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Almost exactly two years ago, I read (and greatly enjoyed) Lisa Unger’s In the Blood. I loved the creepy ambiance of The Hollows and its residents who just seem to be a little bit off. So when I saw Ink and Bone show up on Netgalley, I knew that I had to request it. I liked it just as much as I knew I would.

Finley Montgomery is our main character, and I have to say that she was refreshing. Tattooed, with pink hair, and completely unsure what’s she’s doing with her life, Finley was a breath of fresh air. She escaped to The Hollows, the one place she knew her overbearing mother wouldn’t follow her, to learn more from her grandmother about her budding psychic abilities. The increase in her abilities happens to coincide with the disappearance of a young girl and her mother’s frantic search.

Abbey Gleason was a typical spunky eight-year-old vacationing in The Hollows with her family when she was kidnapped right in front of her father and older brother. The family shattered, their trust in each other and the outside world shaken. Months of searching brought no answers, so Abbey’s mother, Merri, turned to answers from the only people she had left: a private investigator and the town psychic.

The town psychic is Finley’s grandmother, Eloise. The combination of Eloise’s advanced age and her desire to help Finley build confidence in her skills lead her to push Finley into a leading role in the case. Does Finley have the skills to track down a lost child? Is the dark path of this abduction one she really wants to go down?

I can’t say that I enjoyed everything in this book, but I do understand that everything happened for a reason. The plot moved along nicely, and while there weren’t really any huge reveals, I certainly enjoyed coming to the conclusion. I’ve come to really enjoy The Hollows, and I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for future books by this author.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy!

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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: 

But did you know that eyewitness testimony is often totally unreliable? The human memory only records events through the filter of its own frame of reference. We try to fit the information we receive into schemas, units of knowledge that we possess about the world that correspond with frequently encountered situations, individuals, ideas, and situations. In other words, we often see things as we expect to see them, or want to see them, and not always as they are.

In the Blood | Lisa Unger