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In the Blood: A Novel

In the Blood: A Novel

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In the Blood: A Novel

4/5 (228 valoraciones)
375 página
6 horas
Jan 7, 2014


The New York Times bestselling author and International Thriller Writers “Best Novel” finalist Lisa Unger returns to the dark psychological suspense that made Beautiful Lies a bestseller around the world.

Lana Granger lives a life of lies. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to controlling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?

When Lana’s closest friend, Beck, mysteriously disappears, Lana resumes her lying ways—to friends, to the police, to herself. The police have a lot of questions for Lana when the story about her where­abouts the night Beck disappeared doesn’t jibe with eyewitness accounts. Lana will do anything to hide the truth, but it might not be enough to keep her ominous secrets buried: someone else knows about Lana’s lies. And he’s dying to tell.

Lisa Unger’s writing has been hailed as “sensational” (Publishers Weekly) and “sophisticated” (New York Daily News), with “gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose” (Associated Press). Masterfully suspenseful, finely crafted, and written with a no-holds-barred raw power, In the Blood is Unger at her best.
Jan 7, 2014

Sobre el autor

Lisa Unger is the NYT bestselling author of 17 novels. Her work has been published in 26 languages, with millions of readers worldwide. In 2019, she received 2 Edgar Award nominations. Under My SKin is also a finalist for the Hammett Prize and Macavity Award. Her work has been voted "Best of the Year" or top picks by the Today show, GMA, EW, Amazon, IndieBound and many others. She has written for the NYT, WSJ, NPR, and Travel+Leisure. She lives in Florida with her family.

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In the Blood - Lisa Unger



There are twelve slats of wood under my bed. I know this because I count them over and over. Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelve. I whisper the numbers to myself and the sound of it comforts me as I’m sure a prayer would comfort someone who believes in God. It’s amazing how loud a whisper can be. Surrounded down there by the white glow of my bed skirt, the sound of my own voice in my ears, I can almost block out the screaming, the horrible keening. And then there’s the silence, which is so much worse.

In the quiet, which falls like a sudden night, I can hear the beating of my own heart, feel it thudding in my chest. I lie very still, willing myself to sink into the pile of the carpet lower and lower until I don’t exist at all. There is movement downstairs. I hear the sound of something heavy scraping across the dining room floor. What is he doing?

I have come to this place before. Here, I have hidden from the frequent and terrible storms of my parents’ miserable marriage. And I have listened as their voices break through the thick walls and the heavy, closed doors. But usually I can only hear the angry cadence of their voices, and very rarely their words, which I know to be hateful and spiked with old hurts and bitter resentments. It is a poison in the air, a toxic cloud. Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelve. Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can break your heart.

Tonight it is different. My palms feel hot and sticky. I lift them up and look to see they are covered in blood, the lines on my hands in stark white relief against the red black. I am overcome by a panicked confusion. What happened? Already, it’s slipping from my grasp, the last few hours. I have a kind of amnesia when it comes to my parents’ battles. I try to forget them and often succeed. Everything okay at home? my teacher asked recently. Great, I said. Fine. And the surface me meant it, even though the deep and buried part knew it wasn’t true. I should have been sending up flares, instead I was offering smiles. I just wanted so badly for things to be normal. I had worked so hard for that.

Downstairs, my father issues a grunt of effort. What happened? I push hard into my own memory, but a big part of me is shutting down. I can see my own hand (clean) reaching for the front door, hear the hiss of the school bus moving away, and my friend Joelle knocking on her bus window. I turned to wave; she motioned for me to call her.

I had the familiar stone of dread in my chest as I pushed inside. My dad has been out of work, a journalist in the age of digital media. His department got smaller and smaller and smaller, until he, too, was called into the editor’s office. He kept a good outlook at first. But as the months turned into a year, his attitude grew ever more sour. And my parents were home together, all day long. I never knew what I was going to come home to, as they swung between poles of giddy optimism and bleak despair.

But when I open that door in my memory, it’s only a black tunnel that I see. Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelve. And now I hear my father’s footsteps. He is walking from the dining room, slow and steady down the hall. He pauses, as he always does, at the mirror. I hear the familiar creak on the bottom stair and then he’s climbing up, his footsteps heavy and weary. Halfway up, he stops. He says my name but I don’t answer. My whole body is quivering. I am in the tunnel, falling and falling, swirling and tumbling like when they put that anesthesia mask over your face and tell you to count backward from one hundred and you can’t make it even to ninety-eight.

He’s on the upstairs landing and walking toward my room. He says my name again, but I still don’t answer.

We have to talk. Don’t hide from me. There’s nowhere to hide from this.

And then he’s in my doorway. I can hear him breathing; it sounds like the ocean or the way my mother breathes when she’s practicing yoga on the back porch, or the wind through the leaves outside my window.

And then the screaming starts again, it slices through me. It takes me a second to realize that it’s not my mother screaming, it’s me, loud and long in all my fear and misery. My father drops to his knees and I see his face made strange and unrecognizable by all that has passed. Then he reaches under the bed for me.

PART ONE: lana


The winter day was gray and cool, not frigid as it had been. But still it was a very typical January day in upstate New York—barren, chill, flat. I rode my bike around the small, deserted campus, reveling in a quiet that is at its most total right before everyone returns from winter break. The trees were bare, twisted fingers reaching up into the thick, low cloud cover.

I had just returned to school from an unbearable holiday spent with my unbearable aunt and unbearable cousins. (And I know for a fact that they feel exactly the same way about me.) But we did bear up, because that’s what family does, isn’t it? We bear up, together, like it or not.

And so they tolerated the dark-haired, dark-eyed sulking interloper, a wraith in their sunny, golden-haired midst. And I tolerated their terrible happy togetherness. But I knew, and so did they, that I had not quite been folded in. I was a cockroach in the batter of their sweet lives. Too polite to remove me, they ate around me.

I can’t fault them, really. Because they are kind and good, and they took me in against all advice and good sense. And I do try to be polite, and they do, as well. And we are all very good at enduring unhappiness, especially my aunt, who had a great deal of practice early on.

I have created my life, she said, in one of the torturous heart-to-hearts she tried to have with me. And you’re smart enough to do the same.

She believes that, she really does. She thinks that we are made and not born, that it is the power of choice that forms our lives. With enough positive energy and good feng shui we can overcome almost anything. She’s one of those, the magical thinkers. I think I envy her, even if I can hardly suppress my disdain.

