Tuesday, June 7, 2016

8 Heart Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

He Will Be My Ruin
K.A. Tucker

Page Count: 340

Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books (Simon & Schuster)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by tour publicist via publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, TLC Book Tours and Atria Books!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
A woman who almost had it all...

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation...

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.
The car hits an especially deep pothole, rattling my bones. I've been trapped in here for so long. Hours. Days. I have no idea. Long enough to run through every mistake that I made.
How I trusted him, how I fell for his charm, how I believed his lies. How I made it so easy for him, by letting him get close.
How Celine made it so easy for him, by letting him get close.
Before he killed her.
Just like he's going to kill me.

Maggie's life has always been a privileged breeze, being the sole heiress to Sparkes Energy and all. Money has never been a roadblock for her because she's always had it. Her best friend from childhood on the other hand, Celine, led a different life. A life so veiled and desperate that Maggie knew nothing about until discovering her old diaries in the wake of her purported suicide.

Upon hearing the news, Maggie uproots herself from her charity work—a self-professed duty only to combat the immorality of her family's money-grubbing energy empire—and moves into Celine's Manhattan apartment to help pack up her belongings. An antiques fanatic at heart and appraiser by trade, Celine left behind pieces that must amass to a fortune, and it's Maggie's responsibility to take care of it all. It isn't until she discovers tidbits of Celine's private life and the things she did to survive in the nasty slew of the city, that Maggie's suspicions that Celine's death was not a suicide are confirmed. Celine had so much going for her, so much to look forward to, both in her professional and personal life. Immediately, Maggie points her finger in the direction of murder, and sets off to find out everything she can about Celine's secret lover—the man she claims was her ruin.

He Will Be My Ruin spins the tragedy of an unexpected death into a murder mystery that unfolds with a furor. Maggie is determined to go to any length to find out the truth about her best friend, unknowingly stepping straight into the high-risk, greed-fueled minefield that got Celine killed in the first place. K.A. Tucker knows how to tell a suspenseful story; the plot moves quickly with surprising discoveries and dark revelations peppered throughout, as Maggie enters this unfamiliar, dangerous game.

I had no trouble getting through this book, and was definitely satisfied with its unpredictable outcome and frequent red herrings. So many complicated facets of Maggie's and Celine's lives are introduced to the backdrop of the crime, so while reading, there is no knowing of what matters in the case, and what has no relevance at all. A sizzling romantic distraction muddles Maggie's focus and creates a conflict of interest, while the emotional disaster she experiences when finding out about Celine's secret life almost destroys her.

That said, I wasn't particularly affected by most of the layers of the story. The emotional tragedy, I understood, and the unraveling of Celine's murderer, I found chilling, but after I finished the book I felt like not much stuck with me. The characters are rather simple and formulaic (with the exception of the late Celine, who always finds a way to surprise the reader), and Tucker's writing style rather gratuitous with lots of superficial details. Regardless, it's an enjoyable story overall that will have you squirming in the moment as Maggie narrows down the harrowing possibilities in her crime-solving spree.

In the end, she is forced to confront the scariest reality of them all: that the one person she trusted could be the person she should most fear, and that when it comes to murder, money, and sex, nothing is really what it seems to be on the surface.

Pros


Detailed and thorough in narration // Characters are deeply explored // Suspenseful, fast-paced // Lots of factors introduced that make the mystery unpredictable and complicated // Simple and easy to navigate structurally

Cons


Writing style, while effective, is slightly amateurish // I felt like I understood the characters well, but didn't really like any of them

Verdict


He Will Be My Ruin combines a blazing tumble of a romance with an emotionally charged murder mystery. Brimming with shocking discoveries and an ominous "sleeping with the enemy" vibe, K.A. Tucker's newest novel grapples with themes of morals and guilt, despair and desperation, and the fine hazards of money and art. While I didn't find this book to be mind-blowing, I guarantee it will keep you glued to its pages until Maggie's mission is complete... if it even ends well, that is Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended (x)