has been touched by tragedy, the earlier death is viewed as a tragic accident. However, Pip is quite intuitive and she has picked up on some troubling discord amongst Grace’s friends. Fern, Willow and Catkin are rather offbeat and extremely loyal to their lifelong friends but what reason would they have to  hurt Grace?  Grace’s boyfriend Dylan is well-liked by his peers and their parents but the same cannot be said for his childhood friend Tyler, a somewhat troubled young girl whose absentee mother also grew up in neighborhood.  Evidence collected  after Grace’s attack raises some very disturbing concerns and although everyone cooperates with the investigation, the police do not uncover any viable leads.  Pip has a theory about what happened to Grace but will she find any information to support her suspicions?

Part mystery and part character study, The Girls in the Garden is a riveting novel that exposes the darker side of interconnected, longstanding friendships. Lisa Jewell’s descriptive prose brings the bucolic surroundings vibrantly to life and it is very easy to visualize the serene setting.  The characters are multi-faceted and eerily life-like with relatable flaws and imperfections.  The mystery surrounding Grace’s assault is quite suspenseful and it is virtually impossible to guess the perpetrator’s identity or motive for the attack until the novel’s dramatic conclusion. A incredibly fascinating mystery that I highly recommend to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Atria Books, Contemporary, Lisa Jewell, Mystery, Rated B, Review, The Girls in the Garden

Review: The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy

Title: The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Moment and Five Days comes “the best book about Morocco since The Sheltering Sky. Completely absorbing and atmospheric” (Philip Kerr).

Robin knew Paul wasn’t perfect. But he said they were so lucky to have found each other, and she believed it was true.

She is a meticulous accountant, almost forty. He is an artist and university professor, twenty years older. When Paul suggests a month in Morocco, where he once lived and worked, a place where the modern meets the medieval, Robin reluctantly agrees.

Once immersed into the swirling, white hot exotica of a walled city on the North African Atlantic coast, Robin finds herself acclimatizing to its wonderful strangeness. Paul is everything she wants him to be—passionate, talented, knowledgeable. She is convinced that it is here she will finally become pregnant.

But then Paul suddenly disappears, and Robin finds herself the prime suspect in the police inquiry. As her understanding of the truth starts to unravel, Robin lurches from the crumbling art deco of Casablanca to the daunting Sahara, caught in an increasingly terrifying spiral from which there is no easy escape.

With his acclaimed ability to write thought-provoking page-turners, Douglas Kennedy takes readers into a world where only Patricia Highsmith has ever dared. The Blue Hour is a roller-coaster journey into a heart of darkness that asks the question: What would you do if your life depended on it?

Review:

The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy is an intriguing mystery about a woman’s search for her husband after he goes missing during their trip to Morocco. Considered a suspect in husband Paul Leuen’s disappearance, Robin Danvers makes one bad decision after another when she discovers Paul’s numerous lies.

After her first marriage ended in divorce years earlier, Robin changed careers and she is now an accountant with a thriving business. Three years earlier, she married Paul after he came to her for advice for his messy finances. By all appearances they are quite happy but Robin is growing weary of cleaning up Paul’s financial messes. The only other disappointment in her life is her inability to conceive but she remains hopeful she will soon become pregnant. When Paul surprises her with a month long trip to Morocco, Robin is a little leery but she quickly becomes excited about their upcoming vacations. Despite a few minor setbacks upon arrival, their stay in Morocco is idyllic for the first few weeks, but things rapidly go downhill when Robin discovers the first of Paul’s many lies and secrets. After he goes missing from their hotel room, the police are convinced Robin is responsible for his disappearance and she decides to search for him on her own.

While Robin is logical, open and quite responsible, Paul is impulsive, secretive and prone to overspending. Robin was well aware of Paul’s faults before she married him and while she did not realize it at the time, she was hopeful he would change after they wed. Despite her frustration with him, their marriage is happy and quite passionate. With an eighteen year age gap between them, Robin knows there are women in Paul’s past but he does not talk about his previous relationships. Although this lack of transparency is little troubling, she ignores this somewhat secretive behavior but Robin soon regrets this decision.

