ARC · book review · NetGalley · St. Martin's Press

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: June 12th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find Jar of Hearts: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

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?

My Review:

I like a good mystery. I also like a good suspense. I have found it hard to find a book that can keep the suspense up while unraveling a mystery. So, I have become very picky about what I read. When the publisher approached me to review Jar of Hearts, the blurb caught my attention. I was very interested in a mystery about what happened after the murder and trial. I thought that it made for an interesting storyline. So I accepted. I am glad I did. Not only did this book keep the suspense high but the mystery was fantastic.

When I started reading Jar of Hearts, I had no pity for Geo. She showed little to no remorse for her part in Angela’s death. She was more worried about what was going to happen to her in prison and that made me not like her. But, as the book went on, her remorse and sadness started to show. I started to pity her when it was revealed what happened that night. The trauma she endured that night shaped her into the woman that she was 14 years later.

I liked how the author kept what happened the night Angela died under wraps until almost the end of the book. I wasn’t surprised at what happened. I was surprised at Geo’s role in it when it was revealed. What happened afterward took me by surprise also.

Geo’s relationship with Calvin was complicated. He was her first love but she also hated and feared him. He wanted to own Geo completely and wasn’t afraid to use physical violence or mind games to get her to stay with him. I had no issue seeing him turning into a serial killer. His transformation started the night that Angela was killed.

I thought that second storyline of the other serial killer was pretty good. I thought I had it figured out until Geo last flashback. Looking back, there were hints but I didn’t see them. I was surprised at who it was and who that person was to Geo. I was also surprised at who came to Geo’s rescue.

The storyline with Kaiser didn’t make sense to me at first. I didn’t need to know that he was sleeping with his partner. That was unneeded information. But his relationship with Geo and Angela was. I do think that his relationship with Geo after jail was complicated. I was not expecting what happened to them to happen. Now that came out of left field.

I know that the book stressed that Geo and Angela were besties and had been besties for years. But I didn’t see that. I saw a spoiled girl used to getting her own way ruling her friends. The whole cheerleader practice fiasco was what made me feel that.

The end of Jar of Hearts was one shock after another. All I can say about it is “Wow“. The epilogue got me too. I guess some people deserve their happily ever after. I wasn’t expecting who Geo was experiencing hers with.

What I liked about Jar of Hearts:

A) The suspense was kept high throughout the book

B) Everything was kept under wraps until the end of the book.

C) Interesting storyline

What I didn’t like about Jar of Hearts:

A) Geo showing little to no remorse in the first half of the book

B) Kaiser’s storyline. Didn’t need the sexcapades with his partner. Him doing the police work was fine.

C) Geo and Angela’s friendship. Screamed friendemies to me. Also Geo and Calvin’s relationship. Super creepy

I would give Jar of Hearts an Adult rating. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book. There is explicit violence. There is language. There is sex with a few rape scenes thrown in (F/F, M/F). There is also a brutal scene of a body being dismembered.

There are trigger warnings with Jar of Hearts. They would be: rape, attempted rape, domestic violence, and assault.

I would recommend Jar of Hearts to family and friends. I would give a heads up about the triggers. This is a book that I can see myself rereading.

I would like to thank Minotaur Books, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Jar of Hearts.

All opinions stated in this review of Jar of Hearts are mine.

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

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