Thicker Than Water, by Brigid Kemmerer
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Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: December 29, 2015
Length: 322 pages
Times Read: Once
Rating: The twist in this one threw me
On his own.
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…
What I Liked: I was L-O-V-I-N-G this book for the first 2/3. It’s intense, thriller-y, mysterious, dual voices, and has lots of swoon. I’ll talk about the twist that comes close to the end later, because that falls under things I didn’t like. Here are the things I DID like:
♥ Great narrators. I loved reading both Charlotte and Thomas’ chapters. Their voices were unique, and I never had trouble keeping them straight.
♥ Charlotte. She’s growing up in a family where the women cook and clean and need to be protected, and the men don’t help around the house and must protect the women at all costs. Charlotte fights against it, though. She doesn’t want to be protected, she wants to make her own decisions and doesn’t want to be expected to make plates of food for everyone else, to do all the dishes, to always dress ladylike with makeup on and hair done. She doesn’t always fight it out loud, but she’s constantly thinking about it and knows it isn’t right. She also has Type 1 diabetes, and while it’s not a huge part of the story, it made her interesting. That’s not something I read about often.
♥Thomas. Because half of the book is from his point of view, I never believed that Thomas murdered his mother. We read about his love for her, his grief over her death, his confusion about who would have done this, and why. He’s ostracized by everyone in the town aside from Charlotte and her best friend Nicole, and he feels so lonely and punished for something he didn’t do. Charlotte has three older brothers who are all cops and are all sure that Thomas is a killer and desperate to bring him down.
♥It’s a murder mystery, which warms my true-crime loving heart. I was trying to figure things out right along with Thomas and Charlotte, even though I didn’t come close. There are smaller mysteries during the book as well, and I liked that the answers weren’t obvious. I was FLYING through the pages to figure out what happened.
♥The swoon is real. There are some steamy scenes, and I’m into it. It’s nothing crazy, but there’s more than a chaste kiss and what does happen was very realistic. I’m always happy when I find a book with some good steam in it, and this was no disappointment. Even though Thomas is hated and feared by the entire town, Charlotte can’t stay away from him, and definitely can’t resist him.
What I Didn’t: *SPOILERS ABOUND* from here on down, so if you plan to read this one, stop here.
⊗Thomas’ name. I just don’t like it, and I was jarred whenever someone in the book said it. But that’s a weird thing to be picky about, so I won’t hold it against the book or the author.
⊗Jonathan. I know he’s the antagonist and we’re meant to dislike him, so job well done.
⊗The publisher’s description. “Her best friend was the other murder vic.” Lies. She was not.
⊗Charlotte’s weird memories/dreams. What were those, exactly? By Charlotte’s own admission, the girl who was killed years ago wasn’t her best friend. They took ballet class together, and were friendly, but that’s about it. So why did Charlotte start having dreams that were the dead girl’s memories? What allowed her to access her thoughts and what she saw the day she died? Was it connected to my next dislike?
⊗ THE TWIST
To be fair, not seeing this twist coming may have been my fault. I didn’t check what other readers had shelved it as, genre-wise, on Goodreads so I had no idea it was going to take a paranormal turn. Knowing that wouldn’t have stopped me from reading it, but it felt like it came out of nowhere, so late in the book. The book’s description doesn’t have any mention of paranormal abilities, so I was really confused when it popped up. Thomas and his secret older brother that he didn’t know about are both empaths, which made me question everything I’d read before it. Was Charlotte really attracted to him, or did he subconsciously make it happen? Why the murders? This unexpected turn took things in a direction I wasn’t prepared for, and it felt like it was never properly introduced or explained in full. I still have LOTS of questions about what it means in relation to the rest of the book.
⊗The ending. It’s left pretty open, and there are so many unanswered questions that I was sure a sequel would be coming, but I can’t find any information about one. I don’t mind an open ending most of the time, but this one seemed like it was setting up for another book, which doesn’t seem to be coming.
Final Thoughts: Although I’ve listed a lot of things that I didn’t like, I would still recommend this book. It’s steamy and twisty and despite my issues with how things are resolved, it’s a great murder mystery. I flew through it trying to find out who did what, and why.
Favorite Quotes: “I had no idea you could be attracted to, afraid of, and irritated by the same person, all within a three-minute period.”
“Loneliness is a funny disease. You don’t realize how badly you’re infected until someone gives you a shot of contentment—and then it wears off.”