February 02, 2017

Thursday Review: MADE FOR YOU by Melissa Marr

Synopsis: I just finished reading this fast-paced suspense novel with a hint of the paranormal, and it was definitely a page-turner. I hadn't read one of this author's books in a while (not since the Wicked Lovely novels, which were tales of the dark faerie world) so it came as an unexpected but welcome diversion to be completely gripped by a thriller (as opposed to the real-life business going on at the moment). This one's got plenty of creepy psychological horror, a splash of romance, a hint of the Southern Gothic, and, of course, a few dead bodies.

It all starts when Eva Tilling-Cooper—a member of the popular crowd and veritable town royalty in Jessup, North Carolina—is struck by a car in a hit-and-run while walking along a country road. She wakes up in the hospital with a broken leg, a cut-up face, a traumatic brain injury…and a strange, unwanted new ability: when someone else touches her, she has a vision of their death. Although it starts off as a nightmarish, confusing occurrence, Eva comes to realize that her ability is real—and it might be the only way she can find out who was responsible for her injuries. Not only that, it might help her stop them from striking again.

Observations: This was one of those taut, well-paced books that increases suspense by using multiple perspectives—one of which belongs to the killer. Of course, that means the reader will, at some point, figure out who the killer is, and their relationship to Eva, but by the time you figure it out, it only ramps up the tension as you begin to wonder if the bad guy might actually be able to carry out his ultimate nefarious plans. So at that point it becomes a race against time for Eva, her best friend Grace, her former best friend/current love interest Nate, and the actual police detective (no, this isn't one of those books where the young protagonist manages all on her own—especially when she's getting around on crutches).

Besides the effective story structure, I appreciated the character development in this one. Eva is, yes, one of the popular crowd, but she's also smart, she studies, and her best friend Grace Yeung comes from "the outside"—her family moved to Jessup rather than being part of the generations-old clan mentality that generally rules the town. While Grace is Asian American, it isn't a "thing" here; and none of the main characters is a stereotype. Also, the villain is truly creepy (and thinks he is the hand of the Lord), and being inside his head every few chapters only makes your skin crawl throughout the book.

Conclusion: I highly recommend this one for fans of thrillers and crime novels. The paranormal element is enjoyable and works well but is not the dominant element here—I'd call it primarily a suspense/psychological thriller.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of my library's ebook collection. You can find MADE FOR YOU by Melissa Marr at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

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