Jeremy Stroeb doesn't take the demands of college very seriously. Loving freedom more than responsibility, he drops out and takes off backpacking across Europe. When his parents are brutally murdered, his former life comes crashing to an end. As he returns to Miami Beach to take guardianship of his sister Elise, Jeremy also sets out to discover the identity of his parents murderer. When the police don't seem to be coming up with any answers, Jeremy takes a job at the accounting firm where his mother was a star CPA. Could the answer to the crime be found there or maybe his father's controversial politics concerning Cuba sparked some kind of battle behind the scenes? Even his uncle's eager willingness to take over the role of guardianship seems suspect. Or did the threat come from another secretive area of his parents' life? How well did he truly know his parents? Forced to take on the responsibilities he once spurned, will Jeremy be able to see the case through or will his youth lead him into a clever trap set by the unknown villain?
In her powerful debut thriller IN THEIR BLOOD, Sharon Potts creates an intriguing main character in Jeremy Stroeb. Not only is he a refreshing change from the run-of-the-mill thriller sleuths, but his flaws and momentary difficulties make him human. Sharon Potts does an excellent job at interweaving emotion with suspense as Jeremy and his sister deal with the trauma and grief of their parents' murder. Indeed, the tone of grief that drives the first part gives this thriller its distinctive style, drawing the reader into the story and the main characters, making the family itself not just secondary faceless victims but active participants in this thriller. Jeremy and his sister grow throughout the story as they are faced with the horror of their parents' murder and the absence of their parents from their lives. Elise, the daughter adds emotional and psychological suspense to the story as she seeks to stand up for herself and come face to face with her fears. Several twists and quick but forboding details ramp up the suspense when one least expects it.
Despite the emotional depth of this thriller, the fast-paced plot and fluidity of the writing style make IN THEIR BLOOD a fast-paced read. Just when one thinks s/he might be able to go to sleep for the night and return to the book the next day, a new scene or wrinkle to the case drives the reader deeper into the story. Perhaps, the ending could have been drawn out or focused on more details of the scene to heighten the suspense and spine-tingling drama as the danger mounts. Perhaps a few of the suspects could have been more finely developed or the suspense threads more finely interwoven but nevertheless, IN THEIR BLOOD demonstrates the author's ability to add a new perspective to the thriller genre. Although this novel lacks the polished seamless interweaving of the suspense web throughout, this reader felt compelled by the story itself and the emotional landscape of the characters even more than other more polished interwoven suspense novels. I simply could not put the book down until the last page and still, upon finishing it, find it haunting. This reader thoroughly enjoyed the story for its emotional depth and how IN THEIR BLOOD distinguishes itself from the typical expectations of the thriller genre by adding emotion and character growth to suspense rather than an intricate search for minute crime details. A very nice change of pace!
IN THEIR BLOOD is highly recommended for suspense lovers looking for a unique voice and a thriller with a distinctiveness all its own. IN THEIR BLOOD may not have the pre-fab style of the more formulaic thrillers out there, but rather it is best read by those wanting to discover something new and different. Sharon Potts is clearly a talented author with her compelling debut novel marking her as an author for suspense lovers to watch. As both thriller and coming-of-age story, IN THEIR BLOOD is a powerful genre blend that takes the reader into the heart of crime as it affects those left behind.
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