It was that time, with graduation right around the corner, when people wanted to know what you were going to do with your life. Graduate school seemed like a good bet, if for no other reason than it delayed my emergence from the freedom and indulgence of academics into the world of alarm clocks and ambition, and nine-to-five. I couldn’t see myself sitting in a cube somewhere—file cabinets and ringing phones, office birthday cakes and paper cuts. What was a psychology major fit for, if not for more education? The human mind, with all its mystery, bears endless study. Doesn’t it?

But if I hadn’t quite made any decisions on that front, I knew one thing. I needed a job. There was money for everything—for school and housing, for books and extras. My parents, whatever their failings, had made sure of it. There was an account, and I had a lawyer whom I called if I needed something: Skylar Lawrence, the man with the checkbook. He always sounded young on the phone, like a teenage girl. But he was old, ancient even—stooped and bald, draped in expensive suits, sporting gold-rimmed spectacles. He had known my parents for many years, and was the executor of my mother’s estate and manager of my trust. We’d met a couple of times over the years—solemn visits in his office, where he droned on about the status of my mother’s investments, budgets, conditions of the trust. I would sit, nodding sagely, with no idea what he was talking about, too shy to ask many questions.

When I thought of him, which was really only when I needed money, I always envisioned him dwarfed in his huge leather chair, with his stunning view of Manhattan spread about him like a glittering carpet. With a gnarled hand, he’d press a button and money would appear in my checking account. I know: a trust-fund baby, how annoying. Believe it, you wouldn’t want to be me.

During my last conversation with Sky, he suggested that I might find some work since my class schedule was light.

It would be a good thing for you, he said. I heard a sharp inhale and slow exhale. He was a smoker; there was an occasional edge to his otherwise youthful voice, sudden bursts of wet, rattling coughs. To earn something of your own.

Okay, I said. I always said that. It was my stock response when I didn’t know what to say.

Because you’re an adult now, he went on, as though I’d put up an argument. And you need to decide what you are going to make of your life. Earning your own way is part of that.

You sound like Aunt Bridgette.

I heard the hiss of a match lighting, and he drew in another breath sharply. I suppose it wasn’t a stretch to think that this was a scheme they’d hatched together. We choose who we are, she’d said over break, certainly not for the first time. And I could tell that it was important to her that I believe that. We don’t inherit everything.

Am I out of money or something? I asked.

Not yet, he said. But as you know, there is a period of diminished support after graduation. You won’t come into your trust until you’re thirty. It was your mother’s wish that you find your calling, and earn your own way.

Right, I said. Of course, I knew this. Both Sky and Bridgette had mentioned it repeatedly. But somehow it had always seemed so very far away, that time when I’d spread my wings and fly on my own. Here I was, on the edge of the academic nest and looking down. I had no idea whether I’d take to the air or crash into a pile of bones.

So, when you say ‘diminished support,’ you mean . . . ?

He told me the small yearly sum I would receive, just to help make ends meet and to provide for some extras should I have a low-paying job. Your mother wanted you to follow your dreams, make a difference. It was her hope that you’d help people. She didn’t want you to choose your career based on how much it paid, but she did want you to do something.

Of course, no one ever mentioned my father or what he wanted from me.

I know, I said. I will.

So, that first day back after my winding, solitary bike ride around campus, I walked to the office of student affairs to gaze at the job board. I was weirdly excited. I liked the idea of doing something other than studying, which I had been doing diligently for years. I had been the valedictorian of my high school class. I had a perfect 4.0 average at university. Knowledge and the regurgitation of such in the form of essay and exam came very easily to me. It was everything else that came hard.

Dog walker? Coffeehouse waitress? Bookstore clerk? Librarian assistant? Math tutor? The board was a colorful riot of help-wanted notices, and the possibilities seemed endless. The office assistant was typing behind me. Beside me the phone rang three times, went silent, then started ringing again. I ripped off little paper tags with phone numbers on them. I imagined myself tugged down the street by five dogs with bladders about to burst, or rushing between bistro tables delivering espressos to the undercaffeinated, or quietly filing homeless books, putting them in proper order. Is that what my mom would have wanted for me? Did these jobs qualify as helping people?

What about this one?

Startled from my reverie, I saw my psychology professor lingering nearby. He was looking at yet another board brimming with offers. So many people with menial needs, offering positions to those of us desperate for pocket money. It was a sub-economy: easy jobs for overprivileged youth. It seemed like an inside joke. While the larger economy faltered and the working poor labored tirelessly only to make ends meet, some of us drifted on a silly cloud, only asking to receive. Or maybe that’s just me being cynical.

I walked over to stand beside him. He was squinting through his glasses as he pulled a notice off the board and handed it to me.

‘Single mother looking for afternoon help with her eleven-year-old son,’ I read. ‘After school through dinner, some overnights.’

Should work with your schedule, he said easily. I had mentioned to him my need for a job before break and he’d promised to be on the lookout for something suitable.

In addition to being my teacher, he was also my school counselor. He’d come to the university shortly after I started. And we’d always walked the line of friendship, which was easier now that I was older.

Langdon Hewes was a study in propriety. We had only met in public places, or with the door to his office wide open. He was too young to be so cautious, but he hinted at having had some kind of negative past experience. And I didn’t pry—because I certainly didn’t want to talk about my past either. He ran a hand through the perpetual tousle of his dark hair, and looked down at me from his towering height.

Nanny? I said, skeptical.

More like babysitter, he said.

What’s the difference?

He shrugged, looked up. He had this way of searching the sky or the ceiling for his answers. He’d tilt his head up and squint into nothingness, as if it were all there in the ether, just waiting to be found.

Nannies are for little kids, he said finally. It’s more of a full-time position. Babysitting is, like, more casual, more as needed.

He said this with a firm nod that brooked no questioning. Even though he surely knew nothing about nannies or babysitters, I took him at his word. He did have a Ph.D. in child psychology, was the known expert in childhood psychopathy. He’d published several articles in major consumer magazines—including the New York Times Magazine, Psychology Today, Vanity Fair, as well as the ever-important academic journals. Publish or perish; it was no joke at this school. He was currently at work on a book, a collection of case studies that was, he hoped, a blend between a text and something more mainstream. So maybe his opinion on this topic counted for something. At least that’s what I told myself.

I held the ad in my hand. Unlike the other pink and green and yellow sheets, with their fun or fancy typefaces, this was just a plain white paper, with centered Times New Roman text. It offered nothing but its own simplicity. A need in black and white, waiting to be filled.

You only have three classes this term, he said. Mine, criminal psychology, and art. Light load. Never a good idea to have too much time on your hands.

