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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tess bonn
I'm one of those people who reads books generally from the same group of authors...Sanford, Patterson, Lisa Gardner, Stuart Woods. They're safe bets for a good read and if your reading time is limited you tend to stick with what you know. Thanks to Pixel Of Ink I've been introduced to some really great new (to me) authors, Lisa Unger being my latest pleasant surprise addition. This is an easy read with such imaginative characters and story lines. If you love a good psychological mystery you're in for a treat. Can't wait to dig in to the rest of her treasure chest of books...its gonna be a good summer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
heather elaine
This reads like a fascinating case study in the vicissitudes of sociopathy and psychopathy. This author is very knowledgeable on this topic but does not deliver an information dump to the reader. Rather, she interweaves information with the story in a credible way. Fascinating really. A worthy read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ydis bjerre
This was the perfect book to be stuck in an airport-- it made the hours of killing time fly by. I hate comparing books to other books, but the best way I can think of describing "In the Blood" is if "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and "Gone Girl" had a book baby.

Told from the point of view of college-aged compulsive liar, Lana Granger, the plot's twist and turns will keep you frantically turning pages as each story arc neatly intersects and culminates in a crazy conclusion. Who is Lana? What is her past? Where is her missing friend? Is she lying to herself or just the reader?I don't want to give away any secrets, but while some might finds parts of the novel far-fetched, I was was so consumed by the story that I didn't even notice at the time.

Well-written, and a definite must for those that like psychological thrillers and blind-corner plot twists, I can't wait until my friends read this one so we can talk about it!
A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the “Alt-Right” (Kindle Single) :: Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries :: A Journey Through the Madness Industry - The Psychopath Test :: So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (2015-03-09) :: and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success - What Saints
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
mrfromage
The "story" is alright. BUT, there are just too many grammatical errors. These errors include the following:
1) Abusing the reflexive pronouns. This can spoil the entire book.
2) Not knowing the difference between affect and effect (one is a noun; the other is a verb).
3) Using "off of".
Why didn't the editor make the necessary corrections?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dayna bickham
Fast read. Enjoyed the twist and turns. I really hope she will write a sequel to this book. The story definitely could continue.
And I admit the creep factor in this book was enough to have me looking over my shoulder in the night.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
muddle head
This is th first Lisa unger I read. She was recommended to me awhile ago as an author I may enjoy. I liked the book and thought it was well written, but became frustrated with the sequencing of the clues etc. I am going to read at least another Lisa unger to determine if she's a favorite. I would recommend this book for a cold wintery nite or a long day is sunning at the beach.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lauren ashpole
I am a big Lisa Unger fan and have read, and loved everything she has written. This is my least favorite of any of her books, however. The first 1/3 of the book captured my attention and I couldn't put it down. As the book went on, however, I liked it less and less. The plot twist toward the end just didn't seem that interesting to me, and didn't add to the suspense for me.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
shay routh
In the Blood is a dark, disturbing book. It shares with us the mind of a deeply troubled young woman and the sadly twisted mother and psychopathic son she becomes involved with. The author presents the blackest protections of humanity and serves them on a platter that extols all that is evil. I had to call my book club and tell them I couldn't finish the book and wouldn't discuss it since there was nothing positive or uplifting I could possibly say. Yes, the author is literate and can write, but why bother - she has nothing good to say.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
paiige
Someone else had written that this novel was like a "Book Baby" between We Need to Talk About Kevin and Gone Girl. I agree. I read this book first and then decided to read Lisa Unger's previous novels, and this one is much superior. This is an enjoyable book.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
kasia klimiuk
I am a voracious reader, and I don't know how Ms. Unger has sold this book. This is the first book,I have read by the author, and my last. She has planted so may characters, twists, and mental disorders, in an array of plots, so far reaching, that they are not believable. My fourth graders could have written a better book.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
hei ar ludwig
I am a voracious reader, and I don't know how Ms. Unger has sold this book. This is the first book,I have read by the author, and my last. She has planted so may characters, twists, and mental disorders, in an array of plots, so far reaching, that they are not believable. My fourth graders could have written a better book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
clorissa rene hurst
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kamran hamid
This is one of those books after you read the first chapter you just have to know how it's going to end. This is the first book I've read from author Lisa Unger. It was also an amazing read. Chock full of suspense, and crazy twists and turns within a very dark plot. "In The Blood", introduces us to Lana Granger. Lana 21, has lost her mother years ago , and her father is on death row for killing her mother. Lana lives off a very generous trust fund. However, she's reached an age where the trust is greatly reduced until she turns 30. It's graduating college that triggers the lower trust payments. Lana is forced to go out and look for a job. Thanks to her college adviser Prof. Langdon Hewes, Lana gets an afternoon job "babysitting" young Luke Kahn. Luke 11, is a child with plenty of developmental problems, and attends a special school for difficult children. Luke in a word is just plain nasty to people. Incredibly Lana and Luke hit if off really well. However one dark afternoon Lana and her roommate Rebecca "Beck", have an argument in the school's library. Lana ended up storming out of the library with Beck trying to catch up. But that's the last time anyone had seen Beck. She'd vanished into thin air. The police were then involved. In a plot where what your reading really may or may not be happening the curiosity heightens with each passing page. Somehow Lana, and Luke are connected, and Langdon seems to want to involve himself too much. With the great search on for Beck, Lana slowly is coming apart little by little. Lana's soul begins to become exposed little by little by the oddest of circumstances. "In The Blood", was one of those books where it was just impossible to break off in a good spot. I had to keep going back and reading book until I finished it. An extremely fast paced 340 pages that fly very very quickly I had this read in just over two sittings. The way the plot evolves and then twists it's way to the conclusion was excellent. A very enjoyable read start to finish, I'm giving it four stars out of a possible five stars. I thought the characters needed a bit more depth. Unless that's what the author was going for to keep the ending a surprise. I'm not to sure. But I'd highly recommend this read to those who love a good suspense thriller. It delivers quite well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joan d agostino
Lana Granger is a trust fund baby who has been studying for years, tucked away in a small college and a small town. Here, hidden away, secrets can be kept. However, it has been suggested to Lana that it would be a good idea to get a part time job and, Langdon Hewes, Lana’s student advisor, points out one particular position on the list of ‘easy jobs for over-privileged youth.’ Single mother, Rachel Kahn, is looking for a helper for her troubled son, Luke. Luke is attending Fieldcrest – a special school that Lana had volunteered at and where Langdon also works. Luke is eleven, highly intelligent and extremely manipulative. Before long he is attempting to involve Lana in a game of his invention. Then Lana’s college roommate, Beck, goes missing and events from the past and the present begin to collide...

This is a really fast paced thriller, with lots of great twists and turns. Along we way we read of Lana’s flashbacks from her childhood, as well as diary entries – although we are never really sure of who they relate to until near the end of the book. Lana is a troubled character, with long held secrets, repressed memories and the fear of being discovered. Luke is only a child, but it is soon apparent that Rachel is nervous of him and that he and Lana are engaged in a battle of wills. The author cleverly raises the tension as we wonder who is really manipulating who , and who is responsible for Beck’s disappearance. I have never read anything by Lisa Unger before, but I enjoyed the setting and characters and would certainly be interested in reading more of her work.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, for review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
macia noorman
I wish to thank the author and publisher for the review copy of "In the Blood" by Lisa Unger via Netgalley. I have to admit that I was so impressed with this excellent dark psychological suspense thriller. This novel has it all, and had me gripped right from the beginning.

"It was all a game...and he had won. He had exposed her secrets."

Lana Granger lives a life of lies...what web of lies we weave! She had come from a dysfunctional family, with her mother murdered and her father in prison charged with her death. Lana, a psych major, chose to go to college at a liberal arts college, in New York, where she would feel safe. With her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke, a special needs boy. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to controlling the people in his life.

Luke is a smart, gifted, crafty and confident. He loves to play games, and win by his rules. He is a psychopath, and can figure you out, your needs, in order to get what he wants from you. Luke has his own desires, no feelings...he is a Manipulator!

Lana has a troubled past – she blocks out a lot of it and is in constant therapy. As she tries to come to terms with herself and what she has suffered, she now takes on the role of child minder to Luke – another troubled soul. As the two of them play a truly twisted game of cat and mouse, hidden secrets begin to emerge.

But then Lana's best friend, Beck didn't show up for class, and foul play was suspected, as her bag was found in the trees leading away from the campus library. This was the second girl that had gone missing from the same small university in two years. And both of them were connected to Lana. She was now a person of interest in the case. But then the game changed, and it was now a matter of life and death.

This is a multi layered fast-paced novel with fascinating realistic emotional characters. There was such depth to the characters, and I felt empathy for the mother that assumed this life-time burden, and the victims that had been exposed to psychological trauma. I can feel their pain of learning to suppress their emotions as a means of survival.

"In the Blood" is an exceptional novel, and I would highly recommend this novel especially if you are a fan, of the psychological thriller.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shannon ziegler
In The Blood by Lisa Unger is a contemporary psychological suspense that takes your emotions for a roller coaster nonstop ride from beginning to end. It is surprise, secret, OMG, repeat! This book has won several awards and it highly deserves them all. Now I am going to have to go back and read all of her backlist because she has me fascinated with her writing.
A short overview because there are so many twists and secrets it is hard to review the plot without giving something away. The book starts with Lana Granger, a trust fund baby, at a small college in The Hollows in upstate New York studying psychology. Her advisor and mentor, Langdon Hewes, points out a babysitting job that she takes to earn pocket money and help out a single mother. Luke is no ordinary eleven year old. He is attending a school for gifted and severely troubled youth that Lana has had internships at. A game begins between Lana and Luke, Lana’s best friend, Beck, goes missing and everyone has agendas and secrets.
Ms. Unger’s writing is beautiful and compelling. The characters are able to captivate and surprise you even as at times they repel you. The isolated and wooded location also plays a part in this story. I cannot recommend this book enough! I was lucky enough to win this book in a contest and I am so happy that I did. I have already passed it on for more friends to read and enjoy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sandhya
Let’s face it. The book cover doesn’t scream, “READ ME!”. But….don’t let that deter you from reading it! Once you’ve read it, you will completely understand the cover and appreciate it that much more. This book is a traditional thriller book. It has mystery, electric energy that intensifies as each chapter is read, murder, possible suspects and motives, and psychological drama that will have your head spinning! It’s definitely one of my best picks for 2014, because it the kind of book that any reader will enjoy.

You love history? Check.

You love murder mystery? Check.

You love reading about an underdog protagonist that has a secret? Check.

You want to read a book that you won’t be able to put down? Check.

You want a book that has to deal with sociopaths, psychological issues? Check.

You want a book that intensifies as each chapter is read? Check.

This book has it all. There is so much detail, that Lisa Unger leaves no stone uncovered. She weaves this incredible story, with two alternating voices. Whose voice is the second? That ‘s one of the mysteries! I absolutely loved this book, couldn’t put it down, and read this book in 1 day. That is really unheard for me, and being sick, I actually read this book with a migraine. I literally read with one eye closed at times because my head hurt….but I needed to know what happened! Yeah, this book is that fantastic. Add it to your TBR list, or better yet, just stop what you are reading and grab this book! It’s that good.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
damon riley
In the Blood is a psychological thriller that really held my interest. The audio book was easy to listen to and quite enjoyable.

The story for the most part is told from the POV of Lana Granger, a psychology student at a small college. The reader learns early on that Lana had a rough childhood at the hands of an abusive father and that her mother is dead. Left with a trust fund that is all but depleted, she takes a job as a nanny for Luke, a young, trouble boy, who is more than his mother can handle. Luke's mother seems to have some secrets of her own and, it is easy to surmise that Lana is an unreliable narrator which makes this thriller all the more interesting and suspenseful. To add even another piece to this thriller, Lana's close friend Beck, goes missing at the beginning of the novel and Lana was the last person with her, so the police are anxious to question Lana about Beck's disappearance.

The way the story rolls out is not entirely smooth, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment. First we learn bits and pieces about Lana's terrible childhood, but never enough to know her whole story. Then we learn that she was the last person to see her best friend, and then there was her nanny job with a sometimes violent Luke. There were times when I wondered who had the most baggage and who was the most disturbed character in this thriller. I patiently waited to find out more about Lana's secret past.

Although I figured out some of this thriller, there were a few surprises. Lana was a terrific character, unlikable yet interesting all the same. Everything is revealed by the end and, although I enjoyed this story, I can see some readers being upset with certain elements and how the story played out. Lisa Unger is a talented writer of psychological thrillers, I always look forward to her books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jill lindblad
In The Blood is rather dark, psychological suspense. It is a difficult book to put down! The first half was excellent, and the ending satisfying. The book falls short, for me, when every (nearly every!) character ends up being linked to the evil that befalls the protagonist, Lana Granger.
Most all mysteries and suspense books have coincidences, that if dwelt on, will stretch the story's credibility. This book, however, overdoes it.
Unger does a super job with her character, Lana. I also loved the character, Luke, and felt rather let down at where the author left him at the end of the book.
Still a very good suspense read!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
antoine
Really disappointed in the novel
Content was weirdly off the wall
No one wants to read about such bizarre
behavior
I had trouble finishing reading it because
I could not identify with anyone
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
atla
I thought I would hate this book. It started off so slow I almost put it down and never picked it up again. Main protagonist Lana Granger is a strange, androgynous student who becomes embroiled in the investigation of another missing student, whilst babysitting an equally strange eleven year old boy Luke. The boy, though incredibly smart, could possibly be evil and shows signs of psychotic tendencies. The pair begin to play a game, an innocent scavenger hunt, or so Lana thinks.

I drifted along almost in a daze until small snippets of a woman's diary began popping up between chapters. The entries detailed a mother's anguish over her difficult, unemotional boy and her deteriorating marriage. The entries broke up the slower, more monotonous parts of the story, adding fuel to the fire that was slowly building underneath. By two hundred pages in, I was hooked.

