Ransom River Review, ‘A masterful thriller.’


Ransom River by Meg Gardiner is a masterful work in the thriller genre. It has a tight plot, beautiful prose, good action, compelling characters, and enough wisdom and insight into humanity to engage every part of your mind.


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.

Every time I thought I knew what the book was about, aka, tried to put it in a box…it instantly jumped out and surprised me. At first it was a courtroom drama, then it turned into a detective story, then into a family drama, then an action-adventure, then a mystery, then a romance, then a quest…it was all of that because it was about people, and people can’t be labeled as one thing. The plot is fast paced until the second act, when there is a lot of dialogue regarding the mystery of the cold case, but then the climax shocks you like a live wire and you can’t stop reading until The End.

The narration jumps from past to present. At first the backstories didn’t agree with me, I felt they slowed the pace. But then things from the backstories started to click with the present and I just settled down and enjoyed reading the work of a master storyteller.

Rory and Seth are two of my favorite thriller characters I’ve ever read. Seth, the fallen hero, has so much pathos and appeal. Rory is the kind of character I want to introduce to my girls as a role model. Smart, strong, loving…and determined to do right for her family and friends.
Meg Gardiner’s next book, The Shadow Tracer, will be out through Dutton this June 27th. I’ll be first in line to buy it.
I rarely give out five stars, but Ransom River has more than earned it. Highly recommended!
Check out Meg Gardiner’s Website, she’s an awesome one to follow.


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Ellie Ann is an author and an editor for Stonehouse Ink Publishing. Check out her new thriller, Breaking Steele, and the upcoming Twisting Steele, she co-authored with bestseller Aaron Patterson. Her first solo novel, a YA science fiction called The Silver Sickle, will be released by Stonehouse Ink this July. Something else that tickles her fancy is working with transmedia books at Noble Beast Publishing, where she is a producer, author, and editor. She wrote the text for a multi-media adventure, Slice of Life, available this May.

Ellie Ann blogs at I’m Ellie Ann and would love to meet you on Facebook or Twitter.

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