Jar of Hearts: A Review


This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

MacMillian Press was kind enough to surprise me with a free advance galley of this new thriller. Here is my honest review!

Before receiving Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier in the mail I had heard nothing about it. Aside from knowing that it was thriller I truly had no idea what the plot was or anything else. Several popular thriller writers gave their stamp of approval—-Lisa Unger, Lisa Gardner and Riley Sager. I believe that with all of that early support I cannot go wrong….right?

Correct. If you are a reader of all things thriller then you really need to pick this one up. I already foresee this being in the hands of sunbathers at the beach. It will be all over the summer must-read displays in bookstores. It has all the right ingredients for an addictive summer read. Everyone is saying that Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother is going to be the must-read of the summer. While The Perfect Mother is a great read I would recommend Jar of Hearts over Molloy’s book. Click here for my review of The Perfect Mother.

I must admit that since I knew nothing about this book before I received it, the title alone had me building a completely different plot in my head. When I started reading it I was surprised to realize that I was very wrong about the story. Once I reached the point where the reason for the title is shown I become obsessed. I will not state where the title comes from but I will state that the title is absolutely perfect for this thriller.

Any thriller with a serial killer at its core I am here for. True crime is a fascinating subject area for me in general so I am always down for it. However, the standard recipe for thrillers always run the risk of being cliche when all is said and done. After all , how many different ways are there for spinning similar plots? Thankfully, Jar of Hearts does not fall victim to coming off as cliche.

My favorite element of this thriller is the way in which Hillier allowed the story to unfold. The further you get more pieces are revealed. Each piece adds to the plot but more importantly it reveals more about the main character Geo. The gradual reveal of more information to the murder of Geo’s best friend’s murder causes you to alter your opinion of Geo. I loved how much my opinion of her changed because it made me not know what to believe. Should I feel sorry for her? Was five years in prison too little or not enough? What is Calvin’s fascination with Geo? Is Kaiser a good cop or a bad cop? Should Geo be forgiven?

It is always difficult for me to review a thriller because it is hard to share my thoughts on the book without giving too much away. Like I have already mentioned, I knew very little about Jar of Hearts going into it. That certainly made all the difference in my opinion. I had no expectations so I could not be disappointed! I do not want to give away any of the minor details of this book because it all adds up in the end. I had many emotions when I reached the end of the story. The story did not end the way I anticipated but that is the very thing that makes it a great thriller.

If you are looking for a plot that will slowly reveal itself into a something you were not expecting then this is what you are looking for. Your thoughts and opinions of the characters are going to change many times. You do not know who to feel compassion for. You will be left analyzing the actions of the characters. What would you do in that situation? What are you capable of? Do you see what you want to see?

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier will be released on June 12th.


4 thoughts on “Jar of Hearts: A Review

  1. Your review has me so interested in this book! I agree, a thriller with a serial killer at its core makes for a fascinating read!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s