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**

The Crooked Staircase (Jane Hawk: Book 3) by Dean Koontz

The Crooked Staircase (Jane Hawk, #3)

5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: May 8th, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, suspense

Series: Jane Hawk

The Silent Corner – Book 1 (review here)

The Whispering Room – Book 2 (review here)

The Crooked Staircase – Book 3

Where you can find The Crooked Staircase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead.” 

Jane Hawk knows she may be living on borrowed time. But as long as she’s breathing, she’ll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom–and free will–of millions. Battling the strange epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane’s husband, and is escalating across the country, has made the rogue FBI agent a wanted fugitive, relentlessly hunted not only by the government but by the secret cabal behind the plot. Deploying every resource their malign nexus of power and technology commands, Jane’s enemies are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Jane’s ruthless pursuers can’t stop her from drawing a bead on her prey: a cunning man with connections in high places, a twisted soul of unspeakable depths with an army of professional killers on call. Propelled by her righteous fury and implacable insistence on justice, Jane will make her way from southern California to the snow-swept slopes of Lake Tahoe to confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.

My review:

I have mentioned in other reviews how big of a Dean Koontz fan I am. So I am not going to bore you all with my gushing over his books. Let it be known that I love his books. The Crooked Staircase is no exception. I was on the edge of my seat while reading it. Very rarely does a book make me sit on the edge of my seat and keep me there the entire book.

The Crooked Staircase is the 3rd book in the Jane Hawk series. The plot is continuous from the other books in the series. Jane is tracking down the top member of the secret cabal that is orchestrating murder/suicides all over the country. She has tracked down the top two members of this cabal and she is determined to find out what started this. Meanwhile, Gavin and Jesse are still protecting Travis. But, the cabal has found out where he is hiding. It is a race to rehide Travis. With the cabal breathing down their necks, Gavin and Jesse hide in the last place that anyone would expect.

I like Jane. I thought she was pretty good at keeping two steps ahead of the cabal. She had what seemed like an endless supply of burner phones, identities, and cars that didn’t rely on GPS. I did liken her to Wonder Woman during the middle of the book. She didn’t quit. She also was like quicksilver. The cabal couldn’t catch her, even though she did have a few close calls.

Can something become even eviler? Because the cabal reached new heights of evilness in this book. I can’t even explain it because I am still reeling from some of the things that they did. I loved it. I also liked that the real figurehead, Anabel, was introduced. I am looking forward to seeing where her character is going and what she will do.

Travis, Gavin and Jesse’s storyline was as good as Jane’s. Gavin and Jesse were tough cookies. They were prepared for anything. I wasn’t ready for what happened in their storyline. I can’t get into it but I was pretty shocked by what happened.

The twins’ storyline confused me at first. While I was confused by the storyline, I was upset when it ended. Very upset because I thought the twins had a chance. But, there is also something in that storyline that made me go “Hmmm“. It was at that point where I understood why the author chose to include them in the book.

I did wonder where the characters from book 2 disappeared too. I thought that they would be mentioned. That drove me nuts. I hope that they are in the next book. Because I need closure.

The end of the book was great. Everything was left up in the air. The author left me wondering “What will happen now”

What I liked about The Crooked Staircase:

A) It is scary intense and action-filled

B) Well developed characters

C) Great plotlines

What I disliked about The Crooked Staircase:

A) The twins storyline. Didn’t get it at first

B) Booth’s revelations. I actually felt bad for him

C) The dropped storyline in the beginning.

I would give The Crooked Staircase a rating of Adult. There are graphic violence and language. I would not recommend anyone under the age of 21 reading this book.

There are trigger warnings in The Crooked Staircase. They are: talk of past child abuse, torture, and implication of rape. If you are triggered by those, I would recommend to not read the book.

I would recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a note about the triggers. This is a book that I will be rereading.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Random House – Ballantine, and Ballantine for allowing me to read and review The Crooked Staircase.

All opinions in this review of The Crooked Staircase are mine.

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

When a Stranger Comes by Karen S. Bell

When a Stranger Comes...: A gripping psychological thriller

3 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: September 13th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Suspense, Paranormal

Where you can find When a Stranger Comes: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A GRIPPING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FOR FANS OF KING AND KOONTZ! 

Would you be willing to make a deal with the devil to have your hopes and dreams come true? 

Witnessing a lightening bolt on a sunny day, author Alexa Wainwright doesn’t realize she’s been transported to an alternate universe. Here, she meets media mogul and publisher King Blakemore who offers her a lucrative book contract that will guarantee her comeback. 

