Jar of Hearts breaks away from the usual psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator by giving us a reliable but withholding, narrator. Geo, short for Georgina, begins the story testifying at the murder trial of her high school boyfriend, an accused serial killer whose first murder she witnessed and helped cover. She’s sentenced to five years in prison in exchange for her testimony. So, yeah, the person we root for is an accessory to murder…and maybe more.

Going back and forth from the past to the present, the secrets of her relationship with Calvin and her best friend and murder victim Anna are slowly revealed. There are some unlikely connections, the cop who cracked the case, arresting Calvin, the serial-killing boyfriend and Geo as well, is Kai, who was best friends with Geo and Anna. Geo serves her time but just before her release, a woman’s dismembered body, as well as that of a child, is found where Anna was buried. It looks as though Calvin, who escaped custody, is sending Geo a message.

Can Kai or Geo figure it out? Well, that’s why it’s a thriller because you never know what the truth is until the end…and sometimes even then you wonder.

This was suspenseful and certainly challenged us to accept a very problematic heroine. It asked a lot of readers, though of course, Geo’s complicity in the murder of Anna is complicated by her age and the circumstances. There are a few problems for me. She was 16 when she committed the crime yet seemed to be prosecuted as an adult. More problematic is the omniscience of the killer who had information that he could not have had. There’s no database anywhere with that info. There’s no explanation of how that information is acquired, so if you notice that problem, you’re left hanging. Other than that, though, it’s good to read a thriller with a woman who can handle herself when push comes to shove.

I received an e-galley of Jar of Hearts from the publisher through NetGalley.

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