I’m a long-term Lisa Unger fan and actually saw her in Brisbane at a Writers’ Festival a few years ago. I’ve read most of her novels so was stoked to get an advance copy of her latest, In the Blood, due for publication in January 2014.
In the Blood kicks off with a prologue in which we discover something horrible has happened… and we soon learn that our lead character’s father is in prison awaiting the death penalty for killing his wife – despite his protestations to the contrary.
We then fast forward to the present day and meet Lana, hiding from her grisly past; now a student of psychology and grateful to be under the watchful eye of eminent University professor (and her advisor and mentor) Langdon Hewes.
Lana’s determined to fulfil her dead mother’s wish that her only child follow her dreams and help others, so on the suggestion of Hewes she decides to take a part-time job helping the single mother of a difficult child.
Lana believes her own background and University studies will enable her to help behaviourally-challenged Luke and his frustrated mother Rachel.
Initially Lana finds it hard to equate the sweet 11 year old with the actions he’s committed in the past, but soon realises she’s up against more than she imagined when Luke’s game-playing becomes dangerous. To add to her confusion and concern Luke also seems to know far more than he should about her hidden past.
Around the same time Lana’s best friend and flatmate Rebecca goes missing and – as they fought just before Beck’s disappearance – Lana comes under suspicion. And with so much to hide… it’s not something Lana can afford.
I enjoyed Unger’s latest novel. I guessed part of the twist midway through the novel, but I think that’s handed to us in a way that allows us to start to understand what’s happening. I hadn’t picked some of the final twists and turns however and it certainly kept me guessing.
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes.