Friday, December 15, 2023

Review: Christmas Presents by Lisa Unger

Christmas Presents
by Lisa Unger

Publisher: Mysterious Press
Pages: 260
Format: audiobook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads: Madeline Martin has built a life for herself as the young owner of a thriving business, The Next Chapter Bookshop, despite her tragic childhood and now needing to care for her infirm father. When Harley Granger, a failed novelist turned true crime podcaster, drifts into her shop in the days before Christmas, he seems intent on digging up events that Madeline would much rather forget. She’s the only surviving victim of Evan Handy, the man who was convicted of murdering her best friend Steph, and is suspected in the disappearance of two sisters, also good friends of Madeline’s, who have been missing for nearly a decade. It’s an investigation that has obsessed her father Sheriff James Martin right up until his stroke took his faculties.

Harley Granger has a gift for seeing things that others miss. He wasn’t much of a novelist, but his work as a true crime author and podcaster has earned him fame and wealth—and some serious criticism for his various unethical practices. Still, visiting Little Valley to be closer to his dying father has caused him to look into a case that many people think is closed—and some want reopened. And he has a lot of questions about the night Stephanie Cramer was killed, Ainsley and Sam Wallace disappeared, and Madeline Martin was left for dead, bleeding out on a riverbank.

Since Evan Handy went to jail, three other young women have gone missing, most recently a young college dropout named Lolly. Five young women missing in the same area in a decade. Are they connected? Was Evan Handy innocent after all? Or was there some else there that night? Someone who is still satisfying his dark appetites?

As Christmas approaches and a blizzard bears down, Madeline and her childhood friend Badger return to a past they both hoped was dead—to find the missing Lolly and to answer questions that have haunted them both, discovering that the truth is more terrible and much closer to home than they think.

Kritters Thoughts:  A book I read solely via audiobook and what I believe to be my first thriller audiobook experience and will absolutely not be my last!  Not my first Lisa Unger book, so I knew before going in that I was probably going to enjoy, but to experience in a different medium was fun to try.  

The main character is a bookstore owner, a future dream of my own, and she is living in the same small town that she was raised, but is trying to forget and hide some things of the past.  BUT in walks a famous author who has a history of digging into things of the past and putting together podcasts to uncover secrets of the past.  Madeline Martin may be a bit worried as to what Harley Granger may find and what she may have to confront.  

Listening to the book was such a fun experience.  To listen to a thriller and have the same joy of wanting to keep reading and reading and not stopping was awesome!  I kept cleaning parts of my house and sitting in my car while running errands so I could continue listening to this riveting thriller.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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