Enraged, hurt and disappointed by a shocking discovery in Morocco, Robin leaves Paul an angry note that quickly comes back to haunt her in the wake of his disappearance. With the police unwilling to believe her, she begins tracing Paul’s footsteps after she uncovers disturbing information about his past in his diary. Stunned by the breadth of secrets he has been keeping from her, Robin is not exactly in the best frame of mind as she begins making impulsive and somewhat irrational decisions during her search. Definitely out of her element and not thinking clearly, Robin puts herself in an extremely dangerous situation that jeopardizes her life.

The Blue Hour is a well-written novel with an interesting and unique storyline. The setting is quite exotic and Douglas Kennedy brings Morocco vibrantly to life. While engaging, the novel becomes bogged down by superfluous details and long passages of introspection by Robin.  The conclusion is mostly satisfying but a few threads are left dangling (although it is fairly easy to speculate what most likely happened). All in all, an entertaining read.

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Filed under Atria Books, Contemporary, Douglas Kennedy, Mystery, Rated C+, Review, Suspense, The Blue Hour

Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

he will beTitle: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

The USA TODAY bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series makes her suspense debut with this sexy, heartpounding story of a young woman determined to find justice after her best friend’s death, a story pulsing with the “intense, hot, emotional” (Colleen Hoover) writing that exhilarates her legions of fans.

A woman who almost had it all . . .

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

Review:

With a labyrinthine plot and plenty of dark secrets, He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker is spellbinding mystery that keeps readers guessing what exactly happened to Maggie Sparkes’ best friend Celine Gaonzalez.

Best friends since childhood, Maggie and Celine come from completely different backgrounds and live very different lives. Wealthy heiress Maggie puts her trust fund to good use funding the philanthropic organization she founded. Not content to just write checks and raise money, Maggie also invests plenty of sweat equity in the foundation as she works side by side the other volunteers in some of the world’s poorest and most remote regions.  Celine, on the other hand, is from humble beginnings and she is barely scraping by as she saves money to complete her degree in hopes of landing a job with a prestigious auction house. Maggie is stunned to learn of Celine’s shocking death and she cannot accept that her friend committed suicide. While packing up Celine’s apartment, she discovers stunning secrets that convince her there is more to Celine’s death than meets the eye. Maggie hires a private investigator to help uncover the truth but she puts herself in danger when she continues investigating on her own.

Maggie is quite idealistic but with her wealthy background, she is rather insulated from the realities of normal life. Tenacious, determined and strong willed, she refuses to give up on finding out the truth about what happened to Celine. Maggie’s quest leads to her to make some questionable decisions but it is difficult to find fault with her refusal to give up on getting answers about Celine’s death.

Growing up with a single mom who struggled financially, Celine wants a better life for herself. With an astute eye for antiques, she scours estate and garages sales for hidden treasures and her collection of valuable pieces is quite extensive. Too proud to accept Maggie’s offers of financial assistance, Celine supplements her meager pay in a somewhat unorthodox manner. Finally on the verge of moving forward with her plans when a major setback occurs, Celine ends up on a crash course with disaster.

The secondary cast of characters is eclectic and entertaining. Celine’s octogenarian neighbor Ruby Cummings is endearing and her astute observations are invaluable. Laidback building super Grady is quite charming and Maggie finds him too sexy to resist. Several clues point Maggie to wealthy, successful hedge fund financier Jace Everett but he does not seem to have a motive to harm Celine. Private investigator Doug Murphy is relentless in his pursuit of answers and his trusty computer expert Zac is rather colorful yet likable.

He Will Be My Ruin is a twisty, turny suspense laden mystery that is quite riveting. Intricately plotted with clever misdirects and well-placed red herrings, K.A. Tucker brilliantly obscures the perpetrator’s identity until virtually the end of the novel. Although a few loose ends are left dangling, this mesmerizing whodunit is a satisfying, smart read that is sure to be a hit with fans of the genre.

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Filed under Atria Books, Contemporary, He Will Be My Ruin, KA Tucker, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense