He Will Be My Ruin

He Will Be My Ruin

by K.A. Tucker


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Discover the novel praised as a “nail-biting thriller” (Publishers Weekly), a “compelling web” (Kirkus Reviews), “tightly plotted character study” (RT Magazine), and a “dark, twisty tale of lurid secrets, lavish lifestyles, and devastating loss” (Lisa Gardner).

A woman who almost had it all....On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old in Manhattan could want: a one-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation....Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin....On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501112072
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. She is the bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series and the novels He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

Read an Excerpt

He Will Be My Ruin

  • Maggie

    November 30, 2015

    The afternoon sun beams through the narrow window, casting a warm glow over Celine’s floral comforter.

    It would be inviting, only her body was found in this very bed just thirteen days ago.


    “Yeah,” I respond without actually turning around, my gaze taking in the cramped bedroom before me. I’ve never been a fan of New York City and all its overpriced boroughs. Too big, too busy, too pretentious. Take this Lower East Side apartment, for example, on the third floor of a drafty building built in the 1800s, with a ladder of shaky fire escapes facing the side alley and a kitschy gelato café downstairs. It costs more per month than the average American hands the bank in mortgage payments.

    And Celine adored it.

    “I’m in 410 if you just . . . want to come and find me.”

    I finally turn and acknowledge the building super—a chestnut-haired English guy around thirty by my guess, with a layer of scruff over his jawline and faded blue jeans—edging toward the door. Given the apartment is 475 square feet, it doesn’t take him long to reach it.

    I think he gave me his name but I wasn’t listening. I’ve barely said two words since I met him in front of Celine’s apartment, armed with a stack of cardboard flats and trash bags. An orchestra of clocks that softly tick away claim that that was nearly half an hour ago. I’ve simply stood here since then, feeling the brick-exposed walls—lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and filled with the impressive collection of treasures that Celine had amassed over her twenty-eight years—closing in on me.

    But now I feel the need to speak. “You were the one who let the police in?” Celine never missed work, never arrived late. That’s why, after not showing up for two days and not answering her phone or her door, her coworker finally called the cops.

    The super nods.

    “You saw her?”

    His eyes flicker to the thin wall that divides the bedroom from the rest of the apartment—its only purpose is to allow the building’s owner to charge rent for a “one-bedroom” instead of a studio. There’s not even enough room for a door. Yes, he saw her body. “She seemed really nice,” he offers, his throat turning scratchy, shifting on his feet. He’d rather be unplugging a shit-filled toilet than be here right now. I don’t blame him. “Uh . . . So you can just slide the key through the mail slot in my door when you’re finished, if you want? I’ll be home later tonight to grab it.”

    Under different circumstances, I’d find his accent charming. “I’ll be staying here for a while.”

    He frowns. “You can’t—”

    “Yeah, I can,” I snap, cutting his objection off. “We’re on the hook with the lease until the end of January, right? So don’t even think of telling me that I can’t.” I’m in no rush to empty this place out so some jackass landlord can rent it next month and pocket my money. Plus . . . My gaze drifts over the living room again. I just need to be in Celine’s presence for a while, even if she’s not here anymore.

    “Of course. I’m just . . .” He bites his bottom lip as if to stall a snippy response. When he speaks again, his tone is back to soft. “The mattress, the bedding, it’ll all need to be replaced. I would have already pitched it for you, but I figured that it wasn’t my call to make. I pulled the blanket up to cover the mess and tried to air the place out, but . . .”

    I sigh shakily, the tension making my body as taut as a wire. I’m the only jackass around here. “Right. I’m sorry.” I inhale deeply. The linen air freshener can’t completely mask the smell. Her body lay in that bed for two days.



    “I’ll be fine with the couch until I can get a new mattress delivered.” It’ll be more than fine, seeing as I’ve been sleeping on a thin bedroll on a dirt floor in Ethiopia for the past three months. At least there’s running water here, and I’m not sharing the room with two other people. Or rats, hopefully.

    “I can probably get a bloke in here to help me carry it out if you want,” he offers, sliding hands into his pockets as he slowly shifts backward.

    “Thank you.” I couple my contrite voice with a smile and watch the young super exit, pulling the door shut behind him.