I wouldn’t call him handsome, but there was something pleasant about his aspect. Even his slouch, his perfectly pressed oxfords and chinos (sometimes jeans), those Merrell cross-training shoes, had a kind of comforting predictability. With Langdon, there were never any surprises. My own inner life was always chaotic, churning. I wondered what it was like to be so even, so measured. His presence never failed to calm me.

I’ll be your reference.

I don’t have any babysitting experience.

You’re a psych major, he said. There was your internship at Fieldcrest. You were fabulous with the kids. He said this with a smile, as though it was a little private joke. You got an A in my class.

My work at Fieldcrest, a school associated with the university for troubled and emotionally challenged young people, had been intense, to say the least. I was pleased that he thought I’d done a good job there. It was the first time he’d said so out loud, even though the internship evaluation he’d written had been glowing. I shifted forward, closer to him, feeling a little jolt of excitement. There was something about the paper in my hand, about his being there, about the prospect of something new in my life.

I fished my phone from my backpack and dialed the number as we walked into his office. I sat across from his desk and he sat, spun to face his computer, and started typing.

My name is Lana Granger, I said when a woman answered. I’m answering your ad.

Oh, great, she said. She sounded slightly breathless. I heard paper rustling in the background. Can you come for an interview today?

Outside the window, it seemed like a ray of sun had broken through the cloud cover and I saw a little bit of blue in the sky for what seemed like the first time in months.

Uh, I said stupidly. I hadn’t expected things to progress so quickly. But why not? I guess when you needed a sitter, you really needed a sitter. I looked at my wrist only to realize that I wasn’t wearing a watch. I didn’t even own a watch. And I knew that I had nothing whatsoever to do that day anyway. Sure.

Perfect, she said. She sounded bright and cheerful; nice, I guess. After lunch, say twoish?

We made all the arrangements, exchanged necessary information like her address ( just a quick bike ride away from campus), her name (Rachel Kahn, son Luke), my phone number. After I hung up, Langdon turned to look at me. He had an odd expression on his face, something I couldn’t read. But he was like that, a total brain, his mind always working, figuring, developing theories.

Good work, he said.

I didn’t do anything, I answered. It was just a phone call.

Today is the beginning of your real life, he said. "This could be your first actual job."

I couldn’t tell if he was making fun of me in that sweet, gentle way that he had. But I found myself smiling at him. It did feel like kind of a big deal, and my stomach was a little fluttery with happiness. And I was glad I had him to share it with.

I’ll take you out to lunch to celebrate, he said. Let’s go get some pizza.

I thought about my aunt Bridgette, who is not really so unbearable. Seriously. It’s only that she’s not my mother. Though I know she cares for me, she doesn’t love me. Only a child who has lost a mother knows how yawning and uncrossable is the space between those two things. Just because horrible things have happened to you doesn’t mean you can’t have a happy, normal life, she’d said to me once. I had felt sorry for her, only because I suspected that she might be wrong. I was marked, wasn’t I? Forever? But for whatever silly reason as we left Langdon’s office, I let myself wonder if maybe she was right after all.


I could have gone to college anywhere. My grades and test scores, essays and recommendations, garnered me admissions to Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford. I’m not bragging. It’s totally true. But I just couldn’t see myself in any of those places. They seemed big and impersonal, and I imagined myself wandering in crowds of people, sitting in the back of stadium-size classrooms. I saw myself moving dark and small, unwanted, out of place among the world’s financial and intellectual elite like a raisin in the sun.

"But a degree from one of these schools is your ticket to anything, said my uncle in dismay. Your mother would have been so proud of you."

What he didn’t understand was that, at that point, I didn’t actually want to do anything. I just wanted to hide. I wanted to find a safe place and disappear inside it. I didn’t want to Achieve Great Things or Make Everyone Proud or Prove Them All Wrong. I just wanted to be left alone.

I chose Sacred Heart College in The Hollows, New York. And if everyone was disappointed that I had decided on a tiny but well-regarded liberal arts college in the middle of nowhere, no one was surprised. Everyone expected bad decisions and unpleasant outcomes from my side of the family, and this was the least of them.

The minute I stepped on the campus, small and isolated on 132 acres of land, I felt ensconced, secreted away. I wouldn’t be asked to do anything special here, I thought with relief. It wouldn’t be expected that I distinguish myself. This town, The Hollows, this school, would wrap themselves around me, and keep me safe. Just like I wanted. I was immediately accepted and I enrolled right away without a second thought.

New, gleaming buildings stood shoulder to shoulder with historic structures. A tall Norman tower stood at the center of the campus and loomed high as you pulled down the long, tree-lined drive up to campus. One was greeted on arrival by a rambling five-story colonial, which housed the president’s office and her staff. Students and faculty assembled there, in the grand foyer, for all parties and gatherings. There was a stone chapel where services were held. Alongside that, in the spring and summer, was an elaborate herb and vegetable garden. Because of the competitive equestrian team, there was also a stable of horses, as well as a small barn of animals—including laying hens and three milking cows.

Winding running paths laced through the acres of woods populated by oak and maple, sycamore and birch. The dormitory buildings—Evangeline, Dominica, Marianna, and Angelica—were four renovated Victorian-era mansions with barely a right angle between them. It was my dream of a college dorm, with curved baluster staircases, bay windows, restored woodwork. Imagine towers of bookshelves packed with leather-bound volumes, secret attic rooms, and tiny, winding back staircases. And yet we had high-speed wireless, cable, and laundry in the basement, all the modern conveniences.

The classroom buildings and library, science center, gymnasium, and a newer dorm building were all gleaming glass and stone. Built to coordinate in essence with the older buildings, they seemed to mesh with rather than oppose the existing structures.

There was a part of me that hoped never to leave the safety and isolation of a school campus. Certainly, I knew it was possible; Langdon never had. He’d done his undergraduate work at Boston University. Then went on to get his master’s and his Ph.D. in childhood psychology, as well as his postdoctoral certificate in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Now, he was a full tenured professor here at Sacred Heart.

It’s a life sentence, he always joked.

He also worked as a clinical psychologist at the nearby hospital, and with troubled children at Fieldcrest. Fieldcrest was a school where children went when no one else would take them anymore—bring me your bipolar, your ADHD, your raging, your callous-unemotional.

I’d done several internships with Langdon at the school—art therapy, some poetry with the least disturbed of the kids. I could see myself following his path. I could see myself helping people in a significant way doing something like that. And I made the mistake of saying so over Christmas break. The leaden silence that followed was almost a scream.

Oh, but, said my aunt with that strained smile she always seemed to wear when I was around. There are so many other things you could do.

