Georgina (or Geo as she is known) seems to have it all with her high-powered job and wealthy fiance. It all comes crashing down, though, when the body of her high school friend is discovered over a decade after she went missing. Geo’s then boyfriend, Calvin, is found guilty of her murder and Geo is also sentenced for her part in covering it up. Calvin is also convicted of the killings of several others and has now has the moniker Sweetbay Strangler. 

Now, five years later, and Geo is about to be released from prison. She knows that it is going to be hard to readjust to the outside world, but she wasn’t bargaining in having to protect herself from her ex who has escaped from prison. When other bodies are discovered bearing the hallmarks of the Sweetbay Strangler, Geo knows that her own life may be in danger. Are the bodies a message to her and is she going to be the next victim?

Books that grab me from the very first page are few and far between but this was exactly what Jar of Hearts did. We are introduced to Geo, who despite the crime she has been accused of, seems to be an ordinary woman who, for some reason, has helped to conceal the murder of her best friend. We then follow her to prison, and here we witness the first of several disturbing scenes in the book. My heart really went out to Geo as I was sickened by what she had to endure.

The book jumps about in time as we discover what really happened to Angela Wong, Geo’s best friend. Sometimes, this can become a bit confusing but I didn’t find this here. If anything, it helped to build up the suspense in several of  the plot lines: Why did Angela get killed? Where is Calvin? Is Geo the next victim? I found that, as I reached the end of each chapter, I needed to read the next one, then the next one, then the next one…

I love a book where, all of a sudden, you have a ‘lightbulb’ moment when all becomes clear. This definitely happened here, making me actually declare my discovery out loud! Despite this, I did not anticipate what was going to happen at the end – a great twist I did not see coming.

Jar of Hearts is a well-written, twisty thriller that I could not put down. This is the first of Jennifer Hillier’s books that I have read but it will definitely not be the last!

With thanks to Corvus and Readers First for my ARC.

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