Book Review: House of Cards By Terri Molina

“I think he’s going to kill me.”

A frantic phone call from her estranged sister sends Jesse Pena rushing home to Brownsville, Texas, only to find that Alicia–seven months pregnant–has vanished. Jesse is convinced her brother-in-law, Marcus Vega, is a killer but getting the police to listen isn’t easy, especially when Marcus announces that Jesse and her sister are borderline schizophrenic.

Detective Michael Cisneros is reluctant to believe Jesse’s allegation. After all, Marcus Vega is a prominent citizen with a tight alibi, and this isn’t the first time she’s charged him with murder. When Michael is accused of allowing a personal relationship with her to cloud his judgment, he is forced to accept what Jesse can not–Marcus Vega is innocent. Jesse’s refusal to give up will risk more than her life, it will test her sanity as well.

! enjoyed this 23 chapter book. It went back and forth between Jesse and Detective Michael’s third person point-of-view. How would you feel if you knew a crime was committed but you couldn’t prove it? I’d go crazy. I admired that Jesse didn’t give up trying to search for her sister Alicia. And that she didn’t give up believing that her parents were murdered. I liked that the main character was strong and took matters into her own hands when the police force wanted to stick a cold case label on the alleged crime.

I liked the backstory that Jesse and Michael knew of each other when they were younger. I always like to see how people’s relationships develop after rekindling. It offered good inner conflict scenes for Michael. Following protocol, he couldn’t do whatever he wanted without evidence. He had a precinct he had to answer to. However, he didn’t want to let Jesse down.

Marcus was Alicia’s husband, and let me tell ya, he was a true villain. He made my skin crawl (in a good way). He had the right charisma and good boy image to get away with crimes. I thought the scenes where he terrorized Jesse by playing mind games with her was very interesting. From the beginning, I got a sense of how the story was going to go, so it wasn’t really a mystery for me. Instead, it was suspenseful (as in trying to determine when the characters will wise up so they can protect themselves).

The author had a brilliant talent with dialogue. The conversations were really realistic and her dialogue beats helped enhance the vision of how the characters interacted with each other. There were a lot of disagreements that I loved. I really felt bad for Jesse because she’d been dealing with trauma for 12 years, without anyone listening to her.  I could picture this novel as a Lifetime movie.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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