A body, briefly glimpsed at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft, vanishes when the police investigate. Jared, recovering from an almost fatal injury and addicted to painkillers, knows he saw something terrible in that mine… but he has no evidence, and fears he’s losing his grip on reality.
A girl is attacked so savagely she can’t be identified, and dumped late at night in an isolate campgroud. She’s alive, but only just. Becca, tossed out of university and just let go from her dead-end job, is certain she knows who the victim is. But no one will believe her, and she can hardly even trust herself.
Kay, recently widowed and coming to terms with life on her own, suddenly finds herself forced to get involved. For years she and her husband fostered diccicult children – including Becca, whom trouble follows like a stray puppy. Now Becca seems to be in the worst trouble of her life.
And then Jared and Becca meet. Becca, strong-minded and fiercely independent, is confident they can figure out what’s going on. She pulls Kay into the mix, knowing they’ll need all the help they can get… because the police don’t believe them. And more girls are vanishing.
Publishing Date: July 25, 2019
A lot of times a thriller needs to be shorter on the page count for me, there are exceptions of course and Life Ruins is one of them because it’s not just a thriller, it’s about the three characters, their lives, the towns, the corruption flowing underneath everything. So, Danuta Kot has successfully written a slow burning thriller which I particularly enjoyed.
It’s a great variety when it comes to the three MCs, we have Becca the girl who had been fostered by Kay and her now-deceased husband. She appears to be a success story until things start to unravel for her and it harkens back to her troubled youth but is she still troubled or is it more than that?
Then you have Jared who has been through his own rough times but as a young adult instead. And after a terrible accident, his way of life just can’t continue but he struggles to and the painkillers help. In a way. He’s not beholden to anyone but he after the strange happenings lately he finds himself entangled in something greater than himself and there are lives at stake.
Lastly, we have Kay, she’s the widowed ex-foster mum who always worked alongside her husband to help the children. They had to ‘retire’ and now she’s left in the house they bought while Matt, her husband, is no longer there to fill in the silence of the countryside.
They were all unique in personalities and quirks, I have to say, I loved how patient Jared was and how caring and protective Kay was while not being overbearing to Becca. Then there is Becca and she is the most unique of the three in my opinion. She’s just gone through so much and there’s a reason for her temper, for her ‘troubles.’ Becca is just a young girl who has gone through too much and did what all of us do, she made a mistake.
The corruption of the crimes and assaults were fascinating to unearth and I didn’t want to put the book down after about page 230. I thought it really was unique with its use of the abandoned mining shaft, Jared and Becca’s pasts and the way things were connected. Still, though there was so much in the book that spoke of the truth about the situation for fostered kids, or kids who hare underprivileged in general and you can tell that Kot knows what she’s talking about and it’s appreciated in this day and age. So while the book was great and fun, it also made you remember how things still need improving in society.
As far as issues go, I think I was only bothered by what I perceived to be loose threads at the end, I wanted a couple of things to be tied up, it almost felt anticlimactic.
However, there were other aspects of the ending I really appreciated, such as Becca’s life where it stands at the end of the book, and obviously I can’t go into more because you know, spoilers, but suffice to say I thought a lot of things were realistic instead of being magically fixed and I really liked and appreciated that.
Overall 3.5 huge cups of coffee from me, I plan on lending this one out to all my friends. Definitely a great summer thriller read.
Thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours and Simon & Schuster for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author
Danuta Kot grew up with stories. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront moder, urban society: poverty, alienation and social break down, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She had previously written under the names, Danuta Reah and Carla Banks. Danute was also a former char of the Crimer Writers’ Association.
The Rest of the Tour Schedule