There were still a few unanswered questions and frankly, I felt Professor Langdon was a pointless character, by overall the book was quite good. I'll look into other books by Lisa Unger. One last critique - terrible title.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
baaroon
This is the first Lisa Unger I've read, and I don't think I'll be picking up any others. I was quite astonished to see the many accolades and 5 star reviews here. It is unrelentingly dark and, although her prose is fairly fluid, the copy editing made it quite a flabby novel to my mind. I listened to the audio version and although I stayed with it to the end, I sometimes muted the sound just so I could advance through it. I thought it was repetitive yet unclear in several aspects. Theorizing and philosophical observations were inserted in what was often an unrealistic manner. Finally, I had to ask myself, is the life of this college student really so worthy of my attention?? No, it wasnt. Disappointing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
whitney
*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

I've read this book months ago, but believe me I simply couldn't bring myself to write a review. NO, it's not because I'm lazy or that busy, but it's because...Man, how do you write a review for something SO FASCINATING? How do you bring into words all the fascination, all it's awesomeness, it's GREATNESS? I don't know about you, but I struggle with these reviews, because I always fear no matter how hard I try, I will fail and not do the book justice. Because, no matter how great the reviews for this book are, the book itself is so so much better.

Before reading 'In The Blood' I truly didn't know what a good psychological thriller is. Honestly, I didn't even read that much thrillers, but of course I've read Gone Girl like many of you and thought there won't be a book after it that will be able to take that place Gone Girl still holds. No, I didn't LOVE Gone Girl that much, but seems EVERYONE I know did, and went ga-ga for that book, and movie now. For me, 'In the Blood' is THAT BOOK which needs to be seen on screens. Not Gone Girl. And I'm sorry if this might sound harsh to all the GG fans out there, but if you ever have the opportunity to read 'In the Blood' you will UNDERSTAND why I'm saying this.

But moving on to this piece of art! It's a creepy, twisted, complex yet beautiful story that will grab you from the very first page. Lana Granger has been told many lies about her past, she really doesn't even know who she is any more. When given the opportunity to babysit Luke, a strange (and sometimes dangerous) kid, she's faced with every demon that haunted her all of her life. Luke is a handful and his mind is twisted, but maybe this time in Lana he's met his match.

Going back and forth in her narrative, through Lana's POV and another voice (diary entry), Ms Unger will take you on a journey which will be ONE OF A KIND experience! Totally mind-blowing, this is a story you won't be able to predict, it will swing you back and forth, and you might think you know what the hell is gonna happen next...but man, you will be far from the truth. Extremely clever plot, fantastic characters, brilliant execution, this book IS A HIT!

The ending was..WOW! Totally unpredictable and so so clever. When I finished reading, I remember I though - LISA UNGER, YOU ARE A GENIUS! How..wha...how DID YOU DO THAT??

Gave me the goosebumps all the way while reading, and kept me glued to it's pages till the very last one. Enthralling psychological thriller you must not miss out on! Just go and READ IT! READ IT!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katka
What makes Lana Granger, the protagonist and narrator of Lisa Unger’s IN THE BLOOD, so compelling that readers will be hard pressed to look away from the page for even a second?

We all have secrets, and we all lie.

Lana’s secrets and lies are deeper and darker than some of ours, perhaps, but it is this core true connection that makes IN THE BLOOD a powerful story, one that will affect you deeply.

Lana is young–she’s in college–but her life is full of complexities that make her immediately fascinating. Her mother died when she was a child, and her best friend and roommate has gone missing. She’s taken a job as a minder for a kid who might–or might not–have an evil heart. And that’s just the beginning.

To call this book a psychological thriller does it something of a disservice because it is much more. As I looked over my favorite books read in 2013, I found that while the list is quite varied, they all share one feature, and none more so than IN THE BLOOD: asking questions, often big, thought-provoking questions, without having to answer them conclusively. IN THE BLOOD is narrated by Lana, but Lisa Unger is a master of showing her readers different perspectives, and each of the characters in IN THE BLOOD brings his or her own view to the events as they unfold.

Speaking of those events, all the reviews I’ve read mention the shocking twists and turns in the story, and there is certainly no shortage of gasp-worthy moments. But the joy in reading this book for me was not in the surprises, but rather in expanding my expectations of how I thought people might behave when confronted with enormous, profound events, ones that often start with something quite small.

Memory also factors into this story, in unexpected ways. The relationship between parents and children is explored through multiple perspectives, too, and different aspects of these, the most complex relationships any of us have, will stand out to different readers. For me, it was the illustration of how kids, even as adults, rarely see parents as actual people.

IN THE BLOOD is a stand-alone story, although if you’ve read Lisa Unger’s books before, you’ll be happy to see Maggie and Jones Cooper making appearances in this one set in the fictional town of The Hollows, which has become, through Lisa’s stories, so real to me that reading about it is like visiting a place I know intimately.

This time next year, as we’re trolling through the multitude of lists of the best books published in 2014, I promise that IN THE BLOOD will be on every such list worth its salt. If you’re a re-reader, this is one you’ll want to read more than once, because you’ll definitely miss something the first time simply because there’s so much here (I know I did).

I recommend Lisa Unger’s books frequently and often with abandon, and IN THE BLOOD represents a milestone in an exceptional storytelling career, one that you mustn't miss.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
steven bass
I will start by saying I'm a fan of this author. Each of her books are uniquely different. So needless to say I was excited to start a new journey through Unger's world.

This book is about Lana Granger who is attending college but has some free time on her hands. She decides to pick up a job working as a "babysitter" for a trouble kid, Luke. Lana has experience dealing with troubled teens, but Luke is a difficult case. When she begins her new job her roommate goes missing. Lana becomes a suspect and her secrets from the past resurface.

This book was superb. I don't often find myself saying that, but it's true. There were constantly twists and turns that had me trying to guess what was going to happen and had me thinking about small clues that were presented. Every time I thought I figured it out there would be an added problem to my theory.

The characters were well rounded. Lana came across as a typical college student. She was struggling to be accepted, she had secrets, and she was uncomfortable. I can understand all these things so she felt relatable. Luke was mean and creepy. I loved that about him. Is that weird? I liked that the kid freaked me out at certain moments. That he had the ability to cause goose bumps to break out on my arm. Lana's advisor felt wholesome and safe. He understood what Lana was facing with Luke and stood by her through everything.

It's hard to go into details about the book without giving things away. I refuse to do that. If you're looking for a great psychological thriller than this is the book for you. The story is great and one I won't be forgetting any time soon.

I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads, this in no way alters my opinion.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
xiomara delgado
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jacobsson
Just from reading the synopsis, you get the feeling that the protagonist is going to be an unreliable narrator. All she does is lie and this intrigued me. I kept trying to guess what was going on and although I did one of Lana's big secrets the rest of the story and it's twists were a surprise. I really enjoyed it.

The only things I didn't like were that Lana kept commenting about her secret past on almost every page and I found it annoying rather than interesting. Some of the writing seemed a little juvenile too.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
peter
For a more in depth review, please visit my blog, Chorley Chronicals ([...])!

I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book, going into it, but I was pleasantly surprised, especially by the ending. The only other book that I've read by Lisa Unger was Fragile, and I wasn't too thrilled with at least the audio version of it. I had a lot of friends that liked it, so maybe it was the narrator that did it in for me, but let's just say it wasn't my favorite book of the year, month, week or even day!

