In the Blood

In the Blood - Lisa Unger Lana Granger is not your typical college student. She has friends, goes to the occasional party, and even joins in on the occasional pub crawl. What she doesn't do is date . . . ever! Lana is a senior at Sacred Heart College in The Hollows, New York. Her major is psychology, she's somewhat androgynous in appearance, not really a nerd or geek, but she does have a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She avoids opening up to anyone, including her suite mates. Lana's background is filled with horror. Her maternal grandfather was a convicted mass murderer. Her father is a convicted murderer and is on death row. Not many know these details of Lana's past, except her best friend - Rebecca "Beck" Miller, her college advisor - Prof. Langdon Hewes, her family, and her psychologist - Dr. Maggie Cooper. Now that Beck is missing, Lana is targeted by the police as a suspect if not key person of interest due to the lies of omission she has told. It also appears that Lana's family secrets are about to be revealed. If that's not enough to deal with, Lana has an afternoon job taking care of an emotionally troubled, highly gifted, and potentially violent eleven-year-old, Lucas "Luke" Kahn, and she’s just been informed that her father wants to have contact before his execution. Lana feels that she can help Luke, but he seems to be keeping secrets not just from her, but from his mother, his educators, and his counselors. Everyone has secrets, but Lana's secrets might be hazardous to her health.

Ms. Unger has crafted an amazing psychological thriller with In the Blood. The reader is provided a glimpse into the psychology of a psychopath, especially a child psychopath with Luke. He comes across as highly intelligent, but he's also very manipulative and vindictive in his outlook. The reader is also introduced to an anonymous journal kept by the mother of a highly disturbed male child. As the story unravels, the volatile relationship between Beck and Lana is revealed. It is also revealed that another classmate of Lana's disappeared and was found dead two years ago. Is it possible that Lana had something to do with both disappearances? Why does Lana's college advisor seem to pop-up whenever Lana goes out after Beck's disappearance? Why is Luke so interested in Lana and her past?

I found In the Blood to be a gripping, emotionally stirring, and fast-paced read. I liked Lana and felt empathetic toward the problems she was enduring in college. I felt sorry over the fact that she couldn't really open up emotionally toward her family or friends. I never really liked Luke or Professor Hewes, as I felt they were both playing mind games with Lana. (Were they in reality doing this, read the book to find out?!) Beck had a history of running away, so at first I wasn't quite sure what was going on with her disappearance. It is clear that Lana really liked her suite-mate, even though they didn't agree on everything. The ending is quite a surprise and neatly ties up all of the "loose-ends" throughout the storyline. I felt the characters were realistic and well developed, and the action quite plausible. This was one read that I didn't want to end. If you enjoy reading thrillers with a twist, then In the Blood is definitely one you'll want to read.