Monday, May 30, 2016

Fractured Families: A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah & Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Today I'm reviewing two psychological thrillers centered around a common theme: fractured, sometimes fatal, families.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

Sophie Hannah, in my opinion, is one of the few writers today who could pull a story (and a story-within-a-story) like this off.

Justine and her family have left the big city of London for a quieter life in the country. Determined to leave the broken pieces of her once-powerful career behind, Justine settles into a life of "doing Nothing" with a capital N.

But then her daughter, Ellen seems to change before her eyes, becoming withdrawn and secretive. Ellen finally admits that she is upset because her best friend, George, has been unfairly expelled from her new school.

When Justine marches into the school to right this terrible wrong, though, she is told that George hasn't been expelled. George doesn't exist.

Woven into this wonderfully bizarre and intriguing tale is a story Ellen is writing for class, the story of a family with a murderer among them.

This is a book you will not be able to put down. The tension builds and builds until you have to stop everything else you're doing to keep turning those pages. While, for me at least, I don't think any ending could have completely lived up to the incredible buildup, the resolution packed an amazing, Hannah-caliber punch.

This is certainly not a book for the faint of heart.

I've read a lot of mysteries, thrillers, and true crime over the years, and this book had me squirming. There were even times I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get through certain chapters.

But I'm so glad I pushed through, because this is a book well worth the effort.

A sister missing over two decades. A husband recently murdered. Two sisters who haven't spoken in twenty years.

All of this, and so much more, collide in Slaughter's Pretty Girls. How everything is related is the real treat, and one I absolutely refuse to spoil any part of. What I will say is this is one of those special thrillers that have you gasping out loud on the train, and where you might just miss your stop because you have to find out what happens next.

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