I felt myself bristle. My cousin Rose was at FIT; she wanted to be a fashion designer. My other cousin Lily (I know. My aunt is really into gardening) was studying film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. They were bright and creative and gorgeous, both of them, full of life and energy and promise. Maybe that was because my aunt had created her life, as she was so fond of saying, and my mother had most certainly not created hers. But I wasn’t Bridgette’s child, was I?

I want to help people, I said weakly. My mother wanted me to help people.

Your mother wanted you to be happy and free and safe, said Bridgette with uncommon passion. She was usually so careful with me, so gentle. I always wondered if she wasn’t a little afraid of me, of what she might see if she pushed me too hard.

I don’t know what that means, I said.

My uncle and my two cousins had drifted from the room, presumably to play with their new iPads. We’d all gotten one from Santa.

"It means that you don’t spend your whole life with psychopaths, she said. This time she nearly shouted. And then she covered her mouth and bowed her head, blond waves bouncing, diamonds glittering. I’m sorry."

The Christmas tree was glimmering, the fire crackling (even though we were in Florida with the a/c cranking—I mean, come on, the planet, people!). A low strain of classical music—Mozart, Beethoven, who knows?—was coming from the mounted speakers. We sat on chintz sofas, leaning against perfectly coordinated throw pillows. I caught sight of myself in the mirror, a slim black line with folded hands and furrowed brow, an ink stain on cream silk.

But what if . . . I started to say. I hadn’t voiced this thought to anyone. And I almost didn’t want to. She stared at me expectantly, eyes wide open and caring.

What if ? she said. She was eager to make a connection to me, always had been. It was I who pushed her away, rebuffing her with chilly politeness and icy platitudes.

"What if I could help someone? I said. What if I could keep someone from doing something horrible?"

We locked eyes—hers a deep blue, mine coal black. Each of us had endured horrors most people don’t allow themselves to imagine. And so when we looked at each other, we could hardly see through all of it. But I saw her that afternoon. I saw how frightened and sad she was at her core, and that all the prettiness with which she surrounded herself was a kind of armor. Behind it, a little girl’s heart beat fast with terror and grief.

Then you’re a stronger person than I am.

We both knew it was true, so I didn’t bother to argue. When I saw her start to cry, I moved beside her and put my arms around her and she kissed my head. We stayed like that for a while with nothing resolved between us.

Come with a purpose and find your path. That was the school motto, and I’d had it ringing in my ears since I’d returned from break. Not that babysitting was exactly my path. But, for whatever reason, as I rode my bike through the crisp air down the winding road that led out of the school, and onto the street that would take me to town, I felt infused with a new forward momentum.

Skylar was right; it felt good to seek to do something, whatever it was. If not for the job interview, I’d have been buried in a book or at the gym, killing time until classes started. My suite mates weren’t back yet, so I didn’t even have their various girl dramas to entertain me—boys, and who said what on Facebook, and Lana, can you write my essay for me?

The Kahns’ house stood white and pretty, a small colonial just off the square. People in The Hollows called this area Soho, short for south Hollows. There were wreaths with white lights and red bows in each window—the remnants of Christmas past—black shutters and a shiny, red door. My aunt would have no doubt reminded me that red was an auspicious color and that a red door meant opportunity in the world of feng shui. I thought about texting her, just to be nice. But then, of course, I didn’t. I walked up the gray-painted steps to the front door and used the brushed gold knocker in absence of a bell.

I waited a moment and listened to a lone bird singing in the tree above me. I looked up at him, a gray-and-black sparrow sitting on a branch.

What happened? I asked him. Why didn’t you fly south for the winter?

He whistled at me long and low, annoyed as if I’d asked an embarrassing question that he would be compelled to answer out of politeness. We count so much on politeness, those of us who are hiding things. We count on people not staring too long, or asking too many questions. Finally, after a brief standoff, he flew away.

Thirty seconds passed, then a minute. Wondering if I’d gotten the time wrong, I knocked again. Then I heard the staccato rhythm of heels on hardwood, and the door flew open. She was tiny and powerful, like a ballerina, with dark hair pulled back into a tight bun. Her pale face was a spotlight and I felt the sear of her assessing gaze just briefly before she smiled. Unconsciously, my shoulders slouched a little, arching my body away from her gaze, as I am prone to do under

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  • (4/5)
    There appears to be two separate stories going on simultaneously which made it a little difficult to follow. The ending however, was not what I expected at all. I did enjoy it once I got into it.
  • (5/5)
    In this book we meet university student, Lana Granger, who seems to be working hard to put her traumatic past behind her. Her father is in prison, convicted of killing her mother. Lana remembers some of the details of that night but knows that she's blocked out others. At her counselor's suggestion she takes on a part time job looking after Luke, a local boy with some behavioral issues who has been expelled from several schools. From the beginning of the book, we know Lana is lying about things. She even admits it numerous times throughout her narrative. When her best friend, Beck, disappears she lies about everything connected with the events leading up to the disappearance. Despite the evidence pointing at Lana's direction, I was sympathetic towards Lana. At this point I was desperate to believe she was not involved. Interspersed with Lana's story are diary entries from an unknown woman that add extra layers to this incredible psychological thriller. This book was cleverly written and the author kept up the suspense by slowly revealing clues along the way. I listened to the audio narrated by Gretchen Mol and Candace Thaxton and it is one of the best audios I've ever experienced. It's an adrenaline filled story which never lets up. I never wanted it to end, even though I wanted to know how it ended. It's too early in the year to predict what my favorite books will be, but I can't imagine this won't be among them.
  • (4/5)
    If, like me, you read a lot of these things, it’s clear Unger doesn’t do anything terribly original in her books, but damn do they suck me in. I hope this is deliberate on her part; to give us a taste of something we already like and combine that with clear writing and clues that keep a reader feeling smart. I don’t know how to feel about that part. Should I enjoy it or feel manipulated? I guess that’s a thriller writer’s job. Whether by my smarts or her design, I had the whole plot figured out by the end. It was a tangled web and one made more snarled by lies and deliberate omissions. There is enough to put it together though - the unidentified diarist is Lana’s mother which means that she is disguised as a girl or is trans. Then after a bit it becomes clear that Lana’s dad is also Luke’s dad and that Rachel was the woman he was having an affair with long ago (at the time Lana’s mother is killed and her father convicted of the crime). So they’re ½ brothers. The remaining question is who is helping Luke? A kid like that is supervised nearly all the time and so the only real suspect is Langdon. We’re left to wonder why and that does come out of left field a bit.As in We Need to Talk About Kevin, the heart of the story goes to whether monsters are made or born. Unger seems to take the born side of the argument and plants a psychotic family tree for which the boys to fruit from. She makes Lana/Lane a bit more sympathetic since he eventually straightens out and stops being a monster. He’s damaged and knows it. Luke on the other hand revels in his ability to hurt and manipulate and get away with it (the collusion with Langdon was extra tangled and creepy; who was manipulating who?). With Rachel in the picture as Lana/Lane’s mom’s real killer, it seems to seal his fate and I had zero sympathy with Luke. I had more for Lana/Lane although the diary was a bit hard to read. Made me glad once again that I am child free. And I did like the checkmate at the end. It’s nice to get some reader satisfaction now and again.
  • (5/5)
    College senior Lana Granger has constructed her future by lying about her past. Shortly after she begins babysitting a manipulative eleven-year-old boy, her best friend Beck mysteriously disappears. Eyewitnesses say Lana was the last person to see Beck. She finds herself telling more lies - to the police, to friends, to herself. She's trying to keep things together especially now that she knows there's someone out there who's trying hard to expose her secrets.

