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Jar of Hearts    by Jennifer Hillier order for
Jar of Hearts
by Jennifer Hillier
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's an unusual psychological mystery, Jennifer Hillier's Jar of Hearts, that explores a teen girl's devolution after she enters an abusive relationship with a charismatic young man who totally dominates her life - and destroys her future.

At age sixteen, popular Angela Wong disappeared after a party. Her best friend, Georgina Shaw, claimed not to have seen her after they parted that evening. Their other close friend, Kaiser Brody, always wondered what happened, and grew up to become a cop. Georgina became a successful executive at a Seattle pharmaceutical company, and was engaged to the CEO. But her earlier life overshadowed everything that followed ... and finally caught up with her.

As the mystery opens, Geo is in a courtroom, fourteen years after Angela's disappearance, talking about her involvement in her best friend's murder. The killer was her boyfriend at the time, Calvin James, aka The Sweetbay Strangler. She goes to jail for five years. And, though he was the one to arrest her, Kai is still her friend, knowing that 'Calvin really did a number' on her. But Georgina is still keeping secrets from him.

Jail is very tough, but Geo survives with help from another inmate - that help comes at a price. And while, Geo is there, a serial killer strikes again and again, targeting women who were close to Calvin. Kai investigates, while readers get flashbacks into what actually happened between Calvin, Angela and Georgina. Suspense builds to a riveting conclusion, with some redemption for this very unusual anti-heroine.

Though I had trouble liking the lead for most of this story of obsession, it is masterfully written, and not at all like the usual mystery fare - well worth reading.

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