"Kemmerer will melt your heart and blow your mind." #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout
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 Frederick there had only 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 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.
The more they dig, the more it seems the only way they'll hear the real story is from the sourcethe killer.
Not the kind of future plan a college recruiter likes to hear. But then, the better it works, the less likely either of them is going to have a future. . .
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Brigid Kemmerer finds time to write between her family and her day job, but sometimes she ends up mothering her coworkers and managing her family. You can follow her blog at www.brigidkemmerer.com.
Read an Excerpt
Thicker Than Water
By BRIGID KEMMERER
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Brigid Kemmerer
All rights reserved.
I hate this suit.
Mom bought it two weeks ago, and I hated it then. But she started with the whole please and for me and just this once and I gave in. Because she knows my buttons.
Knew. She knew my buttons.
I hate the past tense.
I'm definitely not a suit guy. She knows that.
She knew that, like she knew how I liked my oatmeal and the reason my hair got too long and how I still don't like to sleep with my door closed even though eighteen is way too old to be afraid of the dark. If she'd walked into a store to buy me clothes on a random day, she'd walk out with the right things: T-shirts and hoodies and jeans and dark socks. She knew the right kind of charcoal pencils and the right brand of sketchpad and the right time to leave me alone.
The last time she bought me a suit was for Homecoming sophomore year. I wasn't a suit guy then either, but I'd worked up the nerve to ask Anne Marie Lassiter and she'd said yes, so a suit it was.
I outgrew the girl before I outgrew the suit.
Just this once.
Of all the things Mom said to me, that's the one that keeps echoing. Because it wasn't once.
I'm on my third try with this stupid tie, and I'm getting to the point where I just want to hang myself with it. It's yellow and navy, the colors of the ribbons on her wedding bouquet.
The colors of the bars on Stan's police uniform.
Ironically, they're the colors of the bruises on your neck when you die of strangulation.
Trust me. I got a firsthand view.
Just this once.
My hands are shaking now, and I yank the tie free and fling it on my dresser.
Stan knocks on the door and sticks his head in without waiting.
He does that. I hate that.
I don't hate him, though. Not yet, anyway. I barely know the guy.
Stan probably figured he was hitting the jackpot, marrying a single mom with an eighteen-year-old kid. Get the stepdad brownie points without the work. At first I was worried that he'd be a pain in the ass, being a cop and all. That whole gotta-be-the-bigger-man crap. But I stayed out of his way, he stayed out of mine. He treated her well and made her happy. Good enough for me.
He's still standing there, looking at me in the mirror.
"What?" I say.
"You about ready?"
I think about telling him I can't get the tie knotted, but then he'd offer to help me and this would be all kinds of awkward.
This is already all kinds of awkward.
"Yeah," I say.
He disappears from the doorway.
I ball up the tie and put it in my pocket.
Stan doesn't say anything during the drive to the church. I don't either. When he makes a turn, the click of the signal makes my head pound.
It's weird sitting in the front seat with him. I should be in the back. Mom should be up front, providing a buffer of conversation, asking me about school and graduation while simultaneously asking Stan about cases he's working on.
Stan is a detective.
I wonder if it's a blow to his ego, a cop's wife murdered in his own bed ten days after their wedding. Poor ol' Stan, the subject of police gossip.
God, I'm such a dick sometimes. Maybe I do hate him. Words are trapped in my mouth, and I'm afraid to say any of them, because they'll explode out of me with enough force to wreck the car.
Why haven't you done something?
Why couldn't you protect her?
HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?!
Stan was at work when she died. I was in my own bed.
I don't know which is worse.
I didn't hear anything. I found her when I woke to use the bathroom.
Maybe I hate myself. Maybe I hate everyone.
"You all right?"
I glance at Stan. His eyes are on the road ahead, and his voice is quiet. I don't know why he's even asking. Of course I'm not all right. "Fine," I say.
He doesn't ask anything else.
Mom would pry. She'd dig the secrets out of me with the dexterity of an archaeologist, leaving my feelings intact while letting the truth rise to the surface. Like I said, she knew my buttons.
Then again, Stan is a detective, so he can probably do the same thing. Maybe he doesn't want to pry.
The dead heat of summer gives me a big wet kiss when I climb out of the car, reminding me why I don't wear suits. Reminding me that I probably should have gotten a haircut when she asked me. My neck already feels damp, and I'm glad I didn't mess with the tie.
I've never been to this church, a long, squat brick building with a steeple at one end and an aluminum roof. Stained glass windows glitter with the Stations of the Cross. Nice. Colorful depictions of suffering and torture. Great place.
I don't know why we're having the funeral in a church anyway. Mom dragged me to church all the time when I was a kid, but we haven't gone in years. Maybe she and Stan went. I don't know.
Cops are everywhere. Clustered in groups clinging to the shade along the side of the building, off by the parking lot grabbing a quick smoke, slapping Stan on the shoulder.
They ignore me. Good. Sort of.
The atmosphere is wrong here. There's no sense of loss, no anguish and grief. I feel like I'm trapped in a glass box with my own twisting emotions, watching everyone else at a social event.
I don't know anyone except Stan. I'm sure I met a few of these people at the wedding, but it was a small ceremony at the courthouse, and no one stands out. Mom's two friends from back home called to tell me they couldn't get time off again, couldn't make the drive out for the second time in two weeks. I said fine, whatever. The only thing worse than being here alone would be mom's friends treating me like a six- year-old who can't get a straw into a juice box.
Everyone is standing in groups. Only one other guy is across the parking lot, standing under a tree. He's not in uniform, but that doesn't mean he's not a cop. He's built like one. He looks like he's texting. Must really be feeling the loss.
He feels me watching him, because his eyes lift from his phone.
I look away before he can catch my gaze, then pull into the shade myself. It doesn't help. Part of me wants to put a fist through this brick wall. Another part wants to run from here, to pretend none of this is happening.
Suspicious glances keep flicking my way, as if I'm the oddball here, instead of all the people who don't even know the woman they're supposed to be mourning.
Maybe it's just me. Cops make me nervous. Always have. Maybe it's a teenager thing, the way they always look at you like you're on the cusp of doing something wrong. Maybe it's the year Mom and I spent avoiding the law because Daddy was a very bad man, and we couldn't risk any kind of trouble.
Maybe it's the interrogation I had to sit through after finding Mom's body.
I don't know what I'm doing here. When we moved in with Stan, I left my friends three hours away. Now we're way on the south side of Salisbury, in the middle of nowhere, at this frigging church with death scenes embedded in the walls and a bazillion cops who are all here for him, not her.
I yank at the collar of my shirt and feel someone watching me.
At first I think of the guy with the cell phone, but when I glance across the parking lot, he's gone. It's a girl in a purple dress. She stands with an older woman, and by older I mean that there's a chance her wrinkled skin might give up the fight and slide the rest of the way down her body. Ol' Wrinkly is wearing an honest-to-god navy blue hat with a veil. She looks emotional while she talks to Stan, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue.
What a joke. If she knew my mother, she didn't know her well. I've never seen her before.
I've never seen the girl before either, but since she's looking at me, I look back at her. She's got to be about my age. Thick, curly caramel hair, skin too pale for summertime, dark framed glasses, curves in all the right places. She'd be a challenge to sketch, because the tiny waist and the curves would make her look like a superhero comic, especially with that rack.
I jerk my eyes away. I shouldn't be checking out a girl at my mother's funeral. Mom would cuff me on the neck and tell me to behave myself.
But the girl peels away from the overwrought woman and heads my way. She's wearing high-heeled sandals, and she stumbles a bit on the crooked pavement. The movement makes her hair sway, and she brushes it out of her eyes.
Then she's in front of me, holding out a hand. "I don't think we've met."
I shake her hand, and it feels too formal, like I'm meeting a college recruiter. But I can play this game because it's better than thinking about my mother rotting inside a wooden box. "We haven't."
She doesn't let go of my hand. "Tom?"
She could call me Princess Sparklepants if she wants. I couldn't care less about my name at this point. "Whatever."
She finally releases my hand. Her expression says she's picked up on some of my tension. "Thomas, then. How do you know Stan? Is one of your parents on the force?"
Of course she thinks I'm here for him. No one in this place knows Mom.
I have to clear my throat, because my answer will embarrass this girl, but it's not like I can lie about it. "He married my mother."
Her face goes more pale, if that's possible. I don't like that. It reminds me of another pale face, which makes me start thinking about bruised necks again.
"It's fine," I say, even though it's not. I try to keep the anger out of my voice, because she doesn't deserve it. I don't even know what good it's doing me. My voice comes out all gravelly. "I've only lived here a few weeks. I don't know anyone."
"I'm so sorry," she says softly.
What am I supposed to say to that? I don't even know this girl.
I find myself shrugging before realizing that makes me look indifferent. People are watching me again. The attention weighs on my shoulders. Do they know who I am, or are they wondering like Charlotte? Which would be better?
I've been quiet too long. My jaw feels tight. She reaches for my hand again. Her fingers are small and gentle and soft against my palm, such a contrast to the businesslike formality of her handshake. "You don't need to stand here by yourself. Come meet my family —"
"I'm fine." I hold fast, jerking my hand away from her. I can keep it together here, alone, by the wall, but I can't take a dozen strangers talking at me.
"Okay," she says softly.
I take a long breath, then blow it out through my teeth. "Sorry," I grit out.
We stand there in silence for a moment.
"Do you want me to get Stan?" she finally asks quietly. "You don't seem ..."
Her voice trails off, and I frown. "I don't seem what?"
Again, my tone is rougher than she deserves, and she licks her lips, recalculating. Her spine straightens, but she doesn't move away. "You don't seem like you should be alone right now."
Stan is thirty feet away, talking to two other guys in uniform. They're doing the guy version of sympathy, clapping him on the shoulder.
I knew her longer, I want to shout.
Mom would shush me and tell me to be more respectful.
I don't miss her yet. It doesn't even feel like she's dead. It feels like she's on vacation or something. I keep thinking I need to store all these thoughts and memories for later, when she gets back.
I look back at Charlotte. "No. Leave him."
"Is anyone else here for you?"
I laugh humorlessly. "None of this is for me. I feel like I'm crashing a stranger's funeral." I sound like an angry freak, and I rub my hands down my face. "I don't know anyone."
Now I just sound pathetic.
"Is that your tie?" she says suddenly, and I realize she's looking at my pocket. "Too hot?"
"I couldn't tie it," I admit without thinking, and then I feel like a real moron. What kind of guy can't tie a tie? And then brings it with him, like he's waiting for someone to get around to helping? I glance away, embarrassed. "She bought me the suit. Made a big deal about matching it —"
I have to stop talking. Pathetic has reached a new level. I want the anger back. Anger was better than this tight, choking feeling in my throat.
Charlotte tugs it out of my pocket and threads it between her fingers. "May I?"
It takes me a moment to figure out what she's talking about. She's too short to get the tie around my neck without my cooperation. I could refuse. I could grab the tie and shove it back in my pocket and send her scurrying back to her people.
But it's a needed distraction, and I find myself ducking down, letting her loop it over my head, enjoying the soft feel of her fingers as she tucks it below the collar of my shirt. She's close, and I catch her scent, something clean and citrusy.
"People are staring," I murmur.
"Let them stare."
"Is this a service you provide?" I say, intending to tease, but my voice is too broken for that.
But she's kind, so she takes the bait and runs with it. Her eyes are on the knot as she threads the fabric. "Absolutely. Tying ties, buttoning jackets ... you should see me pin on a flower."
I almost smile, but then her hands make the final loop. Satin slides against cotton, and then the knot hits my neck. Quick and sudden and tight. I can't breathe.
I jerk the fabric out of her hand without thinking.
