Title: Jar of Hearts
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Narrator: January LaVoy
Length: 11 hours (311 pages)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Minotaur Books
Release Date: June 11, 2018
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for fans of: crime thrillers, serial killers
Triggers: rape (multiple scenes), abusive relationship
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?
This was my first book by Jennifer Hillier, but it will not be my last. Jar of Hearts is an intense, twisted, and original crime thriller where past meets present and dark secrets are uncovered.
Geo’s past finally catches up to her when she is convicted of helping her ex-boyfriend (turned serial killer) Calvin murder and hide the body of her childhood best friend Angela. I thought the first section describing Geo’s life in prison was interesting but a little slow, but the story really picked up after her release. The introduction of Kaiser’s POV created an interesting juxtaposition between detective and criminal, past and present, as Kaiser investigates recent killings that point at Calvin and tries to reconcile the Geo he knew in his youth with the woman she is today.
The storyline is intense and does not shy away from difficult topics, reminding me of Karin Slaughter’s writing. This book includes three rape scenes and other graphic depictions of violence and abuse.
I did not see this ending coming. Every time I thought I had the story figured out, Hillier dropped a mind-blowing twist to totally change the direction of the book, leading up to an explosive conclusion. The ending was overall satisfying, and I highly recommend this thriller for those who can handle reading the intense and detailed subject-matter.