Review and Excerpt Tour: He Will Be My Ruin: K.A. Tucker

He Will Be My Ruin
K. A. Tucker
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Expected February 2, 2016
Genre: Adult suspense

The USA TODAY bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series makes her romantic thriller debut with this heartpounding story of a young woman determined to find justice after her best friend’s death, a story pulsing with the “intense, hot, emotional” (Colleen Hoover) writing that exhilarates her legions of fans.

Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a bottle of Xanax and a handle of Maker’s Mark, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers secrets in the childhood lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man who Celine herself claimed would be her ruin.

On the hunt for answers that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

“I need some advice, Grady, and I have no one else to ask.”
                “If you needed answers and the only person to give those to you was a person you didn’t know, had never met, and who might not like the questions you have to ask, what would you do?”
                He twists his lips in thought. “I’d create a situation to meet this person, and make it hard for them to refuse me.”
                Simple in theory…”But how?”
                He exhales heavily, his warm breath grazing my cheek telling me that he’s facing me. “Find common ground. A location, a purpose, an acquaintance. Force the meet and then work your questions around the real ones that you want to ask. You can get a lot of information out of a person just by treading too close to what they don’t want to talk about. The look in their eye, their facial expressions, the way they react to the mention of a name, or a place.”
                Grady seems more intelligent than what I’d expect of a pot-smoking building super. “You sound like you’ve been in my situation before.”
                “Once or twice. Maybe.” I hear the smile in his voice.
                Find common ground. Force the meet. The only common ground I have with this guy is now six feet underground in a San Diego cemetery.
                There is something that we’re both very familiar with.
                I pull out my phone and scroll through my emails to find the one with her phone number. I know this is beyond inappropriate, but once I get something in my head, there’s no dislodging it. Plus, I’m high.
                “Hey Dani. It’s Maggie Sparkes.”
                “Hi…Is everything okay?” She definitely sounds shocked to hear from me.
                Grady watches me quietly. “I’m sorry to be calling so late. You know how you offered help with anything I needed? Well, I need a favor.”
This starts right out with a compelling and gripping prologue, and then reverts back in time to see how the story begins. Maggie Sparkes has come to New York to settle the personal effects of her best friend Celine whose recent death was labeled suicide. But Maggie begins to find some inconsistencies and mysteries that only enforce her own personal belief that her friend would not have taken her own life.

This is one of those reads that you really don't want to read spoilers about. It is a slow build up of clues, mysteries, and secrets that are gradually revealed and a study in potential perpetrators. The plot gets thicker and thicker. The story seems to lead you one way and then twists another. You think you have it figured out and then new evidence comes to light. You are constantly guessing and second guessing.

Maggie is inquisitive, bright, motivated, and caring. She is wealthy, but altruistic and strives to use her money for charitable causes. She gets right in the middle of anything she is responsible for whether it be aiding the poor in Africa or Asia, or getting to the bottom of her friend's secrets. She becomes obsessed with figuring out what was going on in her friend's life and if she met with foul play. I liked Maggie, but sometimes wanted to put duct tape over her mouth to stop her from spilling secrets because it was not always in her best interest. 

There is an interesting cast of characters and possible suspects. The male protagonists both were different and charismatic. I loved the nosy, elderly neighbor Ruby who always seemed to turn up and the outgoing dramatic art expert Hans.

It is told in Maggie's point of view with some diary type flashbacks from Celine. There are definite twists and turns to the story. It could have gone many ways. It's full of surprises, secrets, mystery, lies, subterfuge, suspense, and danger. There are various layers to the story and multiple possible motivations. It is not really a romance, but a true mystery and thriller that had me flipping pages. I hated to have to stop reading in order to go to bed and thought about it until it was time to pick it up again. This was a nice change of pace from my usual contemporary romance reads, but was intriguing and kept me interested through out.

ARC provided by author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Maggie Sparkes doesn’t like her gut feeling about her best friend’s suicide. She doesn’t believe that Celine would have killed herself with all the plans she had in the works, and a suspicious photograph sends Maggie on a trail of the last few months of Celine’s life.

Hoping to find enough evidence to reopen Celine’s case, Maggie instead finds herself learning thing about her friend she never would have imagined and putting herself in the line of a killer.

My suspicions were constantly shifting as new information is revealed. Because the story is narrated mostly by Maggie, with intermittent chapters from Celine’s diary, it is easy to get swept up in Maggie’s own suppositions. I loved all the twists and turns this story took, and there was never a dull moment.

Maggie was a good strong lead. Her determination to not fail Celine meant she was so focused on finding out what happened to Celine that at times she forgot to worry about her own safety. There were a few times I was shaking my head as it seemed she was sharing every new finding with every person she came across, none of whom she had known before she came to clean out Celine’s apartment.

The side characters were a rich, well rounded group of individuals from Celine’s life: her building super, her elderly neighbor, her local art contact, and her work crush. Each individual is as different as their descriptors would suggest, but together they made for a great support group and suspect pool.
As I reached the end I was surprised once again by a twist in events. There are so many small details throughout that if I had time I would start at the beginning again and read through it knowing what I know now -- looking for those little ticks and hints.

ARC provided by author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Author PhotoK.A. Tucker
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Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

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K.A. Tucker’s HE WILL BE MY RUIN – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
January 25th
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February 1st
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February 4th
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