HE WILL BE MY RUIN
CBTB RATING: 2.5/5
The verdict: skip this one.
Alright. This is going to be one of the more complicated reviews I've ever written, but it's important for your understanding of my rating for this book, so bear with me. K.A. Tucker's HE WILL BE MY RUIN (HWBMR) is the first standalone thriller by a highly accomplished writer of New Adult fiction—many of you are already fans of her two NA series. Unfortunately I have to say that HWBMR is better suited to the NA genre than to the thriller genre—I'm quite certain that Tucker's fans will love HWBMR, but if you are looking for a pure mystery/thriller recommendation here, I would not recommend this book.
Let's delve right into why. HWBMR is, at its core, an interesting concept for a thriller: girl's lifelong best friend dies; girl goes to her deceased friend's apartment to put her affairs in order; girl discovers her friend might have been murdered. HWBMR explores some interesting concepts: how well do we really know even our closest friends? Is it possible to get to know someone even better after they've left this world? I loved that aspect of the story.
Unfortunately, the mystery aspect of this story lost effectiveness when the author began adding many, many different subplots into it. I firmly believe that the plot twists that define good mystery writing are not the result of adding in extraneous information for shock value; instead, they are the result of meticulous planning, weaving threads throughout your story that culminate in your reader being simultaneously shocked and awed that they missed the breadcrumbs you left leading up to the big reveal.
HWBMR has plenty of plot twists, but none of them are logical. This is where the story lost me. I felt like HWBMR had perhaps 4 different books within it: the mystery I previously described, a romance novel about a love triangle, a piece of fiction involving art history and a hunt for lost ancient Chinese pottery, and a drama involving cybercriminals and hackers. This story just had too much going on—keep in mind, these different subplots play out within a mere 330-odd pages. Any one of these stories would be entertaining on its own, but together, I just felt at a loss. Mysteries lose their fun when the twists are so illogical, you have no way to do your own detective work and try to solve the case.
Now that I've shared my personal opinion as a reader of crime fiction, I still think HWBMR will please Tucker's fans! If you are one of her fans, I'm quite certain you'll love this book, and I would never aim to discourage you from reading it. This review is primarily aimed at my crime-reading audience—readers looking for the next great crime fiction read to sweep you up in a puzzle of suspense, thrills, and intrigue. If you are the latter kind of reader, your money and time might be best spent picking up a different book.