Thursday, December 24, 2015

Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Thicker Than Water
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: 29 December 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

I received this book through NetGalley from Kensington for review.

On his own.

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers….Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…
(summary from Goodreads)

With some great characters, intense mystery and a surprising twist, Thicker Than Water is a mile a minute read.

Thicker Than Water is immediately captivating. I loved Thomas, the emotion of his story is visceral. From the very beginning I was invested in the mystery of his mother's murder and the pain Thomas felt, at not only having lost her, but being alone and surrounded by people who don't even know him and yet are so sure he committed the atrocious act. It's these two things that resonated with me the most. The anger Thomas felt, and that I in turn felt, at how quick the townspeople are to judge! I swear, I was fuming so often reading this book, wanting to jump through the pages and slap some sense into people! Instead I got hooked on wanting to know what really happened to Thomas's mother and to the young girl murdered a couple of years earlier; to having Thomas vindicated. I expected a little more in terms of Lilly, to be honest, as the blurb says she was Charlotte's best friend, but that wasn't actually the case. The truth of who committed the murders was both shocking and slightly off-putting. The thing is, I wasn't expecting the paranormal element. I figured this book was a contemporary murder mystery, and as that it was brilliant, so the paranormal aspect threw me, I admit. I'm still unsure how I feel about it. It completely changed the story in my opinion, and while it definitely wasn't bad, being unprepared for it meant I was knocked out of the story, as it were, and I found it hard to rally for the last part of the novel. I simply wasn't as invested as I had been. What Kemmerer does well is keep the pace fast so that the story just moves and moves though, and keeps the intensity high. The emotion, the mystery, the tension, that all still packs a punch. I was still not entirely satisfied with the ending though. With the paranormal shock coming in pretty much as the last act, a world of questions was opened and no answers truly given. I got the sense - and I hope it's so - that Thicker Than Water is the first in a series. If that is the case, I'll definitely be looking forward to reading more.

I'd like to read more about Thomas. Kemmerer offers hints of what's waiting now that Thomas knows the truth and there's no doubt the emotional roller coaster of Thomas's  story could continue in some interesting ways. Thicker Than Water alternates between Thomas and Charlotte's point of views, and Charlotte's story definitely has a lot more to it too. There's some truths there that have barely even been touched on so I'd be intrigued to learn more about Charlotte. Plus I'd really, really like to see her assert herself with her family! I like that Charlotte and her brothers are quite close, but the way her entire family treats her, like they're stuck way back when and the only place for a female is the kitchen and as a wife and mother really got on my nerves. Charlotte showed some fantastic attitude and ability here and there, so I get the feeling if she truly came into her own, I'd cheer. I think I'd just enjoy reading about her brothers being knocked down a peg or two...or three, period. Their actions in relation to Thomas seriously pissed me off. It doesn't matter that technically Kemmerer provided a reason, I am not a fan of the Rooker brothers! Thicker Than Water is not good for brothers, really. It is pretty good with other secondary characters, like Stan and Nicole. I felt for Stan and loved that he was just such a good guy. I have high hopes for him and Thomas to form a sincere and close relationship. As for Nicole, she's sassy and I always love the sassy ones! She made me grin and I liked the contrast between her and Charlotte. Kemmerer has created some genuine and memorable characters - and some douches. I'm not letting it go!

Thicker Than Water is a fast paced and gripping paranormal read. I wish I'd have realised it was paranormal early on, but anyone interested in contemporary murder mysteries or a touch of the supernatural will be thrilled with this one. 



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