Thursday, October 6, 2016

ARC Review: The Row by J. R. Johansson

The Row
Author: J. R. Johansson
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (October 11, 2016)

Description: A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl's hunt for the truth.

Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.

Then, a month before the execution date, Riley's world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he's told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she's believed about the family she loves.

My Thoughts: Riley Beckett has lived a lonely life since her father was convicted of being a serial killer. People have tarred her with the same brush and she faces harassment at home and at school. Her only constant is the visits she makes to her father on death row. But now the final appeal has been disallowed and an execution date has been set.

Riley is determined to prove that her father is innocent of the murders of the three women he was convicted for. She meets a new friend when she decides to travel to a distant mall to people watch. She is first introduced to Jordan by his younger brother who invites her to play racing cars with them. She and Jordan strike up a friendship but both are concealing things about their identities. Riley hasn't mentioned that she is the daughter of a serial killer and Jordan hasn't mentioned that his father is the police officer who put him away. 

Jordan and Riley bond over their shared grief. Jordan recently lost his mother in a drunk driving accident and his father has buried himself in work ever since. Riley's problems with a father in prison leave a massive hole in her life.

Their new relationship nearly founders when she learns his identity but they agree to work together to look at the whole case again. Since the trial happened when Riley was six, she is getting a much different view of the evidence now that she is seventeen. Her investigation allows her to learn some disturbing things about her parents - things that make her reevaluate what she believes about them.

This was a very interesting story told from an viewpoint that was new to me: what it is like for the child of a serial killer who strongly believes that they are innocent. Following Riley's path as she learns about her father with one stunning revelation after another made a very engaging story.

Fans of mysteries will enjoy this tense thriller.

Favorite Quote:
Mama and Daddy had told me that the things the prosecutors said were lies and I should forget about them, and I'd believed my parents completely.  Reading through these documents of evidence now—now when I'm older and understand each and every detail, and now that I know that my parents are liars, too—it's an entirely different experience, and my stomach is a turbulent mess.
I received this one for review from the publisher. You can buy your copy here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity. Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!