    My gaze drifts back to the countless shelves. I haven’t been to visit Celine in New York in over two years; we always met in California, the state where we grew up. “My, you’ve been busy,” I whisper. Celine always did have a love for the old and discarded, and she had a real eye for it. She’d probably seen every last episode of Antiques Roadshow three times over. She was supposed to start school this past September to get her MA in art business, with plans to become an appraiser. She delayed enrollment, for some reason.

    But she never told me that. I found out through her mother just last week.

    Her apartment looks more like a bursting vintage shop than a place someone would live. It’s well organized at least—all her trinkets grouped effectively. Entire shelves are dedicated to elaborate teacups, others to silver tea sets, genuine hand-cut crystal glassware, ornate clocks and watches, hand-painted tiles, and so on. Little side tables hold stained-glass lamps and more clocks and her seemingly endless collection of art history books. On the few walls not lined with shelves, an eclectic mix of artwork fills the space.

    Very few things in here aren’t antique or vintage. The bottles of Ketel One, Maker’s Mark, and Jägermeister lined up on a polished brass bar cart. Her computer and a stack of hardcover books, sitting on a worn wooden desk that I’d expect to find in an old elementary schoolhouse. Even the two-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree has well-aged ornaments dangling from its branches.

    I wander aimlessly, my hands beginning to touch and test. A slight pull of the desk drawer finds it locked, with no key anywhere, from what I can see. I run a finger along the spine of a leather-bound edition of The Taming of the Shrew on a shelf. Not a speck of dust. Celine couldn’t stand disorder. Every single nutcracker faces out, equidistant from the next, shortest in front, tallest in back, as if she measured them with a ruler and placed them just so.

    Being enclosed in this organized chaos makes me antsy. Or maybe that’s my own ultra-minimalist preferences coming out.

    I sigh and drop my purse onto the couch. My phone goes next, but not before I send a text to my personal assistant, Taryn, to ask that she arrange for a firm double mattress to be delivered to Celine’s address. Then I power the phone off before she can respond with unnecessary questions. I’ve had it on silent since my plane landed in San Diego five days ago for the funeral. Even with two proficient assistants handling my organization’s affairs while I’m dealing with my best friend’s death, the stupid thing hasn’t stopped vibrating.

    They can all wait for me, while I figure out where to begin here.

    I know I have a lot of paperwork to get to the lawyer. All estate proceeds will eventually go to Celine’s mother, Rosa, but she doesn’t want a dime. She’s already demanded that I sell off anything I don’t want to keep for myself and use the money for one of my humanitarian efforts in her daughter’s name.

    I could tell Rosa was still in shock, because she has always been a collector by nature—that’s where Celine got it from—and it surprised me that she wouldn’t want to keep at least some of her daughter’s treasures for herself. But she was adamant and I was not going to argue. I’ll just quietly pack a few things that I think would mean a lot to her and have them shipped to San Diego.

    Seeing Celine’s apartment now, though, I realize that selling is going to take forever. I’m half-tempted to dump everything into boxes for charity, guesstimate the value, and write a check. But that would belittle all the evenings and weekends that Celine devoted to hunting antique shops, garage sales, and ignorant sellers for her next perfect treasure.

    My attention lands on the raw wood plank shelf that floats over a mauve suede couch, banked by silky curtains and covered with an eclectic mix of gilded frames filled with pictures from Celine’s childhood. Most of them are of her and her mom. Some are of just her. Four include me.

    I smile as I ease one down, of Celine and me at the San Diego Zoo. I was twelve, she was eleven. Even then she was striking, her olive skin tanned from a summer by the pool. Next to her, my pale Welsh skin always looked sickly.

    I first met Celine when I was five. My mom had hired her mother, Rosa Gonzalez, as a housekeeper and nanny, offering room and board for both her and her four-year-old daughter. We had had a string of nannies come and go, my mother never satisfied with their work ethic. But Rosa came highly recommended. It’s so hard to find good help, I remember overhearing my mother say to her friends once. They applauded her generosity with Rosa, that she was not only taking in a recent immigrant from Mexico, but her child as well.

    The day Celine stepped into my parents’ palatial house in La Jolla, she did so with wide brown eyes, her long hair the color of cola in braided pigtails and adorned in giant blue bows, her frilly blue-and-white dress and matching socks like something out of The Wizard of Oz. Celine would divulge to me later on that it was the only dress she owned, purchased from a thrift shop, just for this special occasion.

    Rosa and Celine lived with us for ten years, and my daily routines quickly became Celine’s daily routines. The chauffeur would drop Celine off at the curb in front of the local public school on our way to my private school campus. Though her school was far above average as public schools go, I begged and pleaded for my parents to pay for Celine to attend with me. I didn’t quite understand the concept of money back then, but I knew we had a lot, and we could more than afford it.

    They told me that’s just not how the world works. Besides, as much as Rosa wanted the best for her child, she was too proud to ever accept that kind of generosity. Even giving Celine my hand-me-down clothes was a constant battle.

    No matter where we spent the day, though, from the time we came home to the time we fell asleep, Celine and I were inseparable. I would return from piano lessons and teach Celine how to read music notes. She’d use the other side of my art easel to paint pictures with me of the ocean view from my bedroom window. She’d rate my dives and time my laps around our pool, and I’d do the same for her. We’d lounge beneath the palm trees on hot summer days, dreaming up plans for our future. In my eyes, it was a given that Celine would always be part of my life.

    We were an odd match. From our looks to our social status to our polar-opposite personalities, we couldn’t have been more different. I was captain of the debate squad and Celine played the romantic female lead in her school plays. I spearheaded a holiday charity campaign at the age of thirteen, while Celine sang in choirs for the local senior citizens. I read the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times religiously, while Celine would fall asleep with a Jane Austen novel resting across her chest.

    And then one Saturday morning in July when I was fifteen, my parents announced that they had filed for divorce. I still remember the day well. They walked side-by-side toward where I lounged beside the pool, my dad dressed for a round of golf, my mom carrying a plate of Rosa’s breakfast enchiladas. They’d technically separated months earlier, and I had no idea because seeing them together had always been rare to begin with.

    The house in La Jolla was going up for sale. Dad was buying a condo close to the airport, to make traveling for work easier, while Mom would be moving to Chicago, where our family’s company, Sparkes Energy, had their corporate headquarters. I’d stay wherever I wanted, when I wasn’t at the prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts that they decided I should attend for my last three years of high school.

    The worst of it was that Rosa and Celine would be going their own way.

    Rosa, who was more a parent to me than either of my real parents had ever been.

    Celine . . . my best friend, my sister.

    Both of them, gone from my daily life with two weeks’ notice.

    They’re just a phone call away, my mom reasoned. That’s all I had, and so I took advantage. For years, I would call Celine and Rosa daily. I had a long-distance plan, but had I not, I still would have happily driven up my mom’s phone bill, bitter with her for abandoning me for the company. I spent Christmases and Thanksgivings with Rosa and Celine instead of choosing to spend them with Melody or William Sparkes.

    To be honest, it never was much of a choice.

    Through boyfriends, college, jobs, and fronting a successful nonprofit organization that has had me living all over Africa and Asia for the last six years, Celine and Rosa have remained permanent fixtures in my life.

    Until thirteen days ago, when Rosa’s sobs filled my ear in a village near Nekemte, Ethiopia, where I’ve been leading a water well project and building homes. After a long, arduous day in the hot sun, my hands covered with cuts from corrugated iron and my muscles sore from carrying burned bricks, it was jarring to hear Rosa’s voice. California felt worlds away. At first I thought that I hadn’t kept myself hydrated enough and I was hallucinating. But by the third time I heard her say, “Celine killed herself,” it finally registered. It just didn’t make sense.

    It still doesn’t.

    Hollowness kept me company all the way back—first on buses, then a chartered flight, followed by several commercial airline connections—and into Rosa’s modest home in the suburbs of San Diego. The hollowness held me together through the emotional visitation and funeral, Rosa’s tightly knit Mexican community rocked by the news. It numbed me enough to face Rosa’s eyes, bloodshot and rimmed with dark circles, as she insisted that I come to New York to handle the material remains of her only child.

    The case is all but officially closed. The police are simply waiting for the final autopsy report to confirm that a lethal dose of Xanax—the pill bottle sitting open on her nightstand was from a prescription she filled only two days prior—combined with an unhealthy amount of vodka was what killed her. They see it as a quick open-and-shut suicide case, aided by a note in her handwriting that read I’m sorry for everything, found lying next to her.

    The picture frame cracks within my tightening grasp as tears burn my cheeks, and I have the overwhelming urge to smash the entire shelf of happy memories.

    This just doesn’t seem possible. How could she do this to her mother? I shift my focus to the picture of Rosa—a petite brunette with a fierce heart, who gives hugs to strangers who look like they’re having a bad day and spouts a string of passionate Spanish when anyone tries to leave the dinner table before every last bite is finished.

    Before this past week, I hadn’t seen Rosa since last Christmas. She still looks frail eleven months after the doctors told her that the double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation had worked and she was considered in remission. It’ll be a year in January since the day Celine phoned me to give me the good news: that Rosa had fought breast cancer hard. And had won.

    So why the hell would Celine make her suffer so horribly now?

    I roam aimlessly through the rest of the apartment, in a state of extreme exhaustion after days of travel and jet lag and tears, taking in everything that remains of my childhood friend.

    But there are things here that surprise me, too—a closet full of designer-label dresses that Celine couldn’t possibly have afforded on an administrative assistant’s salary, a bathroom counter overflowing with bold red lipsticks and daringly dark eye shadows that I never saw touch her naturally beautiful face, not even in recent photos.

    Knowing Celine, she bought those dresses at secondhand stores. And the makeup, well . . . She would have looked beautiful with red lipstick.

    I smile, sweeping the bronzer brush across my palm to leave a dusting of sparkle against my skin. I’m supposed to be this girl—the one with the extravagant clothes and makeup, who puts time and stock into looks and money. As the fourth generation of one of the biggest energy companies in the world, I will one day inherit 51 percent of the corporation’s shares. Though my parents don’t need to work, they each run a division—my industrialist father managing the ugly face of coal burning while my mother distracts the world with a pretty mask of wind and solar energy farms, hiding the fact that we’re slowly helping to destroy the world.

    I grew up aware of the protests. I’ve read enough articles about the greed and the harm to the planet that comes with this industry. By the time I turned twenty-one, still young and idealistic and embroiled by the latest disgrace involving our company and an oil tanker spill off the coast of China, I wanted nothing to do with the enormous trust fund that my grandmother left me. In fact, I was one signature away from handing it all over to a charity foundation. My biggest mistake—and saving grace—was that I tried to do it through my lawyer, a loyal Sparkes Energy legal consultant. He, of course, informed my parents, who fought me on it. I wouldn’t listen to them.

    But I did listen to Celine. She was the one who persuaded me not to do it in the end, sending me link after link of scandal after scandal involving charity organizations. How so little of the money ever actually reaches those in need, how so much of the money lines the pockets of individuals. She used the worst-case scenarios to steer me away from my plan because she knew it would work. Then she suggested that I use the trust fund to lead my own humanitarian ventures. I could do bigger, better things if I controlled it.

    That’s when I began Villages United.

    And Celine was right.

    VU may only be six years old, but it has already become an internationally recognized nonprofit, focused on high-impact lending projects throughout the world geared toward building self-sustainable villages. We teach children to read and give them roofs to sleep under and clean water to drink and clothes to wear and books to read. Between my own money and the money that VU has raised, we have now left a lasting mark on thirty-six communities in countries around the world.

    And I’m not just writing checks from my house in California. I’m right there in the trenches, witnessing the changes firsthand. Something my parents simply don’t understand, though they’ve tried turning it into a Sparkes Energy PR venture on more than one occasion.

    I’ve refused every single time.

    Because, for the first time in a long time, I’m truly proud to be Maggie Sparkes.

    I haven’t even warned them about my newest endeavor—providing significant financial backing to companies that are developing viable and economical green energy solutions. VU was preparing to announce it to the media in the coming weeks. As much as I can’t think about any of that right now, I’ll have to soon. Too many people rely on me.

    But for now . . . all I can focus on is Celine.

