Lisa Unger is an author I see pop up from time to time, and I always think to myself that her books sound good, and one of these days I should read one. I finally got the chance with In the Blood, which I received on audio from Simon & Schuster, and it definitely lived up to the hype.
Lana Granger has escaped her difficult childhood mostly unscathed. Lana informs the reader early on that her father killed her mother, but the details of that event are sketchy. Lana has been telling lies her whole life, and how much of what she’s revealing is the truth isn’t clear. Attending college far away from her home town, where no one knows her, she’s managed to keep her true identity a secret from her friends. When her trust fund starts to run low, she takes a job as a babysitter for a troubled boy named Luke. While Lana hits it off with Luke’s mother, Luke himself is manipulative and immature, but also reminds Lana a lot of herself as a young teen.
Then Lana’s best friend and roommate, Beck, goes missing. Lana’s explanations of where she went after the girls argued in the library, as well as other things she’s hiding, lead the police to believe Lana is involved. But when Lana warily agrees to participate in a scavenger hunt set up by Luke, she begins to wonder how much he really knows about Beck’s disappearance and Lana’s past.
Alternating with Lana’s first person account are entries in a diary by an unknown mother. She refers only to her son as “my son,” never using his name, and it’s not divulged until well into the book who she really is. For fear of giving too much away, I’ll just say it’s the kind of twist you really don’t see coming, and then wonder how you missed the clues.
In the Blood is an entertaining thriller that keeps you on your toes, trying to figure out just what really happened to Lana’s mother, if Lana really was involved in Beck’s disappearance, who the author of the diary entries really is, and how much of the rest of Lana’s story is the truth. Highly recommended for those that enjoy fast-paced novels with excellent writing in the vein of Gone Girl.
Notes on the audiobook: This is the third book I’ve listened to that was narrated by Candace Thaxton, and she’s quickly become one of my favorite narrators. She has a way with character and voice that keep my attention, which is an important aspect of an audiobook. Gretchen Mol also does a respectable job as the mystery mother.