A stunningly complex and atmospheric crime novel from Edgar Award–winning author Meg Gardiner, Ransom River features a deeply flawed, compelling heroine, a murder trial, and the long-unsolved mystery it exposes.
Rory Mackenzie is juror number seven on a high-profile murder case in her hometown of Ransom River, California. It’s a place she vowed never to visit again, after leaving behind its surfeit of regret and misfortune and the specter of a troubled past that threatened to disturb the town’s peaceful façade.
Brilliant yet guarded, Rory has always felt like an outsider. She retreated into herself when both her career aspirations and her love affair with a childhood friend, undercover cop Seth Colder, were destroyed in a tragic accident.
While most of the town is focused on the tense and shocking circumstances of the trial, Rory’s return to Ransom River dredges up troubling memories from her childhood that she can no longer ignore. But in the wake of a desperate attack on the courthouse, Rory realizes that exposing these dark skeletons has connected her to an old case that was never solved, and bringing the truth to light just might destroy her.
Departing from her popular series novels, Meg Gardiner has gone deeper than ever into the utterly convincing lives and compelling pasts of her characters. Ransom River is an intimate crime thriller with a dark mystery at its heart—one that will keep readers breathless until the very last page.
Read for Audio Review
Overall Rating: 3.75
Character Rating: 4.00
Story Rating: 3.50
Audio Rating: 4.00 (not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: Ransom River is much darker (even though she writes dark thrillers) than Meg Gardiner’s normal writing but I liked it! She has a real talent for it!
What I Thought of the Characters: Meg Gardiner really knows how to write compelling characters and in Ransom River she does it again. This is a departure from her series and much darker. The characters reflect this different style. Rory is complex, strong, and emotionally unsure. She is thrown into a horrid situation and works her way through each and every step. You wanted to root for her, pick her up, and you wanted to give her a hug. Seth is also complicated and a little “fishy”. You are never quite sure what it is that he is holding back. Those types of characters really make thrillers!
What I Thought of the Story: Ransom River was an interesting twist on the normal Thriller story. It starts out with a big event and then follows the aftermath. On a whole, I think Meg Gardiner did a great job taking that route. The only part that didn’t sit well with me was the cousin part of the story. It was part of the overall events but the ending part where that was concerned didn’t sit right. If there is a book 2 then I am sure it will work out the way it is supposed to but it was a little open-ended for me. Otherwise, I really did enjoy each turn that the story took. I was never quite sure where it was going next.
What I thought of the Audio: Narrated by Angela Dawe and at a running time of 11 hrs and 19 mins, I thought the audio was very well done. The pacing, pronunciation, and emotion were all done with precision. I thought Angela Dawe was really on point with Rory and did a good job with Seth too.
Final Thought: If you are a fan of Meg Gardiner then you need to read Ransom River.
*NOTE: Meg writes dark thrillers but this one just seemed darker emotionally for the lead character of Rory.*