    I wander into her bedroom, my back to another wall of collectibles as I stand at the foot of the ornate wrought-iron bed, the delicate bedding stretched out neatly, as if Celine made it this morning. As if she’ll be back later to share a glass of wine and a laugh.

    I yank the duvet back, just long enough to see the ugly proof beneath.

    To remind me that that’s never going to happen.

    Edging along the side of her bed—I actually have to turn and shimmy to fit—I move toward a stack of vintage wooden food crates that serve as a nightstand. A wave of nostalgia washes over me as my finger traces the heavy latches and handmade, chunky gunmetal-gray body of the antique box sitting next to the lamp. The day that I spied it in an antique store while shopping for Celine’s sixteenth birthday, it made me think of a medieval castle. The old man who sold it to me said it was actually an eighteenth-century lockbox.

    Whatever it was, I knew Celine would love it.

    I carry it over to the living room, where I can sit and open it up. Inside are sentimental scraps of Celine’s life. Concert stubs and random papers, a dried rose, her grandmother’s rosary that Rosa gave to her. Rosa is supremely religious, and Celine, the ever-devoted daughter, kept up appearances for her mother, though she admitted to me that she didn’t find value in it.

    I pull each item out, laying them on the trunk coffee table until I’m left with nothing but the smooth velvet floor of the box. I fumble with a small detail on the outside that acts as a lever—remembering my surprise when the man revealed the box’s secret—until a click sounds, allowing me to pry open the false bottom.

    Celine’s shy, secretive eyes lit up when I first showed her the sizeable compartment. It was perfect for hiding treasures, like notes from boys, and the silver bracelet that her senior-year boyfriend bought her for Valentine’s Day and she was afraid to wear in front of Rosa. While I love Rosa dearly, she could be suffocating sometimes.

    My fingers wrap around the wad of money filling the small space as a deep frown creases my forehead. Mostly hundreds but plenty of fifties, too. I quickly count it. There’s almost ten thousand dollars here.

    Why wouldn’t Celine deposit this into her bank account?

    I pick up the ornate bronze key and a creased sheet of paper that also sits within. I’m guessing the key is for the desk. I’ll test that out in a minute. I gingerly unfold the paper that’s obviously been handled many times, judging by the crinkles in it.

    My eyes widen.

    A naked man fills one side. He’s entrancingly handsome, with long lashes and golden-blond tousled hair and a shadow of peach scruff covering his hard jawline. He’s lying on his back, one muscular arm disappearing into the pillow beneath his head, a white sheet tangled around his legs, not quite covering the goods, which from what I can see, are fairly impressive. I can’t tell what color his eyes are because he’s fast asleep.

    “Well then . . .” I frown, taken aback.

    I’m not surprised that Celine could attract the attention of a guy like this. She was a gorgeous young woman—her Mexican roots earning her lush locks, full lips, and voluptuous curves tied to the kind of tiny waist that all men seem to admire.

    Nor am I surprised that he’s blond. It has always been a running joke between us, her penchant for blonds. She’s never dated anything but.

    But I am surprised that she’d have the nerve to take—and print out to keep by her bed—a scandalous picture like this in the first place.

    I wonder if she ever mentioned him to me. She always told me about her dates, utter failures or otherwise. Though it’s been years since she was seeing anyone seriously, and she was definitely seeing this guy seriously if she was sleeping with him. Celine usually waited months before she gave that up to a guy. She didn’t even lose her virginity until she was twenty-two, to a guy she had been dating for six months and hoped that she would one day marry. Who broke up with her shortly afterward.

    So who the hell is this guy and why didn’t I ever hear about him? And where is he now? When were they together last?

    Does he know that she’s dead?

    Worrying my bottom lip between my teeth—it’s a bad habit of mine—I slowly fold the paper back up. Celine’s cursive scrawl decorates the back side in purple ink. Words I hadn’t noticed before.

    Words that make my heart stop now.

    This man was once my salvation. Now he will be my ruin.