    This was good! It was a page-turner with lots of suspense and twists and turns. I really appreciate the creativity that went into this book. I enjoyed uncovering all of Lana's secrets and learning why she wanted so desperately to bury her past.
  • (5/5)
    IN THE BLOOD is the first book by Lisa Unger I've read (or listened to), and I was completely wowed! It's hard to convey how much I loved this book. It was so good. The story is told from the point of view of Lana Granger, a college student whose best friend Beck goes missing. Lana is a self-professed liar with a past full of secrets, so can the reader really trust what she says? You gotta love those unreliable narrators!As the search for Beck is on, Lana becomes wrapped up in this demented game with Luke, a troubled child that she's been hired to care for. Lana doesn't know what Luke's ultimate goal is with the game, but she can't resist playing along and finding out what he knows. Putting it mildly, Luke has issues. He's a master manipulator, very intelligent with psychopathic tendencies. Luke's character gave me chills, and my heart went out to his scared and emotionally exhausted mother Rachel.IN THE BLOOD was a gripping psychological thriller filled with shocking twists and turns. I had to pause more than once for a jaw-dropping "O.M.G." moment. Just when I thought I'd put the pieces of the puzzle together...nope! I was proven wrong. I love books that can really mess with my mind. This book addresses the question if "evil" can be inherited, and if it is "in the blood," can it be overcome?The audiobook was narrated by Candace Thaxton and Gretchen Mol, and both performances were amazing. Ms. Thaxton narrated from Lana's POV, and Ms. Mol read the part of a mystery woman writing in her journal. They both did a great job capturing the essence of their characters. I could really hear the tension, fear, and desperation in their voices, perfect for this thriller. Highly recommended!Source: Review copy from the publisher
  • (4/5)
    Lisa Unger’s latest psychological thriller has the reader questioning if sociopaths and psychopaths made or born? Can they be helped, can they live normal lives, or will they always pose a threat to others?The narrative alternates between the first person of college student Lana Granger and the diary entries of an unnamed woman. Lana is an enigmatic protagonist. Unger gives us glimpses of her tragic past, and its effects on the person she has become while hinting there is something more we don’t know about her, a secret even more shocking than the murder of her mother by her father.None of the characters can be trusted and almost all of the readers assumptions about them will prove wrong. The novel is populated with broken people who don’t behave or react in ordinary ways, who lie without affect and who lack the basic traits, such as empathy, that define our humanity.The plot is undeniably clever with twists and turns to surprise and shock but I have to admit overall I think it was all too neat somehow and while the suspense was there, I think a sense of urgency was lacking somewhat. I’m reluctant to reveal too much as it is essential the story unfolds without any foreshadowing.In The Blood is a gripping read, well crafted and chilling. This psychological thriller will grab you from the first page and not let go til the very last.
  • (4/5)
    Oftentimes when a book is hyped a great deal it can have the opposite effect on readers. This is especially true with thrillers. If I’m told (multiple times) that “you’ll never see it coming” or “you’ll never figure it out” I’m likely to read the book as if it were the text on how to crack the Powerball lottery code. I WILL figure it out. Or so I thought until I read In the Blood: A Novel, the newest novel from Lisa Unger. It’s the story of awkward and androgynous Lana whose personal life, coupled with her personality, has made the years leading up to college traumatic. Her father is on death row for murdering her mother, an act he coerced the young Lana into helping him hide. This plus Lana’s odd quirks, genius level IQ and lack of emotional affect have contributed to her desire for isolation. Despite a brilliant mind she chooses a small quiet college in upstate New York and decides to study child psychology with a focus on troubled children, largely because she wonders if she “...could keep someone from doing something horrible?”As she heads into her final semester Lana takes a job as an afternoon sitter for an eleven-year-old boy named Lucas. During her interview with the boy’s mother she learns that the child is not all that different from the way she was as a child: manipulative, brilliant, possessive, and sometimes violent. He attends a day school designed to help troubled children and although he is old enough to stay alone after school his mother is afraid of the trouble he might get into. Upon meeting Lucas, Lana realizes that he is indeed much as she was, until the right doctors and medication were able to help balance her mind.As Lana works with Lucas she is also grappling with her sexuality and her friendship with one of her roommates. When that roommate goes missing and Lucas invites Lana to a treasure hunt that echoes her own past to an eerie degree, she begins to find herself out-maneuvered and boxed in at the same time. Her mental equilibrium is stretched even further when her psychiatrist lets her know that her father is trying to contact her from death row. With each of these elements Unger ratchets up the suspense, taking the novel and Lana’s nerves to the breaking point. As the novel progresses, Unger parses clues in a way so devious it allows the reader to think they’ve got everything figured out but this is unlikely. Instead, her talent allows some light to get through the intricate plot while leaving plenty of darkness in the final chapters. In the Blood is a twisty tale where nothing is as it seems (or is it?) and yet the title says it all. Suffice it to say…I was surprised.
  • (4/5)
    This was the first book I read by Lisa Unger. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in abnormal psychology or psychopathy. Some of the twists were a little improbable, but it definitely held my attention. She seems like a gifted suspense writer, and the characters are compelling.
  • (5/5)
    The review I read in the Washington Post was so good I couldn't pass up "in the Blood", despite my usual dislike of psychological thrillers. What a great novel! Though I read close to 100 books a year, I rarely (once a year?) stay up late to finish a story - but I just couldn't stop. And at the very beginning, I was not many pages into the book when I knew with dead certainty that this was a winner. The prose is just excellent. Unger offers many little observations of life and relationships, all integral to the story, that really resonate. The pace is brisk and the story really zips along. All of the characters are very interesting, and there are a couple of kids who are particularly creepy. There are 2 or 3 story lines and they mesh very well by the books end. The protagonist is a young woman studying psychology at a small college in New York state. To make a little money she interviews to babysit an 11 year old boy after school; he is the only child of single Mom Rachel who has just moved to town and opened a new bookstore. It's not long before the sparks begin to fly and the tension mounts. I would strongly suggest to any prospective readers that you do not read any detailed reviews; the less known about this story and its themes, the better off you are. This is my first Lisa Unger and now I will check out a potential treasure trove of her earlier books. This is my best read for quite a while!
  • (4/5)
    Lana Grange has a lot of problems, not the least of which, her mother is dead, murdered by her father, who now sits on death row. She’s a trust fund baby, but she’s been told she needs to get a job so she can find herself. The job she lands, at the recommendation of her college professor, as a sitter for an eleven year old genius who can romp her at chess, turns out to be more of a challenge than expected, but also strangely suitable. Luke has a few issues of his own, as his cowed mother, and the lock on the outside of his bedroom door attest to. But Lana isn’t entirely bothered by any of this. She was a problem kid herself, and in a weird way, she likes the challenge.