For those of you that enjoy psychological fiction, then this is the book for your! What are you waiting for? Why haven't you reserved it from your library yet? Oh, that's right, because you are still waiting to see what I have to say, right? So lets get to it!

The two narrator's definitely do this book justice. I have learned from my time of listening to audiobooks that the narrator can either make or break a book, and these narrator's help make this book! They are clever and witty and are easy to listen to and follow. They definitely make it a good book to listen to!

Lisa Unger fills In The Blood with so many different plot twists and turns that it's unbelievably awesome to read and try to figure out what is going to happen. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, Unger puts your blinders up again, taking you into the land of the unknown. She truly shows the best of all of her writing talents in the book!!

Sure, some things about the plot are your standard, ordinary plot, like the missing best friend, but this plot and story are anything but ordinary. It is probably one of the most unique stories that I have ever read, and probably one of the hardest stories to figure out! This certainly renewed my faith in the fact that I should continue to read books by Lisa Unger.

Her characters are probably the most complex characters that I've ever met in a book and I loved that! They were flawed and imperfect...humans. They had issues, more than most normal people, and that's what made the book that much more interesting.

This book shows you that life and your friends and family, aren't always what they seem. Life's obstacles can certainly take you on the ride of your life with more than your normal loops and up-side-down turns, but it also shows that you can survive those loops and the ride. You might be slightly damaged, but you'll survive! It also goes to show you just how poisonous secrets can be on a family and your relationships!

I absolutely would recommend that, now that you have finished listening to all of my most inner, deepest, darkest thoughts, that you run out to your library, or open your browser and either loan this book or buy it because chances are it may be one of the best books that you read this year!! If you haven't picked this title up, you are missing out, especially if you like suspense and thrilling plot twists and turns! Thank you Simon & Schuster and Lisa Unger for very well one of the best books that I am likely to read in 2014!

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the Publisher, Simon & Schuster (Touchstone), via Audiobook Jukebox, in return for an honest, unbiased review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shonnie
Lana Granger's childhood hasn't been easy. A problem child with a personality disorder that even the professionals can't quite pin down, she has also had to deal with the violent death of her mother. Now at college, the conditions of her trust fund mean she has to look for work and so she takes a job childminding for Luke, an 11-year-old boy with psychological problems of his own. But somehow Lana feels an affinity for him, and feels sorry for his mother, struggling on her own to cope with Luke's violence and temper tantrums that have seen him expelled from one school after another. Luke is also a master of manipulation and soon Lana finds she has been sucked into playing his sinister games. And then Lana's best friend Beck goes missing, mirroring the disappearance of another girl from the college a couple of years earlier...

So long as you can suspend your disbelief, this is a decent psychological thriller. Told mainly by Lana in the first person (but thankfully past tense - yay!), there are also chapters given over to extracts from the diary of an unnamed character, and part of the mystery is trying to work out who this person is. The writing is of a good quality throughout and, while it's hard to believe that so many seriously damaged people have all come together in one place, the characterisation is nonetheless strong and convincing for the most part. Lana herself is an intriguing character who is easy to like, even though the reader is aware of the dark undercurrents of her personality that are only kept under control by medication. The first person narration does mean that we know all the way through that Lana is holding things back from us though, which creates a feeling of distance and stops the reader from fully empathising with her. Luke starts out very convincingly but becomes increasingly less believable as the story unfolds. The character writing the diary, herself the mother of a disturbed child, gives a compelling picture of the tensions and problems this can bring to a marriage and wider family relationships.

So lots of good points and a fairly page-turning read on the whole, but the book does have one major and glaring problem - it's way too easy to work out early on all the twists that are supposed to come as surprises at the end. In fact, the major plot point - i.e., whodunit - was so obvious from the moment we met the character (when the person did something that could only have been done if that person had ulterior motives) that I spent the rest of the book expecting that the author must be going to find a way to turn that reveal on its head further down the line - but she didn't. The other major twists had become blindingly obvious by about halfway through, and from there on in there wasn't much left to be surprised about. I am no Miss Marple - it's very unusual for me to work out a mystery, so the fact that this one was so obvious to me suggests serious problems with the structure of the plot. Definitely fair-play, in that all the clues are there, but not well enough hidden to maintain any level of suspense I'm afraid.

Despite these fairly major problems, I enjoyed the writing and characterisation enough to be keen to read more of Unger's work in the hopes that the plotting problems in this book are a one-off. But those problems, combined with the level of credulity-stretching in the story, mean I can only recommend this one half-heartedly. 3½ stars for me, so rounded up to 4.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Touchstone.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
declineda
“There’s murder in my blood. A twisting rope of psychosis from my father and maternal grandfather, and probably others before them. From father to son, from father to son, it travels down the chain, a poison in the blood. Only it doesn’t kill you. I have often wished it did. I hate the thought of who I am. I despise my origins. I have done everything in my power to shed that person. And yet that person is with me always.”

This is life inside the mind of college student Lana Granger, who has to physically transform herself into someone else in order to fit in and have any chance of a normal life. Unfortunately, life does not always go according to your plans, and the past and the person Lana is hiding from will arise from the ashes and threaten to burn down all that she has created for herself.

IN THE BLOOD is by far Lisa Unger’s most complex psychological thriller yet. It poses the question: Is insanity, madness and homicidal behavior hereditary? Can it be passed down through a blood line from person to person with no chance of escaping the fate your own genes have laid out for you?

Lana is attempting to bury a past that includes her father being imprisoned for murdering her mother. The only issue it that she is not completely convinced that this is how it really happened. To further muddy the issue, a younger Lana helped her father bury her mother’s body. But she never actually saw him kill her.

She has lost touch with him and tries to find a semblance of normality at a small college where she is kept straight by her academic advisor and the psychiatrist she regularly visits. However, when Lana’s roommate, Beck, goes missing, her own past quickly will be called into question and the local police want to dig further into this. Beck’s disappearance follows the death some time earlier of another college friend who was found dead at the base of a flight of concrete stairs.

Lana takes a job after school where she cares for and tutors a special needs and potentially dangerously psychotic young man named Luke. Luke enjoys games like chess and his own self-made scavenger hunts. He also seems to know way too much about Lana and her past, and also displays eerie insight into the disappearance of her roommate. His background is slowly uncovered through a series of diary entries made by his mother that are interspersed throughout the novel.

Lana is a person with well-kept secrets who is realizing that you cannot create your own life but that life creates you. IN THE BLOOD will unveil Lana’s secrets --- as well as those of the many characters in her life --- with the precision that only an expert psychological novelist like Lisa Unger can display. This is a welcome start to 2014 and one that has already set the bar for thrillers to come.

Reviewed by Ray Palen
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ekram motawieh
In The Blood
By
Lisa Unger

What it's all about...

A family torn apart by dysfunction...actually lots of families torn apart by dysfunction and what happens when all of the lies are revealed.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book is a fast paced page turning whirlwind. It has the things I love most in a mystery/thriller...the slow release of information about key characters that first allows you to trust and like these characters until they reveal their true demented selves. Then...you sort of shake your head and say...why didn't I see that sooner!

