Published by Minotaur Books on June 12, 2018
Purchase From: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or The Book Depository
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?
Hooo, boy! This one was a page-turner! Jennifer Hillier delivers a well-written and gripping story with characters that are compelling and unlikable, but largely unforgettable in a story with twists that are both timely and seriously disturbing.
In every story, there’s a hero and a villain. Sometimes one person can be both
We start in the midst of a murder trial. Georgina (Geo) Shaw is testifying against Calvin James, her ex-boyfriend turned serial killer and the man who raped and murdered her best friend, Angela when she was 16. Geo has taken a plea deal in return for her testimony. What we’re not sure of is why. What involvement did Geo have? And why did she keep it a secret for 14 years?
In the middle is Kaiser Brody, Angela and Geo’s high school friend, now a homicide detective. When Calvin escapes from prison, Kai is convinced Geo knows more than she’s letting on. And when bodies start turning up around Geo’s family home (and where Angela was buried), he is even more determined to find Calvin, all while walking a fine line between his long-time feelings for her and his anger over what she has done.
Told in two points of view from both Geo and Kaiser, Jar of Hearts absolutely keeps you guessing. It’s hard to surprise a long-time mystery/thriller reader, but Ms. Hillier manages to misdirect and shock with skill, coupling her flashbacks with current events easily. It’s not a pseudo-thriller by any stretch of the imagination.
Jar of Hearts is definitely darker than your average offering and readers should be warned there are themes that may be triggering for some (including domestic violence and rape), but it’s easily one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.