Book Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

He Will Be My RuinHe Will Be My Ruin
K.A. Tucker
Atria Books, February 2016
ISBN 978-1-5011-1207-2

From the publisher—

A woman who almost had it all . . .

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

How well does one person really know another? That question is at the core of the larger mystery in He Will Be My Ruin and working through it is a fascinating study of family relationships.

The relationship between Maggie and Celine is actually that of best friends but it also serves as family in their case. Growing up together, Maggie was the very rich little girl and Celine the daughter of the nanny, Rosa, but the two girls were as close as any children could be while Rosa was something of a surrogate mother to Maggie. Her own parents were distant, far more involved in their own world of wealth, business and society than with their daughter, and Maggie eventually left that life behind.

Having spent the last several years using her enormous trust fund in her nonprofit organization building new lives for third world villages, Maggie is now in New York City to settle Celine’s affairs after her suicide. Trouble is, Maggie finds it impossible to believe that Celine would kill herself and begins to question Celine’s life in the last few years. Those questions lead Maggie to some very tough answers and to the distinct possibility that she herself is about to die.

Fraught with tension, this story is a rollercoaster of emotions as well as an intriguing hunt for the truth about Celine’s life and death. At times, I couldn’t put the book down and that was partly because of the tight plot but also because Maggie and Celine are such appealing and captivating characters, each in very different ways. The final resolution was not entirely surprising but the journey to get there was well worth it and I’m looking forward to trying other books by K.A. Tucker.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2016.



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About the Author

K.A. TuckerK.A. Tucker is the author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and the Burying Water series. She currently resides outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

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