We have Lana...who is recovering from the death of her mother at the hands of her father. We have Luke...an eleven year old deviant that Lana is babysitting. We have Langdon...counselor and professor at Lana's college. We have missing girls, infidelities, terrible family histories and a father in prison. We have quite a few secrets and lies...almost everyone is lying and almost everyone has a secret. And...when it comes together in a breathtaking ending...all secrets are exposed. This book is truly brilliant.

What I loved best about this book...

The mysterious and flawed personalities of these characters is the best part of this book. And I can't really tell you anything at all about them...just know that I was clueless until the end of the book and I loved that I was clueless and surprised about Lana and Luke. The ending...I wanted to stand up and cheer...the ending was that good!

My final thoughts for potential readers...

I loved reading this book...simply put...I loved it. There was a unique plot and fascinating characters...some good...some not so good...with a few psychopaths tossed in. It was exciting and unusual. Readers who love exciting challenging mysteries will love this book!

Thank you to the store and NetGalley for allowing me access to this book on my Kindle PaperWhite.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
melissa lacassin
In the blood deals with a terrible secret and how that secret can ruin lives and relationships. This book deals with the psyche and how genetics and life events can affect emotional wellbeing. This book really deals with the darker side of the human brain and how one’s brain can turn with manipulation and coaching.

The twist that this book has really shocks you and sends you in a little bit of a tail spin. In Ms. Unger’s book the twist was a little predictable about three quarters of the way though, well one of the two twists were, the other one was completely blindsiding.

This book looks at how traumatic events during one’s childhood can impact their entire life. It is a good book that switches between present day and the diary of a new mother who is dealing with a young son who has issues since he was born. It is a haunting tale of what one mother attempts to do when faced with a child that could very well grow up to be a mass murderer. I really enjoyed the tone and the push of the novel which propels the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leorah
Is evil predetermined genetically, or is it based on environment and upbringing? IN THE BLOOD attempts to answer this question, and I can state rather emphatically that my mind might never be the same again. The mental mind trip left me in a cold sweat, and there’s a chance I may now be prone to night terrors. If I wake up screaming, though, I’ll only have myself to blame, as I attempt to pound through the pain.

The plot moved along at a slow simmer with some rather unexpected twists and turns, as I kept a death grip on my Kindle and flipped the pages with one eye closed. Terror of the psychological variety proves much more appealing to me than some dude in a hockey mask slashing oversexed campers with a machete. And there’s plenty of terror to be had here, most of which floats just beneath the surface, bubbling up when you least expect it, and grasping you around the ankle before pulling you beneath the water.

Lana Granger may have told more than a few lies in her day, each one building upon the one before it. Even though she might show aspects of being a pathological or compulsive liar, I’d still stand behind her. Despite Luke being only eleven-years-old, I wouldn’t stand behind him, even if I were holding a shovel in one hand and a grenade in the other. There’s a term that often applies in situations such as these: little bastard. And should you look it up in the dictionary, you’d probably see a picture of Luke’s sneering mug (among others).

I am proud to say I have more Lisa Unger novels at my disposal, so when the night terrors cease, I shall revisit her to kick start the screaming and cold sweats all over again.

I received this book for free through NetGalley.

Robert Downs
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kevin steeves
This book is about a troubled college senior, Lana, who is there under an assumed name because her father murdered her mother. The father will soon be executed. Lana is a very troubled person and is in continuous therapy as well as continually medicated to handle her condition. She is studying psychology and her abnormal psych prof, also her adviser, may well be in love with her. He helps her get a job to babysit a troubled youth who is going to the school for emotionally troubled youth affiliated to her college. She is close to her two roommates but one of them goes missing one night which makes the police inquire more into her background. This is the second coed to go missing and the first one turned up dead. There are a lot of layers going on in this book and just as one is uncovered, another comes to light. To say anymore would be a spoiler and you want to be able to enjoy the whole process of figuring the story out. I have read all of Unger's prior books. She is a big talent in the mystery field. I recommend it.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star the store reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melany
Lana has a secret. And it's not pretty. But with her dad on death row, her mother murdered, and her best friend missing, she thinks she's safe. But is she? As the investigation into her missing friend drags on, Lana finds that she's not the only one with secrets to hide... And someone knows hers.

This was a GoodReads First Read book, and I received a copy to review. I read this a few months ago, and didn't get around to writing a review. I had forgotten, what with the ever-growing stack of To-Read and To-Review, until I recommended this to someone else on GoodReads (hi, karen!), and it all came back. I mean, It. All. Came. Back.

I loved this book. The reveals were perfectly timed. And (mini spoiler) there's more than one.

Read the full review here:
https://ermareads.wordpress.com/goodreads-first-reads/in-the-blood/
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jerome
I started out liking this book -- in fact I looked forward to all the riveting suspense others have commented on.
Unfortunately, 3/4 of the way thru I began to lose interest. The plot became a bit convoluted and I also figured out
who was a likely candidate for the mayhem that followed. I was anxious to get to the end. I would have rated two stars
but I did enjoy the writing and the story thru at least half of the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
uvi poznansky
I picked this book up in the airport on my way to the beach. It didn't look or sound like the type of book I am drawn to or read most often. I read the back cover and put it back on the shelf and started to walk away. Then I went back to it and couldn't resist. I thought 'what the hell' and decided to give it a shot.

I only read a chapter or two here and there on the beach or in the lazy river or before I went to sleep at night. Yet, I found it intriguing from the beginning. When I wasn't reading this book, I was constantly thinking about it and trying to figure out different things. It was like a jigsaw puzzle I kept trying to piece together. Some things I was kind of thinking about early on that ended up being true, but others I didn't catch onto until later.

I really enjoyed this book and once I returned from the beach I could barely put it down until I finished it. I liked reading something a little different for me for a change, and really liked that it kind of got under my skin and constantly kept me thinking about it.

It was a great psychological thriller that kept me guessing until the end!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
karita
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
afifa
Psychological thrillers generally involve much interior examination and little physical action. The best ones find a way to sustain the plot tension like a taut string through the entire story. Unger does this in a masterful way, mindful of a trick used by John Le Carre to reveal bits and pieces of present circumstances that sustain interest but put off coming together until the final pages. She gradually reveals the main character along with the elements of the larger story with only meager hints of how it is put together, like feeling ones way through an enchanted fog. Unger also conveys a masterful grasp of mental illness and the related pharmacopia that eventually reveal much about the characters and the reaction of the world around them. Each reader may find bits and pieces of their own lives in the various characters in this story.