My movement is too sudden. She stumbles back, catching herself against the wall.
I gasp, pulling at the knot of fabric. It's barely tight, but I can't stop myself.
"I'm sorry," she whispers. "I'm sorry."
"No, it's fine," I choke out. This is insane. I need to get it together. The knot finally gives an inch. Air can't seem to make it into my lungs. "It's not even tight."
I suck in a breath and sound like an asthmatic. I run a hand down my face. This is not getting it together.
"You all right, Char?"
It's another cop in dress uniform, talking to Charlotte but looking at me like I'm a purse snatcher or something.
No, looking at me like I'm a murderer.
This guy's young, not much older than I am. His hair is military short, almost blond, and his eyes are just looking for trouble. I swear to god he's holding his hand near his gun, and I'm tempted to fake him out, just to see if he'd pull it.
Knowing my luck, he'd shoot me.
Right this instant, I'd welcome it.
"I'm fine, Danny," Charlotte says. "This is Thomas. Stan's new —"
"I know who he is." Of course he does. Everyone in uniform probably does. I'm sure some of them still think I did it. But Danny takes the edge off by putting a hand out. "I'm sorry about your mother."
I shake his hand. "Thanks."
His grip is solid, almost too tight. He doesn't let go, and I can tell he'd hold fast if I tried to pull free. "You want to tell me why you put your hands on my little sister?"
Oh. Now I get it.
Charlotte is looking worriedly between the two of us. "It's fine, Danny — he didn't touch me."
"I saw him shove you." His grip tightens. "You'd better watch yourself."
His tone grates against my nerves and reminds me why I don't like cops.
"He didn't shove me," Charlotte says.
"Watch myself?" I say to him. "It's my mother's funeral."
He gives a little laugh, and he lets go of my hand, somehow making it feel like a shove. "Yeah, you look really broken up about it, taking the time to rough up a girl."
My hands are in fists again, anger weaving its way through the less aggressive emotions. This narrow stretch of shade has turned too hot, almost stifling. I can smell my own sweat.
I hate this suit.
Danny's watching me, his eyes almost predatory. I've gotten in my share of scrapes, and I can read the signs. Dangerous potential rides the air. He wants to hit me.
My mother's voice is like a whisper in my head. Behave yourself, Tommy.
I force my hands to loosen. Danny's right, in a way. I did shove her. I shouldn't have put my hands on her. Someone spends five minutes being kind, and I act like a caged animal.
It takes a lot of effort to back down. "Sorry," I say, turning away from them. "I didn't mean to cause a problem."
"Yeah, well, I don't want to find my sister dead in her bed. Get me?"
Something snaps inside of me. Anger splits into fury. My fist swings.
I'm strong, and years of being the new kid taught me how to throw a punch. It's stupid, and reckless, and my mother's voice is screaming in the back of my skull.
Tommy! He is a police officer!
It sucks that he's a cop, too, because he knows how to deflect a punch. He catches my arm and slams me into the wall of the church. My hand is pinned behind my back and I inhale brick dust. The tie drags on the bricks, too, pulling tight against my neck.
I am such an idiot.
He's enjoying this. We're the center of attention now. He's probably hoping I'll fight him so he can continue playing the badass.
I don't want to fight him. This is her funeral. Her funeral. My throat is tight and my eyes are hot. Reason catches up with action and I'm swimming in a special blend of humiliation and shame.
I will not start crying right now. I will not.
Charlotte is smacking her brother, it sounds like. "Danny! Danny, stop it! What is wrong with you?"
Hot breath finds my neck, followed by a little shove. The bricks scrape at my skin. I expect him to hold me here, to suffer the judgmental stares of the crowd that I can hear gathering. Or maybe he'll tell Stan to keep me in line, or something equally demeaning.
Instead, he speaks low, just to me. "Did you get off on it? Think about it in the shower this morning? All hot and bothered for killing your mother?"