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    He Will Be My Ruin 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a "stay up all night reading because I can't put the book down" book!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Great story line. Keeps you guessing the whole time. Best book I've read in a long time. Highly recommend
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I enjoyed this story could wait to finish it. I did feel like the ending was a little rushed. I wish it went more in depth with the kidnapping .
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Margaret123321 More than 1 year ago
    I liked this one. It was a nice break from the YA I've been reading lately, and I feel like I really needed that mystery/thriller. I love the characters in this novel, how developed Maggie and Celine are, how real they seem. They have unique interests that I don't really read about in other characters, so that was a nice change of pace. The only problem with me for this book is that there really are only two good suspects, and I feel like a mystery needs more than that. Tucker did surprise me at the end, which I was not really expecting. It was nice. Everyone likes to be surprised when reading a mystery - we want to figure out who-dun-it, but at the same time we want the authors to have a trick up their sleeves. Tucker does deliver in this regard, and overall, I'm happy with the ending. This isn't the genre Tucker normally writes it, but I think she did a very good job. He Will Be My Ruin is worth the read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was trying too hard to be surprising. Just too much, overall.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Short and sweet: buy it, read it, love it.
    snowfireangel More than 1 year ago
    Fantastic mystery romance story. Tons of twists and turns...a "who done it" that will keep you guessing!
    BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
    How well does one person really know another? That question is at the core of the larger mystery in He Will Be My Ruin and working through it is a fascinating study of family relationships. The relationship between Maggie and Celine is actually that of best friends but it also serves as family in their case. Growing up together, Maggie was the very rich little girl and Celine the daughter of the nanny, Rosa, but the two girls were as close as any children could be while Rosa was something of a surrogate mother to Maggie. Her own parents were distant, far more involved in their own world of wealth, business and society than with their daughter, and Maggie eventually left that life behind. Having spent the last several years using her enormous trust fund in her nonprofit organization building new lives for third world villages, Maggie is now in New York City to settle Celine's affairs after her suicide. Trouble is, Maggie finds it impossible to believe that Celine would kill herself and begins to question Celine's life in the last few years. Those questions lead Maggie to some very tough answers and to the distinct possibility that she herself is about to die. Fraught with tension, this story is a rollercoaster of emotions as well as an intriguing hunt for the truth about Celine's life and death. At times, I couldn't put the book down and that was partly because of the tight plot but also because Maggie and Celine are such appealing and captivating characters, each in very different ways. The final resolution was not entirely surprising but the journey to get there was well worth it and I'm looking forward to trying other books by K.A. Tucker.
    TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
    Pros: Detailed and thorough in narration // Characters are deeply explored // Suspenseful, fast-paced // Lots of factors introduced that make the mystery unpredictable and complicated // Simple and easy to navigate structurally Cons: Writing style, while effective, is slightly amateurish // I felt like I understood the characters well, but didn't really like any of them Verdict: He Will Be My Ruin combines a blazing tumble of a romance with an emotionally charged murder mystery. Brimming with shocking discoveries and an ominous "sleeping with the enemy" vibe, K.A. Tucker's newest novel grapples with themes of morals and guilt, despair and desperation, and the fine hazards of money and art. While I didn't find this book to be mind-blowing, I guarantee it will keep you glued to its pages until Maggie's mission is complete... if it even ends well, that is. 8 hearts: An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended. Source: Complimentary copy provided by tour publicist via publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, TLC Book Tours and Atria Books!).
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
