Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier– Review

36315374Summary: 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?


Review: 4 stars

“In every story, there’s a hero and villain. Sometimes one person can be both.”

This was an incredible read. I have seen a lot of great reviews for it lately and I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve read a lot of murder mysteries, but never anything quite like this. It is written in third person and the point of view alternates between Kaiser, a homicide detective, and Georgina, who is an accomplice to a murder. Geo’s perspective is an uncommon one and it is done incredibly well.

The plot and pacing had me carry through this novel. There was a twist but I didn’t see coming at all, but it is really Geo’s perspective that makes the story stand out in the genre. Being able to relate to a character who did something so horrific isn’t easy, but the character development was done so well that this wasn’t a challenge. Even though Geo made a horrible mistake, there was so much humanity to her character that I felt bad for her.

“So who are you, then?” His tone is gentle. “An unemployed ex- con who has no idea what the fuck to do with the rest of her life.” It’s the most honest answer Geo can give. “And I’m learning that it doesn’t matter how sorry I am— and I am so fucking sorry— or how much time I spend in prison, or how many college degrees I have, or how much money I made . . . I will always be judged on the one, terrible, horrific thing I did when I was sixteen.”

This novel held my attention in a way that I don’t often find, even with books that I absolutely love. I didn’t want to set it down for a second, and when I was almost done I found myself sad that it was almost over. I completely understand why this has been getting such great ratings. This was my first read by Jennifer Hillier, but if her novels are anywhere near as good as this was, I want to read them.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Minotaur Books for my honest review.


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