THE RED HUNTER by Lisa Unger (Audiobook)


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


What is the difference between justice and revenge?

In this buzzworthy new thriller by New York Times best-selling author Lisa Unger, two wronged women on very different paths find themselves in the same dark place…

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house – one that, unbeknownst to her, has an ugly history and may hide long-buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past – and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course – because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.


“While seeking revenge, dig two graves – one for yourself.” This chilling quote (originally from Douglas Horton) plays heavily in Lisa Unger’s latest book THE RED HUNTER. The paths of two women – strangers – whose lives were altered by brutal attacks eventually collide in this suspenseful, atmospheric thriller. The puzzling question is how will their troubled stories intersect?

I enjoyed this book quite a bit, even though the tension put knots in my stomach! That’s a good thing, right?!?  Zoey, Claudia, and daughter Raven, are complex and flawed characters who easily pulled me into their stories. There are many layers to their haunting mystery, and hold on for a nail-biting ending. This is a stand alone novel, not part of The Hollows series, so no prior backstory knowledge needed.


Audiobook • 11 hrs, 5 mins • Julia Whelan, Narrator

I listened to the audio version which was narrated by Julia Whelan. Great performance! She did well with both the female and male characters, and her performance added to the suspense. One thing to watch out (or listen out) for are the time jumps in the story. A couple of times I was a bit confused as to what was going on, then realized that it was a flashback. Not a big deal as the story progressed and I got more familiar with the characters.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

INK AND BONE by Lisa Unger (Audiobook)

Ink and Bone
INK AND BONE by Lisa Unger
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Unfortunately this book didn’t click with me, and clearly I’m in the minority here, because there are many, many great reviews for INK AND BONE. Reading this book, I felt like I’d been dropped in the middle of an ongoing saga, like there’s a whole lot of back story I should already know. Besides that, there just seemed to be so much going on, so many subplots and characters, so many POVs, that it made me dizzy.

The main storyline involves the kidnapping of a young girl while the family was vacationing in The Hollows, New York. Ten months later, the distraught parents return to the area and hire a private detective, who’s aided by a young woman with psychic ability.

While I was drawn in by the premise, especially the paranormal elements, the story was too disjointed and confusing for me. One reason could be that I listened to this book on audio, which makes it harder to keep all of the layers straight. I would imagine that readers familiar with her previous books set in The Hollows would enjoy INK AND BONE more than I did.

Lisa Unger’s In the Blood is one of my favorite suspense novels ever, so I’d definitely give her next book a try!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Audiobook Review: IN THE BLOOD by Lisa Unger

InTheBlood
Format: Audio; 10 hrs, 4 mins
Narrators: Gretchen Mol, Candace Thaxton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Released: January 7, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher

LANA GRANGER LIVES A LIFE OF LIES. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to controlling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?

When Lana’s closest friend, Beck, mysteriously disappears, Lana resumes her lying ways—to friends, to the police, to herself. The police have a lot of questions for Lana when the story about her whereabouts the night Beck disappeared doesn’t jibe with eyewitness accounts. Lana will do anything to hide the truth, but it might not be enough to keep her ominous secrets buried: someone else knows about Lana’s lies. And he’s dying to tell.

———

IN THE BLOOD is the first book by Lisa Unger I’ve read (or listened to), and I was completely wowed! It’s hard to convey how much I loved this book. It was so good. The story is told from the point of view of Lana Granger, a college student whose best friend Beck goes missing. Lana is a self-professed liar with a past full of secrets, so can the reader really trust what she says? You gotta love those unreliable narrators!

As the search for Beck is on, Lana becomes wrapped up in this demented game with Luke, a troubled child that she’s been hired to care for. Lana doesn’t know what Luke’s ultimate goal is with the game, but she can’t resist playing along and finding out what he knows. Putting it mildly, Luke has issues. He’s a master manipulator, very intelligent with psychopathic tendencies. Luke’s character gave me chills, and my heart went out to his scared and emotionally exhausted mother Rachel.

IN THE BLOOD was a gripping psychological thriller filled with shocking twists and turns. I had to pause more than once for a jaw-dropping “O.M.G.” moment. Just when I thought I’d put the pieces of the puzzle together…nope! I was proven wrong. I love books that can really mess with my mind. This book addresses the question if “evil” can be inherited, and if it is “in the blood,” can it be overcome?

The audiobook was narrated by Candace Thaxton and Gretchen Mol, and both performances were amazing. Ms. Thaxton narrated from Lana’s POV, and Ms. Mol read the part of a mystery woman writing in her journal. They both did a great job capturing the essence of their characters. I could really hear the tension, fear, and desperation in their voices, perfect for this thriller. Highly recommended!

Rating: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.