Book review: In Her Blood by Nikki Crutchley

Saturday, November 26, 2022 Permalink

In Her Blood by Nikki Crutchley introduces two families and a missing girl; stories unfolding decades apart. Both families have been torn apart by tragedy and loss, but they’re not blameless we learn and Crutchley offers some very flawed and unlikeable characters in this dark and twisty read.

Book review: In Her Blood by Nikki CrutchleyIn Her Blood
by Nikki Crutchley
Published by HarperCollins - AU
on 30/11/2022
Source: Harper Collins
Genres: Crime Fiction
ISBN: 1460760441
Pages: 304

Jac Morgan never planned on going back to her hometown. Seven years after the fatal house fire that killed her mother and branded Jac a killer she's back - but for only one reason. Her sister, Charlie, has gone missing. Charlie's the only good thing in Jac's life, and she doesn't believe she would ever run away. Jac is certain the answer to her sister's disappearance is somewhere in the town.

Because twenty years ago, another teenage girl went missing. Paige Gilmore, beautiful and talented daughter of eccentric matriarch, Iris Gilmore, disappeared on the annual Gilmore Hotel Open Day. As Jac starts the search for Charlie, she is drawn to the Gilmore Hotel - the haunted house of her childhood, a place that holds its own secrets and mysteries and is still home to the enigmatic Iris and her long-suffering daughter, Lisa.

Meanwhile, as Jac desperately hunts for answers to Charlie's disappearance, another Open Day looms, and Jac begins to realise everyone at the hotel has a secret - and that someone is willing to kill to keep the truth from coming out.

We kinda get to know quite early on ‘why’ Charlie goes missing. I hate knowing ‘whodunnit’ or sometimes even the ‘why’ early in the book as it means there’s no opportunity to use my detective skills or little grey cells to demonstrate my crime-solving prowess. (I am – indeed – a legend in my own mind!)

However, Crutchley does offer us several people who had connections to both Paige and (later) to Charlie, so in that respect we’ve got a few suspects. And – on that note – in reality, the ‘who’ is the person I probably least expected.

I appreciated that we were offered closure at the end of this but pondered on how satisfying I found it and it may depend on your take on the whole justice versus retribution thing.

I probably would have liked a little more detail about Iris and Lisa’s relationship… or certainly a better understanding of Iris’s malevolent behaviour towards her younger daughter and perhaps her own backstory.

But this is an enjoyable read and I liked the flawed characters Crutchley offers us via Jac and her family… resplendent with dysfunction. And then of course there’s Iris, Paige and Lisa… reminding us money and status don’t buy happiness or bring out the best in people, but does make it easier to bury their secrets and hide their flaws and behaviour.

There are of course deeper themes around parenting and families (particularly regarding expectations and rejection) and whether the way we’re treated growing up is like a self-fulfilling prophecy and we grow into those expectations others had of us or we had of ourselves. For that reason it would be a great bookclub selection as there’s lots to debate and discuss.

This is the first book I’ve read by Crutchley and I note she’s written several others so I look forward to reading more of her work.

In Her Blood by Nikki Crutchley will be published in Australia by Harper Collins and available in early December 2022.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


Comments are closed.