Let’s get one thing out of the way here. I don’t read a lot of thrillers. I don’t like being scared, I don’t like creepy things, and I definitely don’t like waking up in the middle of the night feeling like some disturbed child is plotting to kill me. But I set all of that aside because of the good ratings and general buzz surrounding In the Blood. And am I ever glad I did.
In the Blood tells the story of Lana Granger, a psychology student at a small college in New York. Lana is struggling to overcome a difficult past and the media circus that surrounded it – her father is on death row, accused of murdering her mother and hiding the body. Her grandfather – her mother’s father – was also a convicted murderer. Despite all of this, she was taken care of – sent to live with her loving aunt, with all of her parents’ money set aside in a trust fund for her, accessible whenever she needed it. Accessible, that is, until her lawyer tells her that the conditions of her trust fund stipulate that she must find a job. Excited by the prospect of earning her own money, with no strings attached, she takes on a job babysitting a troubled young boy.
Luke has been expelled from multiple schools for his violent outbursts and manipulative ways. He now attends a school especially for the emotionally troubled, but it’s not helping. Some say he’s beyond help. His single mother, Rachel, is exhausted because Luke demands 110% of her energy, and Luke’s father is mysteriously absent, seemingly unable to handle the nature of his child. Rachel is happy to see that Lana and Luke seem to share a special connection. His outbursts, his rages, are few and far between when she babysits him.
Then Lana’s friend Beck disappears, just as her friend Elizabeth did years before. Lana was the last person Beck was seen talking to. Was she involved? Does murder run through her blood? Luke seems to know so much about the case, even with his limited access to the internet and his very controlled school environment – is he somehow involved as well?
Lisa Unger pulled me into the Lana’s world so quickly and so forcefully that I read the book in just a few short hours on a Sunday afternoon. Unger throws twist after twist after turn at the reader to keep the pages turning. Because there are so many twists, I’m going to cut my review short and just say that if you’re interested in thrillers, if you like mysteries, if you go for a general creepy ambiance, then this book is for you. Even if you’re like me and you usually wouldn’t touch anything creepy with a ten foot pole, you’ll probably still like this book.
Final rating: ★★★★☆