Thursday, January 2, 2014

In the Blood

In the Blood by Lisa Unger   
Touchstone; 1/7/2014
Hardcover, 352 pages

ISBN-13: 9781451691177 

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.
My Thoughts:

In the Blood by Lisa Unger is a complex, suspenseful psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the end: Very Highly Recommended.

Lana Granger is a gifted student who is a senior in childhood psychology at Sacred Heart College in The Hollows of upstate New York. Lana herself intimates right at the beginning that there are secrets about her that no one knows and she plans to keep her secrets. We soon learn that her mother is dead and her father is on death row for the murder. We know that she was a troubled child. But it appears that Lana is doing well now if she can just keep walking the tightrope of lies she has told.

Lana's psychology professor and mentor, Langdon Hewes, encourages her to apply for a babysitting job. It all seems innocent enough. Rachel Kahn needs someone to babysitting her volatile, gifted, emotionally disturbed 11-year-old son, Luke. Luke attends a nearby school for disturbed children during the day but his mother just needs a little help with him before she gets home from work. Lana and Luke immediately feel an unspoken bond with each other. While Lana's troubles are being resolved with therapy and medication, Luke seems to be much more out of control and beyond the reach of help than Lana was at his age. 

When Lana's roommate, Becky, is reported as missing she is the second girl that Lana has known at college who has disappeared. As the investigation to find Becky picks up speed, Luke is playing a strange game with Lana that is taking a strange turn. 

The narrative switches back and forth between two stories. The main story which is the bulk of the plot is that of Lana. The alternate narrative is in the form of diary entries by an unnamed mother with a very troubled son. Unger does a magnificent job pacing the plot. Both narratives slowly reveal more facts and troubling information, which slowly allows the reader more  enlightenment to discern what may really be going on. But be forewarned: There is a brilliant twist to the plot.

The writing was simply excellent. I loved the alternating stories between Lana's problems and the diary entries. I liked the character of Lana even when I didn't like her and knew she was hiding something. She admitted she was a liar and had secrets right at the beginning. I was impressed with In the Blood right to the ending where it took a completely unexpected turn.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Touchstone via Netgalley for review purposes

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