    I was completely entertained by this book. I picked this book up because of all of the great reviews that I had seen floating around the internet. I felt a little left out at one point since it seemed like everyone but me was reading this book. I had never read K.A. Tucker before but I decided that this would be as good of a place to start as any so I requested the book from my local library before it was even released. My library quickly had a copy ready for me and I am happy to say that I enjoyed my first experience in reading this author. This book was a mystery thriller that really kept me guessing. I would think that I had everything figured out and knew where things were going only to decide that I had to be wrong a chapter later. I changed my mind about what direction the story was going at least a dozen times while reading this book. I think that the fact that this book was completely unpredictable was really one of the biggest strengths of the story. It was a definite win for me. I didn't immediately like Maggie. She is a privileged rich girl who has had things come fairly easy to her. I did like the fact that she was working and using her money to make the world a better place but she also knew how to use her money to get what she wanted. I found myself really feeling for Celine who had to work to get ahead in life only to have it end prematurely. My opinions of the characters changed with each chapter of the book. I came to understand Maggie a little better and realized that Celine wasn't exactly what she appeared to be. The secondary characters were great, especially Ruby. This book held my interest well and I thought that it was very evenly paced. I did like the overall writing style. I did find myself really pulled into the mystery surrounding Celine's death. I was really curious about her life more than anything. I really enjoyed how Celine's journals helped to tell the story and gave her a voice even after her death. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a mystery that will keep them guessing. I really enjoyed K.A. Tucker's suspense debut and am looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.
    Queenbethanny More than 1 year ago
    Maggie is convinced her best friend did not commit suicide and sets out to find the truth, which may lead to her killer. She delves into Celine's life, thinking that she knew her best friend, but finds out everyone, including Celine, is hiding something. Surprises on every turn of the page, will keep you up at night and will make you think you know what is going on. This book had me guessing until the last page. I could feel each character's emotion leaping up at me. I highly recommend this book and look forward to more of K.A. Tucker's books.
    OlaPennington35 More than 1 year ago
    As always, K.A. Tucker has done it again. This mystery kept me turning the pages. It is a little different than what I am used to reading from Tucker, but it is a great kind of different. I love that it took reading the entire book to really figure out the "whodunnit". I suspected just about every single character throughout the course of the story. If I could give more than 5 stars, I definitely would.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    #suspecteveryone This book was suspenseful, thrilling, and had a touch of romance. I could not put it down and I felt like a detective the whole time. It was another KA masterpiece. If you are looking for a book to dive into choose this one!
    rodeorocks13 More than 1 year ago
    This has to be my favorite suspenseful, who done it book that I've read. You can't get through this book without suspecting everyone and that's what makes it so great. K.A. Tucker will mess with your mind through out the whole book, right until the end. I could not put it down for a minute. I love K.A. Tucker's other books that are more romance than suspense but I really want more books like this one. She's able to write more than one genre and do an amazing job. This book should not be missed. It's a fresh breath of suspenseful air. #isuspecteveryone
    LouisaB More than 1 year ago
    4.5 stars I have been a KA Tucker fan since Ten Tiny Breaths...she was the first author signing I ever went to so she will always have a special place in my heart. But this book...so absolutely different from anything she has ever written before...and I LOVED IT. I am a mother of four who began to read more often around 3 years ago. Prior to that, my only time to read was on vacation, one measly week out of the year I would get the newest James Patterson suspense thriller and read and read and read. Since my discovery of romance books, my suspense book reading has come to a screeching halt until this came across my email. I have missed the suspense and pull of books like this. KA Tucker had me captivated pretty quickly. The cast of characters were written in depth. I had my suspicions but they changed with each page I turned. And in my opinion makes this a perfect suspense novel. Being told in Maggie's POV would have you believe we would only see what Maggie was thinking, but with the use of Celine's diaries, we are given a different view of what was going on, not that it gave me any idea as to what was really going on. The twist and turns kept me turning the pages. Phenomenal debut into suspense novels for KA Tucker. I look forward to more!
    Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
    Reviewed by Suzanne and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog Maggie Sparkes has come to New York to see to her best friend Celine’s affair after her suicide. But the more she looks into Celine’s life, the more the suicide doesn’t make sense. As dark secrets are revealed Maggie is convinced that someone close to her staged her murder to look like a suicide…and it looks like the killer now has Maggie in their sight. One of my resolutions this year is to expand my reading, I mostly stick to romance and Urban Fantasy and stay within my genres, but I am determined to expand a little further. This book brings me one step closer as K.A. Tucker has given us a thriller-whodunit read, which is a genre I very rarely read, but now I know what I am missing, I certainly plan to read more. I’m so glad that I picked this up, it had me at the edge of my seat all I wanted to do was keep reading and find out who the bad guy was. There is a string of texts between Francesca and I discussing who we think the baddie is, we pointed the finger at everyone, from the little old lady across the hall to the sexy guy at the office. Tucker cast suspicion on everyone, making it hard to pinpoint exactly who did it, which is why I loved this book, it kept you guessing right until the end. Such a good read! It was a well paced mystery and a very intriguing page-turner, I highly recommend you give this book a go, I promise it won’t disappoint you.