Excerpted from Thicker Than Water by BRIGID KEMMERER. Copyright © 2016 Brigid Kemmerer. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents"It's fine, Danny — he didn't touch me.",
Have you read all the Elemental books,
CHAPTER ONE - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TWO - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER THREE - THOMAS,
CHAPTER FOUR - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER FIVE - THOMAS,
CHAPTER SIX - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER SEVEN - THOMAS,
CHAPTER EIGHT - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER NINE - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TEN - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER ELEVEN - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TWELVE - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER THIRTEEN - THOMAS,
CHAPTER FOURTEEN - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER FIFTEEN - THOMAS,
CHAPTER SIXTEEN - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN - THOMAS,
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER NINETEEN - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER TWENTY - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT - THOMAS,
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER THIRTY - THOMAS,
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE - CHARLOTTE,
CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO - THOMAS,
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE - CHARLOTTE,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is so good! I didnt want to put it down! Im hoping for a sequel!!!
I love Kemmerer's Elemental series, so I was so excited when I saw this. And it did not disappoint. I will say, I did not realize this was a paranormal story when I started (although I should have realized because it is Brigid Kemmerer), so if that's not your thing, you have been warned. Thomas is the new kid in a small town that has already decided not to like him. He's the primary suspect of his mother's murder, and he's all alone. Until he meets Charlotte, who unfortunately happens to be the sister to the cops who dislike him the most. So, with her help, Thomas sets out to find the real killer. Although this was not a light book by any means, it was a pretty fast read. It kept me glued to the pages, wondering what would happen. At the same time, the characters were pretty well fleshed out. Thomas is full of angst and dark thoughts and despair. Charlotte lives in a stifling family, where women are expected to be docile and pretty and do the dishes and pop out babies. But it doesn't stop her. Sure, she does make some questionable decisions just because Thomas is "hot", but I admired her sass. The writing was amazing, as always. Kemmerer perfectly captured the small-town atmosphere, as well as other little details that make her books so realistic (except for the paranormal part). I feel that the paranormal part was a bit sudden, with not enough build-up, but other than that, I loved this book. Also, the ending did take me slightly by surprise, which usually doesn't happen, which just shows how engrossed I was. But in all seriousness, read this book. I was in a serious slump for a while before I started this, and managed to devour it in only a few hours. I absolutely recommend it.
Initial reaction: Hmm… well, that was TOTALLY different than I expected. I really enjoyed this book, yet there were a few parts that kind of threw me for a loop. Let’s discuss, shall we? Thicker than Water is told through the perspective of two teens. First, we have Thomas, who has recently lost his mother to strangulation. Because he had the awful privilege of finding her, he is the town’s prime suspect. Secondly, we have Charlotte, who is surrounded by police officer. Her father and three brothers are all cops, all over protective, and all very powerful in the town. Thomas and Charlotte meet at Thomas’ mother’s funeral. For some reason, Charlotte is drawn to Thomas, and he’s thankful to have someone on his side. Charlotte is the only one in the town who believes Thomas is innocent and truly wants to befriend him. Together they attempt to figure why his mother was murdered, and by whom. “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.” So I have to put this out there, and it’s a little difficult to discuss in depth because of spoilers… but this book really messed with my head a bit. It basically switched genres mid-story. The first part of the story read as a contemporary. I was thoroughly enjoyed it… then BAM! A paranormal twist. I won’t go into details, as I said, because of spoilers… but the major switch caught me off guard and caused my excitement level over this story to drop quite a bit. There was a lot I thoroughly enjoyed in this story. I really liked Thomas. He was broken, shattered, lost… but very realistic. I really felt for him. He found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time more than once… at times a little too coincidental… but I thoroughly enjoyed his chapters. Charlotte, surrounded some many over-protective police officers, had a bit of a rebellious side, and I liked seeing that. I was surrounded by brothers growing up as well, and I can definitely understand how sometimes you’re made to feel like you can’t do anything without help or supervision. Charlotte’s spunk had me routing for her, even when it came to her making not-so-smart decisions. Overall, I really liked this story. It kept my attention and was intense, suspenseful, and definitely interesting. My only issues with it were, as I mentioned earlier, the genre switch, as well as the ending. It left quite a few questions unanswered. I checked several times to see if this was going to be a series, as it ended on a note that could definitely lead to more… but nope. It’s a standalone. Because of that, I felt the ending needed a bit more to really satisfy me. Overall, a solid story that I liked quite a bit. This is my first Brigid Kemmerer book, but I’ll definitely be checking out more of her work in the future. (Thanks to Kensington Books for the review copy!)
