The USA TODAY bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series makes her suspense debut with this sexy, heartpounding story of a young woman determined to find justice after her best friend’s death, a story pulsing with the “intense, hot, emotional” (Colleen Hoover) writing that exhilarates her legions of fans.
A woman who almost had it all . . .
On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?
A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .
Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.
Until he became her ruin.
On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.
When K.A. Tucker announced she would be writing her first suspense novel, I was elated. For years, suspense was my go to genre and while I haven’t read it as much recently, it was nice to revisit one of my first reading obsessions. Ms. Tucker delivers an intense and exhilarating ride from the first page until the last. Whether you are new to thrillers or a seasoned veteran, this book is one all readers will relish in until the final chapters.
This man was once my salvation. Now he will be my ruin.
Often times when starting a new book, it can take several chapters to identify with the characters and become fully invested in the story. This was certainly not the case here. The first sentence is attention getting and after the Prologue, I was caught in this entangled web, hook, line, and sinker. When reading thrillers, it is important to never take information at face value and to suspect everyone. Tucker had me doubting myself constantly. I changed my mind at least three times about what happened and even suspected a sweet little old woman of being a cold blooded murder. I questioned everything and as a reader, that is the true testament to a true well-written suspense.
“It’s like I didn’t even know her.”
Maggie is the primary narrator, but there are sporadic flashbacks via Celine’s point of view. In the beginning, it is a little confusing, but they come together beautifully and allow the reader full access to the backstory. It is like Celine speaking from beyond the grave. There is a fascinating supporting cast, which includes two main suspects, but I suspected even more. My personal favorite was Ruby. She is endearing and her character adds the little bright spot the book often needs. I would be entranced with the events and then smiling at her cute antics. As someone with a criminal justice background, I am more critical than the average person. The crime aspect is realistic and well researched, and while it never can be 100% accurate, it is significantly close. It definitely earns my seal of approval for criminal justice technique.
HWBMR is multi-layered story and slowly reveals the truth; you definitely can’t skip ahead or peek at the ending without truly missing the whole story. I was enthralled throughout and hope Ms. Tucker has more suspense/thrillers in the future.
**Thank you to Atria books for my advanced copy of this book. **
These are Celine’s most private things. No one was ever supposed to find them.
With slightly shaky hands, I shift my focus to the bottom of the closet, where shoe boxes and storage containers are stacked in tidy piles. I toss them about, rooting through the contents, anxious over what I might find.
Until I come to a decorative box of dangly necklaces and bracelets, made from giant stones. An uneducated person might mistake them for costume jewelry, but I know that the diamonds are real. I can tell by their sparkle. Several receipts sit at the bottom of the box, indicating a pawnshop where it looks like Celine had already sold some pieces.
I crawl on my hands and knees to check under the bed. Nothing but a single dust bunny—the soul survivor of Celine’s excessive cleaning regime—hides there.
I toss the lamp onto the recently delivered and freshly made bed—the silk white shade bends but I don’t care—and pull apart the makeshift end table, yanking the long and narrow crates apart to hit the hardwood in a loud clatter.
Books spill out everywhere.
The crates are full of little books, ranging from pink journals with unicorns to leather-bound diaries with locks. No keys included.
I didn’t know Celine kept a diary. But of course she did. She liked keeping track of everything. It only makes sense that she would keep track of her life.
I gather every last one and spread them out across the bed. Hoping that somewhere in here I’ll find a reasonable answer…
Dreading the truth.
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Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.