    Most people don’t see me. But there are always those that do, usually mothers. They see what I am trying to hide, even if they’re not quite sure what it is they’re seeing. I can tell by the way they can’t pry their eyes away. With my innocuous, androgynous wardrobe, my slight frame, my plain face, I usually just blend. Neither boys nor girls usually give me a second look. But sometimes, the sensitive, the keenly observant…they see me.

    We quickly begin to doubt that Lana, as the narrator, is being completely honest; she hints at troubling secrets and a spotty memory of events. Though she tries to blend, there’s something off about her; something not quite right. Perhaps it’s only that she was forced to watch her father dig a grave for her murdered mother out in the woods, and coerced into lying for him to the police.

    Or maybe not. When Lana’s friend Beck goes missing the police have questions. She was the last person to see Beck, and this is not the first time a girl’s gone missing after last being seen with Lana.

    Is the prey complicit in its own demise? Are we not seduced in some small way by the beauty, the grace, even the dangerous soul of the predator? Do we not look into its eyes and see something that entices, even hypnotizes us?

    Interspersed with Lana’s first person narration are epistolary segments told by an unidentified mother with a new baby who doesn’t seem normal. And as the baby grows his behavior becomes even more odd and worrisome. The story in the diary begins to mirror what is going on in the present of the story; just who is doing what, and to whom? Who is predator, and who prey?

    Steeped in the lexicon and acronyms of abnormal psychology; ADHD, OCD, manic depression, bipolar, callous-unemotional, Lisa Unger’s In the Blood will send you to Google at least once, guaranteed. An old school psychological thriller with a fresh new feel.
  • (4/5)
    Lana Granger is not your typical college student. She has friends, goes to the occasional party, and even joins in on the occasional pub crawl. What she doesn't do is date . . . ever! Lana is a senior at Sacred Heart College in The Hollows, New York. Her major is psychology, she's somewhat androgynous in appearance, not really a nerd or geek, but she does have a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She avoids opening up to anyone, including her suite mates. Lana's background is filled with horror. Her maternal grandfather was a convicted mass murderer. Her father is a convicted murderer and is on death row. Not many know these details of Lana's past, except her best friend - Rebecca "Beck" Miller, her college advisor - Prof. Langdon Hewes, her family, and her psychologist - Dr. Maggie Cooper. Now that Beck is missing, Lana is targeted by the police as a suspect if not key person of interest due to the lies of omission she has told. It also appears that Lana's family secrets are about to be revealed. If that's not enough to deal with, Lana has an afternoon job taking care of an emotionally troubled, highly gifted, and potentially violent eleven-year-old, Lucas "Luke" Kahn, and she’s just been informed that her father wants to have contact before his execution. Lana feels that she can help Luke, but he seems to be keeping secrets not just from her, but from his mother, his educators, and his counselors. Everyone has secrets, but Lana's secrets might be hazardous to her health.Ms. Unger has crafted an amazing psychological thriller with In the Blood. The reader is provided a glimpse into the psychology of a psychopath, especially a child psychopath with Luke. He comes across as highly intelligent, but he's also very manipulative and vindictive in his outlook. The reader is also introduced to an anonymous journal kept by the mother of a highly disturbed male child. As the story unravels, the volatile relationship between Beck and Lana is revealed. It is also revealed that another classmate of Lana's disappeared and was found dead two years ago. Is it possible that Lana had something to do with both disappearances? Why does Lana's college advisor seem to pop-up whenever Lana goes out after Beck's disappearance? Why is Luke so interested in Lana and her past?I found In the Blood to be a gripping, emotionally stirring, and fast-paced read. I liked Lana and felt empathetic toward the problems she was enduring in college. I felt sorry over the fact that she couldn't really open up emotionally toward her family or friends. I never really liked Luke or Professor Hewes, as I felt they were both playing mind games with Lana. (Were they in reality doing this, read the book to find out?!) Beck had a history of running away, so at first I wasn't quite sure what was going on with her disappearance. It is clear that Lana really liked her suite-mate, even though they didn't agree on everything. The ending is quite a surprise and neatly ties up all of the "loose-ends" throughout the storyline. I felt the characters were realistic and well developed, and the action quite plausible. This was one read that I didn't want to end. If you enjoy reading thrillers with a twist, then In the Blood is definitely one you'll want to read.
  • (4/5)
    In the Blood is the first book by Lisa Unger that I've read - not sure how I've missed her all this time because she writes killer good suspense. In an updated version of The Bad Seed, Ms. Unger asks the question - Is evil and violence inherited and inherent - captured in our genes, impossible to overcome.Lana Granger is a complicated and interesting character whose life is filled with deceptions and mirrors - in some ways she's like a set of funhouse mirrors - distorting and reflecting back over and over again until you can't quite get a sense of where you are or who you are or what's going on. When her advisor gets her a job as a babysitter for a troubled young man named Luke everything becomes more and more twisty and confusing. Who's playing who? And why?In the Blood is a satisfying suspense thriller with so many twists and turns that it keeps you guessing long past your bedtime. A fun, fun read.
  • (4/5)
    This is Lana's story of living lies to protect herself from her past. She is about to graduate and needs a job. She finds a job babysitting Luke who has mental health problems. She is also trying to find her missing friend Beck, who she left in the woods after having sex. There are many twists and turns in this book but you root for Lana to find the truth. There are a couple of hints that things are not what they seem but that just helps with mystery. The ending is a surprise but if I had looked at the hints differently I would have figured it out. Good mystery, with insight into mental health issues and nature versus nurture.
  • (5/5)
    Lana has a past that doesn't want to be discovered. When she takes a job babysiting and her friend Beck disappears, a twisted game of treasure hunt is unravelling pieces of her past and is connected to the disappearance of her friend.

