At Risk by S.G. Redling

At Risk by [Redling, S.G.]

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Date of publication: September 20th, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

Colleen McElroy grew up wealthy and pampered, the daughter of a prominent society family in Lexington, Kentucky. But her privileged upbringing could not prepare or protect her from her cruel and abusive first husband. Although her calamitous marriage left her with physical and emotional scars that have yet to heal, they haven’t prevented her from doing her best to rebuild her life.

Charismatic Patrick McElroy has scars of his own from his traumatic childhood in the foster care system, but with his business partner, John, he has built a celebrated, state-of-the-art home for at-risk youths. When one goes missing, Colleen is plunged into a nightmare of uncertainty about the girl’s disappearance. Is she paranoid, seeing disasters where there is just bad luck, or does an unspeakable evil lurk behind the new life she’s made for herself? No longer sure of whom she can trust, Colleen will have to rely on herself to discover the truth.

My review:

This book was fantastic!! Mysteries are usually not my cup of tea; I can generally figure out who the murder was by the middle of the book and then get bored reading. But not this book. The bad guys, for the most part, are clearly stated from the get-go. One emerges at in the middle of the book, and the last couple of bad guys appear at the end of the book.

It is the build-up that got me going. The book starts slow and slowly picks up steam as you get deeper and deeper into the book. By the end, its full throttle to the climax of the book. I very rarely read a book that can keep that momentum going. So bravo to the author!!!

The beginning of the story was great. It starts with Patrick, Colleen, Bix, and John at a fundraiser for Patrick and John’s project, a state of the art home for at-risk youth (yes, I stole from the blurb…lol) and you quickly get a sense of the strange dynamics among the foursome. Colleen is newly married to Patrick and considers herself an outsider to the trio. Patrick and John met when they were children at a group home, and then they met Bix when they were teenagers in another group home.

Colleen notices that something is off with Patrick and he being secretive, and he keeps telling her that he doesn’t want her involved with what he was doing. Hrrrmmm….big red flag there. One day, Bix approaches Colleen with a phone that she cloned from John (she suspects he is cheating on her) and someone texts a list of names. Colleen agrees to play detective and stumbles into something that goes beyond a cheating husband.

As for the characters, I did like Colleen the most. She started as a timid mouse of a woman, still getting over her ex-husband’s abusive ways (and man, he was a monster). By the end of the book, she blossomed into this woman who wasn’t going to take crap from anyone.

I didn’t understand her friendship with Bix. It was a love/hate relationship between them, with the hate being on Bix’s part. I will tell you this, if someone ever talked to me the way Bix talked to Colleen, I would have laid them out flat. She was an abrasive, unlikable character.

I didn’t like John either. He came across as very slimy, very secretive and is always drunk. He rubbed me the wrong way from the first time I saw him  in the book.

Patrick was OK. He seemed to be easily influenced/pushed around by Bix and John. He keeps dismissing their behavior and the way Bix treats Colleen as leftover mannerisms from when they were in foster care.

The ending was explosive. and it showcased how strong Colleen was. It also showed that you never truly know a person, no matter how close you are to them.

How many stars will I give At Risk? 5

Why? This is a true mystery that keeps you guessing until the end of the book.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range? Adult

Why? No sex but there is mention of a forced sexual situation. Also a ton of violence and language.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

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