My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
I had seen Jar of Hearts on many favorites lists for 2018 and seen its distinctive cover on multiple occasions in bookstores. So, when the audiobook became available at my library, I finally fell victim to its appeal and checked it out. Wow, I’m glad I did.
Georgina Shaw was an executive at a cosmetics company. She was fiancé to the son of the founder. Life was wonderful, until suddenly, it wasn’t. Shaw was arrested for the fourteen-year-old murder of a high school friend, Angela Wong, and her world came crashing down around her. Shaw wasn’t blameless in the murder and managed to make a plea deal that landed her in jail for five years.
The man Georgina (Geo, to her friends) testified against, Calvin James, was sent to prison for life. He had been her boyfriend when the murder took place. James had gone on to murder three additional women before he was caught. Once imprisoned, though, he didn’t stay there long, managing to escape and leaving a trail of bodies behind him.
Geo makes a valuable alliance in prison and leverages her education and wiles to make prison life, if not comfortable, more tolerable for the duration of her stay. She is released from prison, only to find out that a new pair of murders points to her old boyfriend, Calvin. The detective leading the investigation, Kaiser Brody, is the same one who arrested Geo and had a crush on her during their high school days. Geo finds that more of her past will come back to haunt her before the case is settled.
Hillier’s storytelling is masterful. She tells Geo’s story using flashbacks and current-day scenes to move the story along and the transitions are capably handled. Her characters are realistic and well-developed. While certain aspects of the investigation happen too easily, the case development is well-drawn out and logical, with no extreme leaps to conclusions.
I now understand why this novel has been on so many favorites list for 2018. It is now on mine, too.
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