    Twisted, suspensful. Thsi book keeps you guessing every chapter!
  • (5/5)
    In the Blood by Lisa Unger is a complex, suspenseful psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the end: Very Highly Recommended.

    Lana Granger is a gifted student who is a senior in childhood psychology at Sacred Heart College in The Hollows of upstate New York. Lana herself intimates right at the beginning that there are secrets about her that no one knows and she plans to keep her secrets. We soon learn that her mother is dead and her father is on death row for the murder. We know that she was a troubled child. But it appears that Lana is doing well now if she can just keep walking the tightrope of lies she has told.

    Lana's psychology professor and mentor, Langdon Hewes, encourages her to apply for a babysitting job. It all seems innocent enough. Rachel Kahn needs someone to babysitting her volatile, gifted, emotionally disturbed 11-year-old son, Luke. Luke attends a nearby school for disturbed children during the day but his mother just needs a little help with him before she gets home from work. Lana and Luke immediately feel an unspoken bond with each other. While Lana's troubles are being resolved with therapy and medication, Luke seems to be much more out of control and beyond the reach of help than Lana was at his age.

    When Lana's roommate, Becky, is reported as missing she is the second girl that Lana has known at college who has disappeared. As the investigation to find Becky picks up speed, Luke is playing a strange game with Lana that is taking a strange turn.

    The narrative switches back and forth between two stories. The main story which is the bulk of the plot is that of Lana. The alternate narrative is in the form of diary entries by an unnamed mother with a very troubled son. Unger does a magnificent job pacing the plot. Both narratives slowly reveal more facts and troubling information, which slowly allows the reader more enlightenment to discern what may really be going on. But be forewarned: There is a brilliant twist to the plot.

    The writing was simply excellent. I loved the alternating stories between Lana's problems and the diary entries. I liked the character of Lana even when I didn't like her and knew she was hiding something. She admitted she was a liar and had secrets right at the beginning. I was impressed with In the Blood right to the ending where it took a completely unexpected turn.

    Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Touchstone via Netgalley for review purposes