This publisher seems odd. This book deal is too good. Suddenly, the contract’s been signed. Now what can she do? 

Desperate to get her life back, Alexa devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence but to no avail. Can Alexa find her way out of this nightmare? 

Buy this book if you’re a reader who loves a page-turning, heart-stopping, psychological thriller with some magical realism thrown in. 

My review:

I like a book that gets under my skin. So when I read the blurb for When a Stranger Comes…, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, When a Stranger Comes… didn’t get under my skin. If anything, I was left confused by the end of the book. I was also left dissatisfied that the book didn’t get under my skin. A psychological thriller should do that to you. It didn’t for me.

I thought the plotline for When a Stranger Comes… was great. A writer is transported to an alternate realm without her knowledge. There, she achieves the fame and fortune that she wants, but for a price. When she realizes that she made a deal with the Devil, it is almost too late. She needs to find a way to get out of this nightmare. The whole making a deal with the Devil plotline is overused but the author put a fresh spin on it. It wasn’t until the end of the book that the plot started to go all over the place. It was almost like the author had a timeline and rushed through the ending.

I didn’t like Alexa. She rubbed me the wrong way. She overreacted to everything. She made up excuses about why she didn’t keep people close. She treated her assistant horribly. There were scenes where I was eyerolling so hard that I thought my eyes were going to get stuck. She did change, somewhat, during the last part of the book. But that did nothing to change my perception of her.

As weird as this is going to sound, I thought the Devil was a well-written character. He didn’t attempt to hide who he was or what he was doing. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I liked him but he was an enjoyable character to read.

It was the last part of the book that went off track for me.  If the author introduced the alternate universe and angel storyline sooner that I wouldn’t have been as confused.

The end of the book was interesting. I liked that the author chose to do what she did with Alexa. It made for some thinking after I was done with the book.

What I liked about When a Stranger Comes…:

A) Good storyline

B) the Devil

C) the end of the book

What I disliked about When a Stranger Comes…:

A) Left feeling confused by the end of the book

B) Book didn’t get under my skin

C) Alexa

I would give When a Stranger Comes…an Adult rating. There is sex. It is not explicit but Alexa has a lot of it. There is violence. There is language.

There are no trigger warnings with When a Stranger Comes

I am on the fence if I would read this book again. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends. I am open to reading other books by the author.

I would like to thank the publishers for allowing me to read and review When a Stranger Comes…

All opinions stated in this review of When a Stranger Comes…are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Two Guns (Run, Rabbit Run: Book 2) by Jette Harris

Two Guns (Run Rabbit Run Book 2)

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: November 20th, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Run, Rabbit Run

Colossus – Book 1 (review here)

Two Guns – Book 2

Where you can find Two Guns: Amazon

Triggers: rape, assault, kidnapping, and stalking

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Days before their graduation, four students in a sleepy Atlanta suburb go missing, leaving behind nothing but two abandoned vehicles, an eerie 9-1-1 call, and an alarming amount of blood. Just like some disappearances from four years ago. And six years before that. And three years before that. 

Agent Richard Steyer of the FBI’s Violent Crimes division has retirement in his sights when he and his partner are called to Atlanta. His final case? Connect this recent mystery to the only case Steyer couldn’t solve: a serial killer known as the Phoenix. 

Meanwhile, Avery Rhodes—occasionally known as the Phoenix—is enjoying his visit to Atlanta…and his new playthings. When he hears his old adversaries are on the case, he decides to expand his sadistic playground to include them, the local law enforcement, and the victims’ families. 

As the Phoenix’s spree hurtles toward its deadly conclusion, it becomes a question of who will make it out of his game alive. 

A crime thriller as relentless as Karin Slaughter’s Triptych, featuring a show-stealing antagonist as memorable as Hannibal Lecter.

My review:

 

If you have followed my reviews or blog, then you know my feelings about 2nd books in a series. Especially when the first book blew me away. I tend to get disappointed and let down by book 2’s. Lately, though, I have read a lot of 2nd books that were as good or better than the first book. Two Guns is such a book. It was as good as the first book.

What I liked, and enjoyed, is that I got to see the police and FBI investigation of the kids’ disappearance. The author didn’t draw out the connection to Phoenix. Instead, she had the FBI agents make the connection pretty early. It was the investigation and the frantic search for kids’ that drew me in and kept my attention. The author did a great job of showing how the local police hated working with the FBI (or Feds as they are called). She showed how emotionally invested that the agents get into their cases. Mainly Steyer. Steyer had a history with Phoenix going back to the first killings in Detroit. Remington also did and his was more emotionally charged (if that makes sense).