This is a wonderful book, masterfully written and has the slickest ending imaginable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ava f
An extraordinary, amazing, psychological thriller with mysterious twists and turns In The Blood is a suspenseful, captivating book.
Lana, a senior in college, has been hiding her true identity from everyone for seven years since her father went to jail for killing her mother. Lana begins babysitting for an eleven year old, troubled boy, Luke. Lana's roommate and friend, Becca, disappears, police ask questions and want to find Becca alive, and as Lana's life starts to unravel, Luke wants Lana to go on a scavenger hunt and find his clues hidden in the woods.
Read the highly recommended, phenomenally written, intriguing novel In the Blood by the talented author Lisa Unger that I received free through First Goodreads.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lab180
I've read all of Unger's books, and enjoyed them. This is her darkest and most deeply psychological. She's a very good writer and captivates the reader both in terms of plot/suspense and the craft of her prose. Like all books of this genre it is manipulative, and I find myself resisting for this reason, nonetheless, she does a masterful enough job that she won me over. The bulk of the story is written from Lana's point of view, with other chapters being the journal of a mother with a disturbed son and a husband who leaves her. I had a few quibbles -- timing (an attorney in Florida who shows up in NY on short notice), an aunt who isn't a consistent character, a main twist that I caught onto fairly early - but overall, I'd recommend it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marc rickaby
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
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leighann paige
I have been reading Lisa Unger novels for years. She is one of the best if not the the very best mystery/suspense writers that I have ever read. So it was a no brainer that I was going to read this book if I was able to get it for review. I received this in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This was one of the most intriguing and just totally involving books I have ever read. Not that it was just a mystery, but it was a powerfully told psychological, suspense read. Once you start reading this, it will be hard to put down, I promise you. The word gripping doesn't begin to describe this book.
The main character, Lana, is a very unforgettable heroine. As a suspect in her college roommates' disappearance, as a babysitter for a very strange and psychologically damaged young boy, as a survivor of horrific events in her past, and as a psychologically damaged person herself-all these things added to this characters' mystique. Nothing cookie cutter about her character or any of the other characters in this book. Luke, the young boy, was just plain scary. I would have been gone almost as soon as I was hired to watch him, but Lana sticks it out.
This was a book that I really don't think many people will figure out, not only the ending but so many other things as well. I thought I knew what was going on, and I partially knew a bit of it, but I was in for some surprising moments. I honestly didn't see some of this coming at all. This is always a sign of a great mystery to me and I enjoyed every minute of it.
This is definitely not your every day mystery read. I can see this book possibly winning awards as I feel it is just that good-and different. It is definitely not typical. I have already read accolades about this book, the critics are all loving it.
What didn't I like about this book? Nothing at all. It was a well written novel, with finely drawn characters and an interesting, intriguing plot. You can't ask for more then that in a suspense novel. There's some action and a bit of romance, but the mystery was the star of this book.
Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone that loves good psychological suspense with surprise twists and turns. Mystery lover? You need to read this!(PureTextuality.com)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
elizabeth miss eliza
There was nothing wrong with Unger's writing,---it was the story she was telling.
The plot was too far off the normal and believable chart. She lost me when an 8 year
old, brilliant, troubled boy was responsible for a complicated plot of revenge. It was
too much. Lana, the main character has a deep dark secret and when the secret was
revealed I screamed Ooooh NO! The plot kept twisting until there was not a belief left in it.
If you like fantasy you may like this book. It is not fantasy but it is close.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
yipeng22
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.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jed gourley
I received this as a free ebook from Netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

This was my first time reading the work of Lisa Unger. And it won't be my last. I've had a couple of her books on my shelf for a while but haven't gotten around to reading them. Have now moved them up on my reading list.
As the story begins, we meet Lana Granger, a girl in her senior year of college, about to graduate with a degree in psychology, focusing on disturbed youth. She rooms at the secluded, rural college in upstate New York with two other girls, Beck and Ainsley. Lana and Beck have a strained and unusual relationship.
The story is narrated by Lana who isn't certain where her future is going to take her and is contemplating graduate school following her graduation in order to stay in academia longer and therefore delay any serious life decisions. However, she is informed that it would be a good idea to seek employment as her trust fund will only support her and her studies for so long.
It isn't far into the story when we come to the realization that Lana may be a very unreliable narrator. She is certainly telling the story from her point of view only and turns things in such a manner as to earn the reader's sympathy. However, she may be very undeserving of the reader's sympathy as it becomes more and more apparent that she is the lead suspect in the murder of a girl at the college the previous year and now in the disappearance of her roommate, Beck.
Lana shows a cold lack of concern for the disappearance of someone with whom she claims to be very close. She continues on with life as if nothing has happened and with the encouragement of her advisor and mentor, Dr. Langdon, she finds employment as an after school babysitter for a troubled eleven year old boy named Luke. Lana is instantly drawn to both Luke and his mother Rachael.
As the story progresses, we learn more and more about Lana and her past. Or do we? Perhaps we're only hearing Lana's version of her past, the one that makes her seem like the victim rather than the culprit.
As we are learning Lana's story and coming to the realization that she cannot be trusted to accurately portray past events, we are also privy to the diary entries of an unknown woman who is detailing the difficulties of raising a son with severe emotional and mental issues.
Lana soon finds herself drawn into a very dangerous game that is being controlled by Luke. Why is she willing to play along with Luke's twisted game? Is it because she wants to help Luke or is it because he reminds her of herself at that age?
Meanwhile, the search for Beck continues. The police begin to focus even more on Lana as secrets from her past life and who she really is begin to come to light. Having learned of the twisted game being played by Lana and Luke, Dr. Langdon advises her to step away from Luke, his mother, Rachael, and their sick game. Lana refuses.
I have to stop here as to continue would be giving away far too much. :) This was a good, quick read that instantly hooks the reader and draws you in, not letting go until all the ugly secrets have been uncovered and brought out into the glaring light of day. And Lana is far from the only one closely guarding her secrets and past.
Lisa Unger has done a most excellent job in entertaining the reader with a riveting mystery while causing us to brood upon whether it is nurture or nature that makes us who we truly are and determines of what we are ultimately capable or incapable as well as to what levels we are accomplices in our own faults and downfalls.
I'm giving this book three and a half stars. Would have loved to have given it a solid four, however I was able to determine the twist of the story around 43% into the book. Would have given it another half star had the secret not been so easily deduced. Fans of Joanne Harris' "Gentlemen and Players" will enjoy this well plotted tale of psychological suspense.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jan mcgee
This story keeps you guessing throughout the book leaving the end to explains all the reasons that led to the climax. All I wanted to do was to get to the end. The thrills and psychotic overtones were amazing. Lane or Lana thinks she had something to do with her mom's killing. Her father is on death row for it. She is a very disturbed child who has gender issues. Trying to find herself she hooks up with a girl who suddenly disappears. Only when thing get hot and confusing do we find how the pieces fit together. Great book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ann simpson
Wow,I loved this book!!!

I'm not going to give away any spoilers, but let me tell you. There is no way you can guess the ending of this book. The journal part of this book took you on such a journey. Absolutely LOVED this book!! Lisa, winner, winner, chicken dinner!!

This is definitely one of her best and if you've ever read Lisa Unger, you will know that that is saying a lot!!

