Family came first. Always.
Published: December 29, 2020
Publisher: Kensington Books
Pages: 370 (Kindle)
That death demanded justice, and Angela promised herself, she wouldn’t rest till she knew what had happened.
Fans of Ruth Ware and B.A. Paris won’t want to miss this complex psychological thriller from an acclaimed author about a powerful Boston family desperate to keep their darkest secrets from coming to light.
While attending a gala at Prescott University’s lavish new campus, Hester Thursby and fellow guest, Detective Angela White, are called to the home of the college’s owners, Tucker and Jennifer Matson. Jennifer claims that someone broke into Pinebank, their secluded mansion on the banks of Jamaica Pond. The more Hester and Angela investigate, the less they believe Jennifer’s story, leaving Hester to wonder why she would lie.
When Hester is asked by the college’s general manager to locate some missing alumni, she employs her research skills on the family and their for-profit university. Between financial transgressions, a long-ago tragedy, and rumors of infidelity, it’s clear that the Matsons aren’t immune to scandal or mishap. But when one of the missing students turns up dead, the mystery takes on new urgency.
Hester is edging closer to the truth, but as a decades-old secret collides with new lies, a killer grows more determined to keep the past buried with the dead. . . .
Trigger Warning: dead children, transphobia (sort of?)
First and foremost, thank you to my wonderful friends at Kensington for sending me an ARC copy of Edwin Hill’s latest Hester Thursby novel! I have been following this series from the beginning and he just keeps getting better and better!
This novel starts off very close to the ending events of the last novel, The Missing Ones, which I highly highly recommend. It was one of my favorite reads of 2020. This series is best read in order although I think you could get away with reading them on their own, but probably not out of order. If that makes sense? We get lots of cameos from our friends from the previous two novels and it’s apparent that Hester not only finds people but has a way of collecting them, as well. It’s actually quite sweet.
Watch Her is a multi-faceted mystery that jumps between the 1970’s and present time. Hill’s strong suit is his ability to write his characters; they’re all dynamic, they all grow and change, they all harbor secrets. Even Hester, after three books, keeps secrets that I’m not sure we’ll ever know. It’s addictive and I don’t think I’ve seen a protagonist similar to her- probably ever. What starts as a decades old mystery that both Angela and Hester can’t seem to let go turns into a very real and very present mystery with a murder and some college students at it’s center.
I thought the plot points involving the college were so interesting. It gave it this fresh and glittering appeal; a scandalous art college isn’t something that I’ve seen a lot in mystery novels and I loved it as the backdrop here. We got family dynamics and wealth and privilege that intersected with struggling college students and the near politics of running a higher education institution. As with the previous two in the series, this is a bit on the darker side so just be aware of those trigger warnings at the top.
While we do get answers in the end, as is typical with Hill’s writing style, there are things left unsaid and some loose ends left dangling. In most cases that would annoy me, but I love the way Hill wraps his books. It’s nice to end with some concerns left over; real life is rarely so easily wrapped up.
With a unique backdrop, a diverse cast of characters and pets, and some pretty scandalous family secrets Watch Her was a great addition to the Hester Thursby series. I am a full fledged fan of the series and I cannot wait to see where it goes, especially with some of those details at the end! No spoilers from me, but I still think Dr. Morgan Maguire, DVM is a DREAMBOAT. Thanks again, Kensington!
The Hester Thursby Series