What I also liked about the book was that Avery was so complicated. From Colossus, I knew he was depraved and sadistic. While he still was, there was a new depth to him. He loved, well loved as much as a psychopath could. He also felt a sense of kinship with Agent Steyer and Agent Remington. What scared me was that he talked to Monica’s younger sister and brothers. That talk, along with the flashback to the Detroit killings, chilled me to the bone.

I was a little perturbed that no one seemed to know that Avery was masquerading as a cop until almost the end of the book. It made me scratch my head because they were on top of everything except that. I thought that Steyer and Remington would have been more aware of who was on the local force. Seeing that Phoenix has it out for Remington. Steyer is on his list too but he wants Remington in the worse way.

It took me a while to realize who Thatch was. A long while because I couldn’t imagine Thatch as that person. I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

The end of Two Guns was fantastic. While some storylines were answered, others were not. I still have questions that I hope are answered in book 3.

What I liked about Two Guns:

A) Fast moving storyline

B) Realistic look at police/FBI investigations

C) Avery

What I disliked about Two Guns:

A) Thatch. Not that I disliked him. I pitied him more than anything

B) Avery masquerading as a cop and no one knows

C) Avery’s interactions with Monica’s brothers and sister

I would give Two Guns a rating of Adult. There is explicit violence. There is explicit sex. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings. They are: rape, assault, kidnapping, and stalking. If you are triggered by any of these, I would suggest not read the book.

I would recommend Two Guns to family and friends. I would include a warning about the explicit sex and violence and the triggers. This is a book that I would reread.

I would like to thank Jette Harris for allowing me to read and review Two Guns.

All opinions stated in this review of Two Guns are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris

Everything She Lost

4 Stars

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing LLC

Date of publication: January 2nd, 2018

Genre: Suspense, Women’s Fiction, Psychological Thriller

Where you can find Everything She Lost: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

After suffering a mental breakdown that nearly destroyed her marriage, Nina Taylor works hard to maintain her tenuous hold on sanity and be a good mother to her two young daughters. Despite her best efforts, she questions the possibility of a full recovery. 

Single mom Deja Johnson struggles to overcome her troubled past and raise her young son. But her friendship with Nina brings more complications. What Deja is hiding could not only destroy relationships, but endanger lives. 

One traumatic night threatens to shatter Nina’s mind. With Deja’s help, she strives to maintain her mental balance. But as events spiral out of control, the women must find out if Nina is losing her sanity or if someone is plotting against her. 

My review:

When I was approached by Alessandra Harris to review Everything She Lost, my interest was caught. I enjoy reading psychological thrillers. I like being put on edge about events that happen in the book. I like having my theories about what is happening to the main character being proven wrong. Everything She Lost had and I enjoyed it.

Everything She Lost’s main plotline was centered around Nina’s mental illness and her recovery. I have read other books where the main character has a mental illness but it has been glossed over. Or it was miraculously cured. Or forgotten about. Nina’s recovery was written about realistically. She was taking baby steps. For most of the book, it was one step forward, two steps back. Just like in real life and I loved it. It made the book feel more realistic to me. I did feel bad for her during that struggle. The only one that supported her was her father. Her husband was a jerk and her BFF was even a bigger jerk.

I thought Nina’s backstory was heartbreaking. I do wish that her brother’s illness had been addressed up front. That would have helped me with understanding what Nina was going through. Her devastation when he died led to her making some rash decisions. One which included her marriage to Rodney.

Speaking of Rodney, I couldn’t stand him. He was such an opportunist and a pig. He was going to divorce Nina when her breakdown occurred. Then he kicked her out of her house until the money ran out. They got back together but he treated her like a flipping child. To be having an affair with Deja was the final straw for me. I wanted to kick him where the sun doesn’t shine. He was a great father but that was the only thing I liked about him. So yeah, I didn’t like him.

My feelings for Deja were complex. She was a strong woman who had overcome some pretty awful things in her life to get to where she was now. She wasn’t afraid to use her body or her sexuality to get what she wanted or what her boss wanted. I liked her for that. But I didn’t like that she was being blackmailed by her ex to do something that she didn’t want to do. She also didn’t want to have a relationship with Rodney after getting to know Nina better. Even with everything that happened later in the book, she felt awful for doing it.