I received an e-galley from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you for the opportunity!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hend
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!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joe zeidner
I was so surprised by the psychological depth and complexity of the characters, and found the writing beautiful, stark, precise _ just the way I like it. Such important themes of injury and aliveness, connection and disconnection, and the need for others to find our way back. (That's not the plot, just beautifully woven into the story). Looking forward to reading more from this author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ann beck
Truly an exceptional, page-turning, edge-of-your-seat mystery. Top notch writing, with complex, sympathetic characters. Hooks you right in. Alternating points-of-view between the main character and another character's diary entries add to the ratcheting tension, and to that delicious confusion the reader feels, the one that makes it so hard to put the book down until you unravel its many mysteries. This is the first Lisa Unger book I've read, and I am now going to hunt down the rest of her novels. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
juliezs
Omg, I couldn't put this book down. Such a great thriller! This is my fourth Lisa Unger book in the last two months. She's such a great writer. I'm going down the list of all her books to read...can't get enough! I highly recommend this one. It kept me guessing till the very end!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kishoo0oo
This has to be one of the best books that I've read in a very long time. The author has a unique way of not telling everything at the beginning so you are like a detective along for the ride of your life as the story unfolds. I couldn't put it down until I had finished the story. It kept me engaged to the very last sentence which had the perfect ending!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
geordie
Unger writes a sharp, smart suspense story of a young college student in Hollows NY, whose friends keep disappearing. To keep her focus on her studies in abnormal psychology, Lana – who has her own troubled past - takes a job babysitting Luke, an 11 year-old “trouble child.” Luke is a sociopath who begins to draw her into his web, but Lana understands him all too well. Many of Unger’s characters are not all they seem. The first-person narrative is presented in counterpoint with diary entries, but Unger is playing cat-and-mouse with her readers. The mystery races toward conclusion with twists and turns, even to the last page. What is it “in the blood”? Murder! Along with S.J. Bolton, Unger has become a major talent in the world of suspense.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
portia
"In the Blood" is an extreme psychological thriller about people who have inherited psychological (and sometimes psychopathic) problems. These issues may be disturbing to some readers.

Lana Granger has experienced great psychological stress in her youth, especially when her father is convicted of killing her mother. Lana was in the house at the time of her mother's death and her father made her help him dispose of the body. Lana's Grandfather was a convicted murderer.

Now in her early 20's Lana is stable under a cocktail of psychotic and anti-depression drugs and amazingly she decides to study child psychology at college. Her psych professor finds her a "suitable" part-time job looking after an 11 year old boy, Luke, after school. Luke has a genius IQ but attends a special school because he has already been diagnosed as a violent control-freak psychopath.

Luke's mother, Rachel, has had terrible experiences as a single mother bringing up and controlling Luke (there is no mention of his father). For safety she locks Luke in his room each night. She welcomes Lana's help as others haven't been able to connect with Luke.

This unbelievable connection between two seriously affected individuals starts up a dangerous liaison. Luke likes to play games that give him control of people in his life, especially his mother and now Lana. With the disappearance of her best friend, Becky, and the impact of Luke's sick mind games Lana struggles to maintain her sanity.

While this was a well written book, especially the flashback diary sequences, the extreme and far-fetched psychological issues that underpinned this book made it difficult for me to really enjoy it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
soroor hnv
I read a review of this book in a woman's magazine and decided to give this author a try. What a thrill ride this book was. I couldn't put it down. I am a Lisa Gardner/James Patterson/Philip Margolin fan and now I can't wait to read the other books written by Ms. Unger. I give this book 5 stars and would give it more if I could. Great read, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
diskojoe
Lisa Unger is a terrific writer, and I've read most of her other novels. I really enjoyed the diary entries, she did a great job of showing a mother's perspective as she comes to terms with the fact that her child is different, very different, from other children. Unger really pulls you into these characters, the writing is strong, and the storyline is intriguiging. Looking forward to the next one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
suzy q
This book had tons of surprises and kept me guessing. But the coincidences revealed in the end were just too unbelievable. Plus there was one character who was always hanging around for no reason and it was obvious he was involved in the bad happenings. Still this was a good book for a quick read during these snowy winter nights.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
maggie yowell
Got lost about two-thirds of the way through. I figured it out pretty early, skipped about 75 pages toward the end and verified I was correct. I don't like books that keep going over the same trauma's and issues over and over again.

Her earlier books are much different and way, way better. This is a stinker.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
fadoua
This has to be one of the best books that I've read in a very long time. The author has a unique way of not telling everything at the beginning so you are like a detective along for the ride of your life as the story unfolds. I couldn't put it down until I had finished the story. It kept me engaged to the very last sentence which had the perfect ending!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michael niederman
Unger writes a sharp, smart suspense story of a young college student in Hollows NY, whose friends keep disappearing. To keep her focus on her studies in abnormal psychology, Lana – who has her own troubled past - takes a job babysitting Luke, an 11 year-old “trouble child.” Luke is a sociopath who begins to draw her into his web, but Lana understands him all too well. Many of Unger’s characters are not all they seem. The first-person narrative is presented in counterpoint with diary entries, but Unger is playing cat-and-mouse with her readers. The mystery races toward conclusion with twists and turns, even to the last page. What is it “in the blood”? Murder! Along with S.J. Bolton, Unger has become a major talent in the world of suspense.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
carly
"In the Blood" is an extreme psychological thriller about people who have inherited psychological (and sometimes psychopathic) problems. These issues may be disturbing to some readers.

Lana Granger has experienced great psychological stress in her youth, especially when her father is convicted of killing her mother. Lana was in the house at the time of her mother's death and her father made her help him dispose of the body. Lana's Grandfather was a convicted murderer.

Now in her early 20's Lana is stable under a cocktail of psychotic and anti-depression drugs and amazingly she decides to study child psychology at college. Her psych professor finds her a "suitable" part-time job looking after an 11 year old boy, Luke, after school. Luke has a genius IQ but attends a special school because he has already been diagnosed as a violent control-freak psychopath.

Luke's mother, Rachel, has had terrible experiences as a single mother bringing up and controlling Luke (there is no mention of his father). For safety she locks Luke in his room each night. She welcomes Lana's help as others haven't been able to connect with Luke.

This unbelievable connection between two seriously affected individuals starts up a dangerous liaison. Luke likes to play games that give him control of people in his life, especially his mother and now Lana. With the disappearance of her best friend, Becky, and the impact of Luke's sick mind games Lana struggles to maintain her sanity.

While this was a well written book, especially the flashback diary sequences, the extreme and far-fetched psychological issues that underpinned this book made it difficult for me to really enjoy it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rae clevett
I read a review of this book in a woman's magazine and decided to give this author a try. What a thrill ride this book was. I couldn't put it down. I am a Lisa Gardner/James Patterson/Philip Margolin fan and now I can't wait to read the other books written by Ms. Unger. I give this book 5 stars and would give it more if I could. Great read, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michelle dennen
Lisa Unger is a terrific writer, and I've read most of her other novels. I really enjoyed the diary entries, she did a great job of showing a mother's perspective as she comes to terms with the fact that her child is different, very different, from other children. Unger really pulls you into these characters, the writing is strong, and the storyline is intriguiging. Looking forward to the next one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
fancyseraphim
This book had tons of surprises and kept me guessing. But the coincidences revealed in the end were just too unbelievable. Plus there was one character who was always hanging around for no reason and it was obvious he was involved in the bad happenings. Still this was a good book for a quick read during these snowy winter nights.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
melanie quick
Got lost about two-thirds of the way through. I figured it out pretty early, skipped about 75 pages toward the end and verified I was correct. I don't like books that keep going over the same trauma's and issues over and over again.

