Twisted. Hannah Jayne. 2016. 320 pages. Sourcebooks Fire. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Life’s a bit challenging when you’re the daughter of an alleged serial killer. Bex Andrews, neé Beth Anne Reimer, knows this all to well. When she was 7, her father was dubbed the “the Wife Collector,” after a series of mysterious kidnappings and murders in North Carolina. Now 17, Bex has an opportunity to escape her traumatizing past, with a fresh start 200 miles away. She’s made new friends, has doting foster parents, and even has a caring boyfriend. The best part is that none of them know her troubled lineage. So why does it feel like she’s still in her father’s shadow? Twisted pulled me in from the start, so much so that I neglected all of my responsibilities to finish it.
My Sister’s Grave. Robert Dugoni. 2014. 401 pages. Thomas & Mercer Publishing. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.] Whew. My Sister’s Grave is an emotional and psychological roller coaster from start to finish. I picked this at random while scrolling through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited offerings, and selected this one purely because of its provocative title. I didn’t bother to read the description; I just jumped in. That’s much like the plot. You’re eased into who Tracy Crosswhite is, but beyond that, you’re thrust into emotional turmoil as she comes to grips with the fact that the remains of her younger sister — who’d gone missing 20 years prior — have just been recovered in a former lake bed near their sleepy little hometown. The rest of the plot follows Tracy’s dogged pursuit of the truth about what happened to Sarah so many years ago. Her focus on the procedural aspects of Edmund House’s conviction for Sarah’s murder opens a Pandora’s box of questions about what really happened and the choices the town made as a result. Cedar Grove was traumatized by Sarah’s disappearance, and the hunt for justice in the past threatens to undermine the precarious comfort they’ve found in the present.
The Hardest of Ways. Rashawnda Ungerer. 2015. 629 pages [Source: Advance copy provided courtesy of author.] What happens when you finally realize all the ways you’ve been stabbed in the back (sometimes literally) over the course of a lifetime? Do you get mad? Probably. Do you get even? Without a question. Such is the story of Cecelia Clark and her apparent guardian angel, Gordon Hale. These two cross paths accidentally, but a series of very unfortunate events thrust them back into each other’s respective paths, forcing them to learn more about one another, come to terms with their painful upbringings and rely on each other to eventually face their demons head-on. The Hardest of Ways is a the debut novel from author Rashawnda Ungerer, and to be simple, it’s a great start. Ungerer weaves an intricate story of new and old romances, not-so organized crime, and a ridiculous amount of killing, doing so in a way I didn’t expect, but found enticing all the same.