I loved the storyline about who was stalking Nina. I thought the author did a great job at keeping who it was and why they were doing it under wraps. I did figure out part of it about halfway through the book. But the other half of it, I was surprised by.

I wish that Damien had been introduced earlier on in the book. I also wish that he factored more at the end of the book. But, I got what I wanted in the epilogue…haha.

The end of the book was one that kept me on my toes. Everything was revealed and what happened after the revelations shocked me. I loved the epilogue. Talk about a perfect ending to the book!!

What I liked about Everything She Lost:

A) Strong female characters

B) Great plotlines

C) The correct usage of Nina’s mental illness

What I disliked about Everything She Lost:

A) Rodney. I couldn’t stand him

B) I wish her brother’s illness had been addressed earlier (why he committed suicide).

C) No Damien until almost the end of the book

I would give Everything She Lost an Adult rating. There is sex. Not graphic sex but it is vague enough to understand what is going on. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 21.

There are trigger warnings for Everything She Lost. They would be: Child sexual abuse, teenage prostitution, domestic violence, mental illness, suicide (talk of it nothing was described), bullying, and talk of alcoholism. If you are triggered by any of these, please do not read the book.

I would recommend Everything She Lost to family and friends. I would include a warning about the triggers and what they are. This is a book that I will reread.

I would like to thank Alessandra Harris and Red Adept Publishing for allowing me to read and review Everything She Lost.

All opinions stated in this review of Everything She Lost are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Do you like Psychological Thrillers? Why?

Do you feel that mental health in most books are swept under the rug?

Strong female characters that straddle the line between good and bad? What do you think about them?

Let me know!!

Befriended by Ruth O’Neill

Befriended

4 Stars

Publisher: Lulu.com

Date of publication: February 5th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find Befriended: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Some secrets never leave us alone. . . Gemma Peacock’s life was perfect – or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that’s the same for everyone, right? After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart. Indiana Manors’ life, on the other hand, is far from perfect – but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock – and destroy her.

My Review:

I wasn’t expecting to like Befriended as much as I did. When I read the blurb, I thought that it was going to be a chick lit novel. There were parts of the book that do have that vibe. But, this book was so much more. It was the so much more that surprised me. The more I read, the more I liked and the more I enjoyed the story.

I did feel bad for Gemma for about 90% of the book. Her husband’s death devastated her. But, it was the secrets that were revealed after his death that rocked her world. Which brought me to my first question. Why did she keep going back to Indiana? I know that Gemma wanted to help her but still. I agreed with Maria. Gemma should have told Indiana to leave her alone after what happened in Crete. I do think that Gemma needed to come to terms with what Ritchie did and Indiana was there to help.

There was a point in the book where I did think that Indiana and Gemma’s relationship was going to become a Single White Female type of relationship. I mean, Indiana was calling Gemma’s friends and driving them away. She even phoned Mick and told him that Gemma wanted nothing to do with him. Thankfully, Mick didn’t believe that BS.

My feelings for Indiana was all over the board in the book. I first felt disgust for her when she revealed why she became Gemma’s friend. That changed to feeling bad for her because of her mental illness. I will say this, she did try to get help. My feelings then morphed into pity when it was revealed why she had singled out Gemma and what was being kept from her. Then I actually started to like her at the end of the book. Like I said, they were all over the place.

I did not see the big twist that came towards the middlish (more towards the end) of the book. I also did not see who was behind everything. That came as a huge surprise. Put it this way, when it was revealed why and who set everything in motion, my mouth fell open and I whispered (I was in bed), “No freaking way“.

I did think that Mick’s romance with Gemma was cute. But it did seem to me that it was more of an afterthought. I didn’t see that Gemma had feelings for Mick until he came to London. I thought they were friends. Then, suddenly, she has feelings for him. It seemed like it came out of nowhere. Of course, I could have missed the cues to their romance with everything else that was going on in the book.

The end of the book was great. I loved that everything was ended the way it did. Each character got their version of a happy ending.

What I liked about Befriended:

A) Great storyline

B) Likable characters

C) Twist that I didn’t see coming

What I disliked about Befriended:

A) What Gemma was put through the first half of the book

B) Indiana’s antics in the first half of the book

C) Mick’s relationship with Gemma

I would give Befriended an Adult rating. While there is sex, it is not graphic. There is language. There is also mild violence. I suggest that no-one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in Befriended. They are mental illness, the death of a spouse and kidnapping. If you are triggered by any of these, I would suggest not reading the book.

I would recommend Befriended to family and friends. I would let them know about the triggers. This is a book that I would reread.

I would like to thank Ruth O’Neill and Lulu.com for allowing me to read and review Befriended.

All opinions stated in this review of Befriended are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Colossus (Run Rabbit Run: Book 1) by Jette Harris

COLOSSUS (Run Rabbit Run Book 1)

4 Stars

Publisher: 

Date of publication: November 19th, 2015

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Horror

Series: Run Rabbit Run

Colossus – Book 1

Two Guns – Book 2

Where you can find Colossus: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Lured away from safety by their own goodwill, four high-school seniors from the affluent suburbs of Atlanta are kidnapped, tortured, and forced to entertain the malicious appetites of an unpredictable predator. He calls himself Rhodes. They call him COLOSSUS—looming, omnipresent, and threatening to collapse into insanity.

Heather Stokes, clever, resourceful, and no stranger to tragedy, is willing to risk her life and sanity to protect her friends. They are focused on survival. But as the month hurtles the four toward their likely deaths, their worst nightmares become increasingly real—even for Rhodes: All of their efforts could be in vain, and it is likely none of them will survive.

COLOSSUS is an uncompromising, white-knuckled serial killer thriller, featuring unforgettable characters and an unsettling, nightmare-inducing antagonist. A must-read for fans of Karin Slaughter and Thomas Harris.

My Review:

I haven’t had a book that has affected me the way that Colossus affected me in a long while. I wanted to put the book down and stop reading it but at the same time, I had to finish reading the chapter. I needed to find out what happened to Heather and her friends. I wanted to know the mystery behind Rhodes. I do not like it when books end with no resolution to the storylines. But in this book, it fit. It also left the book wide open for book 2.

This book is brutal. Not going to lie and tell you all that this book has a couple of scenes that will make you wince. It doesn’t have a couple. The whole book from the time Heather is kidnapped to the end is scene after scene of brutality. I like to think that I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to books with graphic violence. But I reached my limit with Colossus. I praise the author for that. I was kept breathless from chapter to chapter. Rhodes was such a wild card that I couldn’t predict what he was going to do next.

What was interesting to me was how the author was able to make all 4 kids have different reactions to their situation. Witt thought that if he could get on Rhodes good side, and stay there than he wouldn’t be tortured. He was also very submissive. Monica, while submissive, became withdrawn and quiet. She would curl up into a ball to make herself smaller. Like she wanted to disappear. Z did try to fight Rhodes but he was always overpowered. He learned to do what Rhodes wanted without making a sound. Heather fought Rhodes tooth and nail. She got the worse of the beatings. But there was something about her that Rhodes liked and that was the only reason she was alive.

There were times in the book where I wanted to tell Heather to stop fighting Rhodes and do what he wanted. Especially when he told her that they all had a time limit hanging over their heads. If anything, that made her fight harder.

What also got under my skin was the rape scenes. They were pretty graphic. What affected me was that it wasn’t just the girls getting raped. The boys did too. Then Rhodes videod them raping each other. It did get pretty intense during that part of the book.

Rhodes was a complete mystery. There was more to him than being a psychopathic serial killer. There were hints about someone who he had in his life that wasn’t there. Hints about his childhood and the abuse he endured. Hints about Spain and a job that waited for him there. Just the barest of facts and I wanted more. So I was a little disappointed when the book ended and there was no mention of it. I am hoping that book 2 gets more into his background.

The end of Colossus was a not what I thought it was going to be. It played with my mind. I stayed up after I was done with the book and thought about the ending. It affected me that bad. Let’s say that what I thought was going to happen didn’t happen. There was a twist that made me go “W.T.H.“.

What I liked about Colossus:

A) Kept me on the edge of my seat

B) Fleshed out characters

C) Excellent storyline

What I disliked about Colossus:

A) The violence

B) The rape scenes

C) Rhodes being a complete mystery. Drove me nuts.

I would give Colossus an Adult rating. I would not let anyone under the age of 21 read this book. There is explicit violence. There are explicit rape scenes. There is explicit language.

This book definitely has trigger warnings. They would be: rape, kidnapping, and assault. If you are triggered by any of these, I would suggest that you not read the book.

I would recommend this book to family and friends. But I would make sure that they knew how intense and graphic the book can get. I would also let them know about the triggers. This is a book that I could see myself rereading.

I would like to thank Jette Harris for allowing me to read and review Colossus.

All opinions stated in this review of Colossus are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**