Her earlier books are much different and way, way better. This is a stinker.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kourtney w
This story is chock full of very strange mind games. If you like to analyze and have your mind messed with a bit, this is a great read for you. Never did figure out the whole story until it unfolded in the story. Very interesting read. Actually I'd give this a 4-1/2 star rating if I could.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brittany luiz
This was a great psychological thriller in every way! Following Lana's life and the murder of her mother along with mental illness that runs in her family, it kept me turning the pages, very intriguing! If you enjoy psychological issues, which I do, you will enjoy this book! I am always looking for a good thriller!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hianhou
That is quite a statement since I figured out the big plot twists about half way through. Even so, I continued to want to read and not skip to the end to see if I was right. It was very well written – the best work by far that I have read by this author. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sparky abraham
This is not my first rodeo with Lisa Unger but In the Blood is definitely my favorite. The titles I've read Black Out and Beautiful Lies pale in comparison to this title. I'm all for a good psychological thriller and In the Blood definitely fit the bill.

Lana Granger is college student who's soon to be graduating. Because of her focus in psychology she volunteers at a school for troubled children named Fieldcrest. It is here her professor shows her a posting for a job as a nanny. He convinces her that she's done great work as a counselor and should take on this job since her trust fund will soon be off limits until she is 30.

Lana meets Rachel Kahn, the mother of a disturbed/troubled child named Luke. Rachel expects Lana to run from the job as a nanny after she goes into the whole history of her sons past. She tells Lana that Luke has been diagnosed many times with ADHD, manic depression, bipolar disorder, and a host of other mental illnesses. This doesn't scare Lana away. She actually is inviting the challenge into her life because of her own history. But what exactly is that history?

Because Lana is a person of so many lies, she's the primary suspect when her roommate Rebecca goes missing. She was the last person seen arguing with her at the time of her disappearance. With the pressure mounting the many lies she has told becomes a source of her own anguish and she isn't sure anymore what happened either. It doesn't help that someone wants to expose her and her many lies.

Lisa Unger introduces us to a character who has some serious issues. And given her family biological makeup we know she's capable of anything. Lana also shares the narrative with a diary. We don't know who's diary this is so I won't spoil that her at all. This diary suggests disorders I've never even considered or heard of. Before, I'd never heard a infant referenced as being High Demand. I assure you this exists. I'm sure all the parents out there are like DUH... but seriously, I didn't know this was even an issue.

Lana's insight into the pysch field makes her the perfect narrator. She's aware of human behavior and how that relates to the people in her life. Each character is analyzed with such viridity that it's easy to see the amount of depth they have. This also leads us to realize that Lana isn't all knowing with her own self. We're only sure that something in her past has caused her to be emotionally underdeveloped and in need of finding herself.

I wish this weren't a review copy because I don't think I turned a page without highlighting a passage. Lisa Unger will reel readers in from page one with details about human behavior and never let go. I can't shake questions from my mind that have since stayed with me upon finishing the novel. How has circumstances reassembled me into the person I am today? When do we stop hiding from who we really are? What's really the difference between choice and reaction? What happens when we don't find the answers we're looking for?

There is so much that can be talked about in this book but I feel that every point I want to discuss in this review leads me to giving away clues that are best led to by the author. Sure there is a lot that was predictable and expected but the characters, especially Lana, are interesting enough to keep readers invested in this novel. In the Blood is an intense psychological thriller that will have readers wondering what's in the their blood that causes them to act as they do. I highly recommend this title.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vicky
I have read a few of Lisa Unger's books and have mostly enjoyed them. This, in my opinion, is the best one of the lot. That said, there were times I felt she gave too much background/description that didn't do much for the story. I liked that alternating voice and was happy for an ending that did not disappoint. Highly recommended!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
zakaria
I've read most of Lisa Unger's novels and thought this one was definitely the best. Lots of creepy moments when you think "nothing good can come of this." The fact that the narrator is mentally ill and an accomplished liar means you never know for sure that what she says is true, which keeps you on the edge. Some great twists.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nimish
Lisa Unger does what she does best yet again. This is a masterful suspense thriller with twists and turns for its protagonist as she tries to unravel a mysterious death and a mysterious disappearance all the while trying to best a young sociopath at his game. Very enjoyable reading for anyone who likes a good thriller.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kibret
All I can say is darn. Even though I started to figure parts of this book out the end made my mouth drop open and I totally loved the last word. One heck of a book that I would highly recommend. It was action packed from start to finish and ranks in the top ten for books I have read so far this year.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
meutia
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
guneygil
This was a good mystery and kept me turning the pages to get to the end. The author keeps the shocks and twists coming at a breakneck pace. No one in the novel is who he or she seems. I will be reading more of her novels. A 4.5 star from me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dalene van zyl
Lisa Unger's masterpiece is "In The Blood". Cleverly paced mystery with protagonist who
admits she is a liar. This book gives the reader plenty of clues to think about and make sense of.
It was like a puzzle within a puzzle. Excellent.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ben hughes
Lana Granger has a secret and has spent many years trying to keep it hidden. The question - just who is Lana and what will one person do to keep her past from being discovered?

Whoo doggie - this was excellent. My first read from this author and I’m hear to tell you, I will not hesitate to read more of her writing. I loved the suspense and couldn’t read fast enough to find out what Lana’s story was about. I must add - the ending - spot on!

Many thanks to Touchstone, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
sharon hinck
I read this book because of all of the positive reviews, and I like a good suspense novel. But the writing was clunky and proved to be distracting. Pop culture references (like Angry Birds, Google, etc.) took me out of the story. I liked the idea, but not the execution. The character development felt like skipping stones on water, never getting too deep. I wanted to be impressed by this book, but sadly, I wasn't.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ragnhild
I've been a long-time fan of Lisa Unger, but this was her best book yet. It was dark and moody, but I won't say more because the fun is how everything unfolds. Without spoiling anything, it had one of the best surprises I've experienced in a novel in a long time. If you liked Gone Girl, you'll LOVE this book. It is my favorite book I've read this year.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
helen
I've been a long-time fan of Lisa Unger, but this was her best book yet. It was dark and moody, but I won't say more because the fun is how everything unfolds. Without spoiling anything, it had one of the best surprises I've experienced in a novel in a long time. If you liked Gone Girl, you'll LOVE this book. It is my favorite book I've read this year.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristin eastman
I have read the majority of Unger's books. This is the best one I have ever read. Her last one, Heart Broken, was a little bit bubble gum. This book more than made up for it. Plenty of twists and turns with very contemporary subject matter. Highly recommend.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
laurie kingery
Unger is one of my favorite authors, but this one seemed to take some shortcuts and leaves the reader feeling like they invested time in something unfinished. This was an expensive purchase and I resented the unfinished quality of the ending (at 78 percent). Granted, there will be a sequel obviously, but it should have been included in this novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julie goss
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
greg novick
Lisa Unger earned the respect of this bibliophile. I now have a new author to read previous works & await the new with bated breath. Thrill-lovers will be hard to disappoint, as this novel keeps unveiling to the very end.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ckwebgrrl
I have read the majority of Unger's books. This is the best one I have ever read. Her last one, Heart Broken, was a little bit bubble gum. This book more than made up for it. Plenty of twists and turns with very contemporary subject matter. Highly recommend.
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