  • (5/5)
    This book had just the right mixture of reality and spookiness to draw me in right away. The seemingly unconnected strands of the plot are each individually interesting enough to keep the reader turning the pages, and everything comes together at the end, even if some of it feels a tad far fetched. I guessed the twist from an early stage - I've read another book that uses almost the exact same plot device, and I wasn't fooled! But it was a good twist nonetheless.
  • (2/5)
    A psychological thriller. Not my cup of tea.
  • (4/5)
    There is absolutely no question that this author has gotten the recipe down for outstanding thrillers and mysteries. This one is no exception, twists and turns galore, a few I did not guess until just before the reveal. Interesting, actually very interesting and complex characters and a very unique setting which she has used before, "The Hollows."Of course there is the little cynic in me that kept thinking this was an updated version of the novel and movie, "The Bad Seed" and had to laugh when near the end of the book, a newspaper heading, screams, "The Bad Seed." Also maybe a few too many psychopaths in one place, really makes one wonder how many are actually out there and how easily they manage to find each other. Scary. Also the inner dialogues of Lane, while interesting at times, almost bordered on preachy.So despite my inner cynic, this quickly paced novel, kept me turning the pages to find out how this was all going to end. Have to admit I loved it.ARC from NetGalley.
  • (4/5)
    IN THE BLOOD By Lisa Unger“Leroy give me those shoes. I want those shoe,s they are mine!” Eight year old Rhoda Penmark screams at the top of her lungs to Leroy the janitor in her building, later that day she set him on fire while he sleeps. Those words resonate from THE BAD SEED by William March. The novel written in the 50’s was first a stage play then an over hyped bad movie. The tag line on the movie poster stated NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE THEATER DURING THE LAST 5 MINUTES OF THE MOVIE!!! Who would want to go to a film just for the last remaining minutes of any film? Anyway, the reason for the above rambling was to introduce how rarely an author with any talent can explore just what makes a child evil. Is it bred in the bone from birth or does it happen due to their environment? The only other author to ever achieve a plausible and horrifying explanation to that question is the fine writer Laura Lippman and her stand alone thriller EVERY SECRET THING. And now bestselling author Lisa Unger has created a thriller very closely woven with the idea of what makes a child evil.IN THE BLOOD was a wonderful way to spend my New Year’s Eve after everyone in the house was asleep. So tightly paced and unflinchingly dark I was drawn in right from the first page.Lana Granger has so many secrets she has trouble knowing what is real and what isn’t. Seven years ago her mother was murdered by her father and now she hides and resides at a small prestigious college in a town called The Hollows. At the suggestion of her advisor and friend Langston Hewes, Lana takes on a part time job caring for a very troubled eleven year old boy named Luke. At once charming and aloof Luke wants to unravel Lana’s secrets and force her to face all of her fears. At the same time Lana’s roommate and best friend Beck short for Rebecca vanishes one night after they have an argument witnessed by many. Two years before Lana’s friend Elizabeth vanished after a similar disagreement with an all together different outcome. So much insight into Lana’s self imposed nightmare caresses all who come into contact with her and no one is safe from the dark recesses of anger that trail her every moment. One last thing I have to add if I have to compare this novel to any other book I must say that IN THE BLOOD is this year’s GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. When the floor drops out of the reader they better hang on for dear life. WARNING: NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED DURING THE LAST 30 PAGES OF THIS FINE THRILLER!
  • (4/5)
    A very fast paced suspense read. Full of twists & turns. Recommended!
  • (5/5)
    5 Stars*I received this galley from NetGalley*Lana Granger lives a life of lies. Even for her the lies and reality have become a blur of confusion. When she learns that her trust fund is almost depleted right before college graduation she takes a job babysitting Luke, who she soon discovers, is a challenging child. His controlling and manipulative ways have gotten him expelled from almost every school he attends but he can’t get under her skin so easily. Then her best friend and roommate, Beck, goes missing. Suspicion surrounds Lana and her life of lies starts to unravel. She starts to put the pieces together but someone else seems to have all the answers already.If I could have stopped all outside interference this book would not have been put down for more than a few minutes. I was drawn in and hooked right away. Since I tend to figure things out pretty quickly I need a novel like this that has subtle mysteries or twists that go along with the main plot. It’s the subtle points that surprise me and keep me on the edge of my seat. Pacing is very important in this genre and this one seems flawless in that regard. The characters are also very well developed for this plot. Dysfunctional protagonists are among my favorite to read and the psychological characteristics of all the characters made them more interesting. To sum it up; this novel is very well rounded.I really don’t have any complaints about this novel and will easily recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    One of the good things about reviewing books for Netgalley is that you get to encounter authors that you would not normally read for one reason or another. This is my first novel by Lisa Unger and I am sure it will not be my last.A truly interesting psychological thriller with many twists and turns. I love the way that the initial chapter reads like it is from the point of view of a male whilst the rest of the first part of the book is narrated by a female. Lisa knows her medium and makes words matter for her throughout this novel. In places the book is lyrical, sinister, childish and just plain enjoyable.I enjoyed the different characters of the book and how they interplayed with each other. However, I did find the main character a bit whingey and self-centered. I am not sure whether the fact that this character was asking questions that the reader should be asking themselves added anything to the plot. I did, however, like the little side mentions in the main narrative. It was as though the main character was speaking directly to the audience (saying things that I would say) and made me laugh out loud.The plot itself started out as a slow simmer but never developed into a full boil but it was intriguing enough to keep this reader interested until the end. One interesting ploy was the use of the story together with first person narrative which enables two story lines to merge into one. In essence this book questions the every present psychological debate of nature verses nurture and leans on definitively errs to one side of this argument.I am not one of those readers that is always able to guess ‘Who did it’ but in this instance even after a couple of chapters I managed to guess part of the plotline. And at 77% I guessed the protagonist who wrote the diary that was used throughout the book. At 79% I guess the connection with her professor just before the reveal. The final twists though I did not manage but feel that these were two twists too far!One negative was the repetitiveness employed in the book. In the first two main chapters the internships that the main character completed were mentioned a total of four times which I thought was a tad too much, surely once is enough. Another negative was the lack of urgency in one of the plot lines which nullified some of the intensity of the novel.My particular favourite genres are murder mysteries and especially psychological thrillers. I am however one of those readers that tends not to be able to guess ‘who did it’ until the character is revealed in the novel which was not the case here. That being said I would still recommend this book for people that enjoy this genre.Full Disclosure: I received a free ARC from Netgalley for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    Probably if more people had more time to read all the new books that are published every year, IN THE BLOOD would have won the Goodreads Choice Award in its category for 2014. This book is a five-star unputdownable mystery/thriller.Reviews of this book that try to avoid spoilers will tell you this is about a collage-age girl, Lana, who takes a job babysitting an emotionally disturbed 11-year-old boy after he gets home from school. While I applaud a book review that doesn't give away the story, those reviews don't say enough. This is also the mystery of Lana's life. As a matter of fact, this is even more about Lana than you will realize until the end.I usually prefer mysteries/thrillers that are just as much mysteries to the main characters as they are to me so that we discover them together. The style Lisa Unger chooses in IN THE BLOOD is MOSTLY facts already known by the main characters but not by the reader so that only the reader discovers mysteries. But Unger presents the mysteries and their solutions so skillfully that she grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go.My only problems with this book are editorial. Sometimes quotations are in quotation marks, sometimes they are in italics. The editor should have picked one style and stuck with it. Also, sometimes a past-tense verb is used when it should be present tense. Most people won't notice these editorial slipups.
  • (5/5)
    A compelling, dark psychological thriller, In the Blood is told through college student Lana’s first-person narrative. Lana is a girl with a troubled past. Her father was convicted of murder – she barely remembers her parents and what happened the horrible night her mother died. With secrets of her own and a desire to get a fresh start in a place where no one knows her past, she is likely an unreliable narrator. When Luke, the child she babysits begins to act like a psychopath and her roommate disappears, the action accelerates.This fast-paced, well-plotted novel never slows down and keeps the reader guessing straight through to the riveting conclusion and a series twists – one that I almost didn’t see coming.Audio production:The book is co-narrated by Gretchen Mol and Candace Thaxton who expertly bring the story to life, keeping the pace moving and the tension high.
  • (4/5)
    Effective psychological thriller with interesting characters.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book. I kind of figured things out early on but I loved seeing it turn out the way I thought it would. Certainly a great read.
  • (5/5)
    A real thriller brings you deeper and deeper into it as you read.
  • (1/5)
    It started interesting and the trip was interesting for a while. Then the story started to sputtered, and cough, and choke, and my patience drove me to skimming. Next I am just skipping whole paragraphs in an attempt to get to the reveal before my journey falls dead at my feet. At the time I could not quite put my finger on why this was happening. In retrospect, I think this was partly due to the ping pong game between past and present. Another thing was the first person narrative: we are shown she has so much to hide and she cannot reveal any of it to any other characters or the reader, or maybe she should, no not yet, but what about now, yes sure, oh wait no not yet...see what I mean. Another sputter on the way to choking was the diary; I knew it was going to play some important role as a reveal device to the reader, but I did not like the way it was written. Really bogged down the pace, like walking toward a mountain: you never seem to get closer. The diary is a perfect example of what I mean about too much past/present bouncing. I kept waiting for the diary to catch up to more current events. That journey was taking way too long; I started skipping whole chapters. Finally, I just went to the back of the book for the reveal. Eh.
  • (5/5)
    This story is full of surprises. Nothing is as it seems to be. The main character, Lana, isn't really a Lana, and that is what drives the entire book. It gave up its' secrets slowly, and that is what kept me reading.
  • (3/5)
    I was really in the mood for a good book when I began "In the Blood."The complex story tells of Lana Granger, a college student who has a limited trust fund. The manager of the trust advises her to get a job to supplement the trust income, something easy to do while she continues her studies. She sees a notice about a babysitting job and accepts the position.Luke is the boy Lana will be taking care of. He's age eleven and has a troubled past. He's been expelled from numerous schools and is a demanding and controlling boy.Lana's own life has been a nightmare. There is a major memory of her mother's death and now her college roommate, Beck, disappears. Beck (short for Rebecca) is also Lana's best friend.The reader learns that Lana is a habitual liar so it's difficult to know when to believe her. There are questions about Beck's disappearance and that of another girl a few years before. Lana's reaction to these incidents don't seem to make her very upset. She comes across as a self centered and selfish woman. She is also hard to like.However, as the reader learns more about her past, feelings change. There are some surprises to the story and one of them had me wondering how it could be possible.Luke, although only eleven, seems to make Lana do his bidding and I found this unlikely.Overall, not many likable characters. The story does move fast but I wish there was more to it.