How do you find a killer when no one believes there’s a victim?
Page Count 480
Publication date 2019/ Publisher Simon & Schuster
Good Reads link
Three very different people, connected by a thread of violence … and hope.
Kay, recently widowed and coming to terms with life on her own, feels she has hit rock bottom. For years she and her husband fostered difficult children – including Becca, whom trouble follows like a stray puppy. And now Becca seems to be in the worst trouble of her life.
A girl has been attacked so savagely she can’t be identified. She’s alive, but only just. Becca, tossed out of university and just let go from her dead-end job, is certain she knows who the victim is. But no one will believe her.
Our protagonists Becca and Jared are deeply flawed, realistic characters, each broken by their own history. I liked the angry, defiant edge to them. Whilst Jared’s past is laid out early on we have to dig deeper to piece together Becca’s full story.
Jared’s recollection of his best friend Charlie’s death gave me shivers. I really felt the claustrophobia and the rising fear of inescapable danger. The ensuing hollowness of Jared resonates in Kot’s writing, I connected well with his changing emotional states and loved his development throughout the story arc.
I’d have liked a little more of Becca’s past. The reader can put it together easily enough but whilst we are treated to Jared’s full story Becca’s is not as fleshed out, her character felt a little one dimensional in comparison.
Life Ruins holds on tight to its secrets. There was no guessing ahead for me this time, I was gripped almost the entire way through with absolutely no idea what I was hurtling towards. The antagonists were an enigma making them unpredictable and keeping me on edge throughout the read.
Unfortunately the behaviour of the authorities in Life Ruins was not at all believable. The police characters were stereotyped straight out of a bad movie and their failure to investigate such violent attacks yet waste time searching for an apparent crank phone call made no sense.
For me the final chapters felt a bit rushed. Everything all tied up neatly and made sense but felt like small fry compared to what Kot had been alluding to earlier in the book. I realise that’s very vague but I’m desperately trying not to drop spoilers!
I’m really not a fan of the ‘2 months later…’ style endings either. Using a short summary to suddenly resolve a story that had been at the height of action in it’s previous chapter always feels lazy to me.
Life Ruins bolts out of the gate and races towards an unfortunate stumbling finale. Worth a read but for those as invested in endings as I am this journey outweighs it’s destination.
I received a copy of Life Ruins from Random Things Blog Tours in exchange for my review. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Simon & Schuster.