    sonybless More than 1 year ago
    What a gripping suspenseful read. I as hooked from page one. Maggie Sparks, a wealthy humanitarian has lost her very best friend, Celine to an apparent suicide. While cleaning out Celine's apartment, she uncovers many different clues, that lead her to believe this wasn't just a suicide. The cast of characters is complex, and the twists are brilliant. When I was sure who had done it, I would read on to find out that I was wrong.
    Jesszelk More than 1 year ago
    Wow...KA Tucker is at it again but this time, it's darker and it doesn't let go. This romantic suspense thriller is well developed, masterfully crafted and engaging. I didn't know who to watch for, who to trust and above all, who to root for other than Maggie. It's a must read and an envelop your soul kind of book.
    YABookFan More than 1 year ago
    EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK!! Go on and add this to your to-read list. Go... do it!! You won't be disappointed. I can't stop thinking about this book. This is a whole new side to K.A. Tucker's writing style and she knocks it out of the park. From chapter one I was suspicious of everyone Maggie spoke to: Celine's friends, neighbours and coworkers. EVERYONE IS A SUSPECT!! Just when you think you've figured out what is happening you're wrong!! I can guarantee this will be your favourite suspense-mystery book of 2016.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    4.5 stars. I really had no clue at first. I thought it was someone for awhile then another. KA Tucker keeps you on the edge of your seat. I loved not knowing and the suspense in it. It's nice to get away from the normal love stories. I highly recommend it! I love all of her books and loved this one too!!
    SantanaBlair_TheBookNerd More than 1 year ago
    Holy mother of twisty good story!!! I was physically unable to put this book down. This man was once my salvation. Now he will be my ruin. Gosh this story. I was immediately sucked into the story from prologue until epilogue. I was physically unable to put it down because I needed answers, I needed to know. This was a fantastic departure from the style of books that I've come know K.A. Tucker as a one click author for. It was a classic SUSPENSE read with a fresh feel and dark whispering undertone. Did I mention I couldn't stop reading? Maggie is in New York to pack up her best friend's apartment after Celine's suicide. The more she thinks about it the more she's sure that Celine would never have killed herself and that sets her on a determined quest to find out what exactly happened to her friend. Like a fantastically twisty good puzzle, reading this story had me highlighting and taking notes like a fiend. It's full of suspects and questions, letting us as the reader step into Maggie's shoes and put together a case that will get Celine some justice. It's easily one of my new favorites! 5 Twisty Addictive Stars to this one.
    LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
    3.5/5 stars Having read many of K.A.'s books, I was excited to dive into this one, as it was something different than her contemporary romances! I knew she could do mystery and suspense, because we have seen those elements already in her previous novels. I was definitely intrigued and I love books where I suspect everyone. And I mean, I suspected EVERYONE. I kept creating different scenarios in my head about who could have done it and why, which is always fun. And I was quite excited to see that my gut was right. But Tucker kept me on my toes because just when I thought someone was cleared, she made me doubt myself again! I liked Maggie's character overall. Does she make some bad choices? Of course she does. Did I worry about her safety? Several times. I can't imagine how difficult it was to lose her best friend. Not only that, but she doesn't agree that her death was a suicide. Maggie wants to get to the bottom of everything and she gets thrown into a world where she finds out that she didn't know her best friend quite as well as she thought she did. Reading some of Celine's journals definitely made me hurt for Maggie, because Celine does not censor her feelings about Maggie's wealth and how she even resents her for it at times. I definitely felt that the two had grown apart over the years and that even though she considered Celine her best friend, it made me sad how much Maggie didn't know about Celine and her life. There's not much more I can say because I definitely don't want to ruin anything, but I loved how the book started. I am always a fan of getting the present day situation first and then going back to how we reached that point. There was a small amount of romance in this one, but I don't know that you could really call it that because I didn't really see feelings develop. The two were friendly enough and they liked one another, but I saw it more as a casual thing than a long term one. Overall, I enjoyed this one. I don't read much mystery and suspense, but I do like when my brain is challenged and trying to figure out how the puzzle pieces all fit!