Review: Jar of Hearts

Posted August 14, 2018

I received this book for free from Readers First in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Jar of Hearts Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
Published by Corvus on 2nd August 2018
Genres: Thriller
Format: Paperback
Source: Readers First

Georgina, known as Geo, is a 30-year-old rising executive when her world comes crashing down. Her high school boyfriend has been identified and arrested for a series of serial murders, including Angela, Geo's best friend in high school. Angela disappeared without a trace at 16 and her body has just been found. Now Geo is under arrest for helping her then-boyfriend cover it up. And it's one of her other close friends from high school, Kaiser Brody, who arrests her.

While Geo is sent to prison for her part, Calvin escapes from custody and is on the run. Geo, now thirty-five, is about to be released from prison to try and start over. But someone has started killing people and dumping their bodies in her old neighbourhood, with some of the markers of the missing Sweetbay Strangler—her old boyfriend Calvin. Is these killings some kind of message from Calvin? Are they some of revenge? Is she herself now in danger?

Everything turns on what really happened that tragic night back when Geo and Angela were high schoolers. Everyone thinks they know the truth, but there are dark secrets buried deep within other secrets, and it may be too late for anyone to survive the truth.

A Wee Summary

Jar of Hearts opens in the midst of a trial; executive Georgina Shaw, Geo, is giving evidence relating to the death of her childhood best friend, Angela Wong, 14 years ago, when they were just 16 years old.

Angela’s remains had been hidden all these years. Now Geo’s teenage boyfriend, Calvin James, is on trial for her murder, with Georgina herself facing a prison term.

Over the course of the book, we uncover what happened the night of Angela’s death – traversing from the current time to Geo’s high school days.

Five years on from the trial and Geo has finished her time in the Hazelwood Correctional Institute and is facing the challenge of rebuilding her life as an ex-con. Upon getting out, she finds out that, having escaped from prison, Calvin James (aka the Sweetbay Strangler) is being hunted by the police for new, horrendous murders, each of which appear to contain a message for Geo.

My Thoughts

Jar of Hearts is impossible to put down! It’s actually really hard to describe this book without spoilers. It’s a clever novel that is packed with suspense. Hillier toys with her readers’ emotions when it comes to Geo – at times I hated her and then suddenly I wanted to give her a hug; she’s such a well written character.

It’s a gritty novel and I should warn you that its contents may prove distressing to some (View Spoiler »). It doesn’t shy away from detail and yet at no point does it feel gratuitous – it’s essential to the story.

There’s quite a cast of character in this novel, Hillier has a gift for bringing them all to life, no matter how brief their appearance.

This is a well written novel that will keep you thinking and desperate to read on. It’s a twisty, gritty thriller that will capture your attention from the first page, holding it until the very last.