I really enjoyed Thicker Than Water. Both main characters are struggling with things on their own, and together, being pulled together multiple times, despite the fact that being together was NEVER a good idea. The end has a twist thrown in... not exactly sure how I felt about it, but it was still a great read (a companion novel or sequel to this would be AWESOME). I love Brigid's writing. Definitely recommend!
Thicker Than Water is a mystery thriller that has an unexpected twist at the end. Thomas Bellweather is new in town, he moved after her mother married a cop officer, but not so long after she is murdered under very intriguing circumstances and Thomas is the prime suspect. Charlotte Rooker, is a girl that meets Thomas at her mother’s funeral, problem is, she is the little sister to three town cops, which in their eyes she can’t be near Thomas, but Charlotte is adamant that Thomas isn’t what the whole town says about him, she believes in him and want to get to know him. They both go on a journey trying to find evidence to what happened to Thoma’s mother, but what they find puts them in more danger than they thought and found things Thoma’s doesn’t want anyone to know about. The story is quite intriguing; the plot twist at the end was unexpected and changed the story completely. Brigid Kemmerer is a good writer; she plots the story in ways you just need to keep reading. I found both characters very different from her other series, the romance was good with what the story had to give. I certainly was expecting something paranormal, I just think it took a bit to get there. I will be looking forward for the next book she writes, hope there is something else to this story as I think it ended a bit faster than expected and a sequel could be written next.
2.5 good (enough) Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free. I wanted to read this one because I enjoyed her Elemental series. But Thicker than water read more like a contemporary mystery than any kind of paranormal up to the very end. It focused on a boy who had just lost his mother and he is the main suspect in the crime-- killing her. And he is treated such in his town. Charlotte has many brothers, all in the police profession, which makes their friendship hard. It is told in dual narrative from Thomas and Charlotte. Charlotte is the one who gives him the benefit of the doubt, she is drawn to him and she goes against her family's wishes by being friends with him and keep on hanging out with him. They have chemistry and a bond between them and the eventual paranormal aspect of the book explains more of the problems that I have with Charlotte so I guess I won't really talk about that because it would be a spoiler. I didn't enjoy this as much as her other works and I think that's because it took so long to show itself as a paranormal and I wish those aspects with him present sooner or had just been absent in the book. I skimmed quite a bit--and probably won't continue this series, but would read something else if Kemmerer wrote it. Bottom Line: Not the best for me, skimmed a lot. Paranormal aspect takes a long time to present itself.
What a beginning. I mean, I knew it would be good, but I wasn't expecting to be so instantly hooked to this addictive and thrilling story. With a mix of heady romance, suspense and mystery, plus just a touch of the paranormal, Thicker Than Water is a mature young adult novel that will have you second guessing every moment and swooning right along with the characters. Brigid Kemmerer is very good at writing characters who are seen as outcasts or who are persecuted because of who they are (or what they have or haven't done). I fell in love with Thomas straight off and was really, really hoping that he was innocent. It makes me so angry to see someone targeted like he is. I also felt for Charlotte. Her attraction to Thomas is instant, but she doubts both his innocence and her reaction to him. Charlotte has three older brothers who take being protective and overbearing very seriously, and Charlotte's grandmother and mother are so old school they could be from the 1800s. Charlotte's family are complex and both kind of annoying and loveable at the same time - actually they drove me nuts 90% of the time. Despite this, Charlotte is a strong character. She isn't afraid to disobey her family's constant orders, even if it is to hang out with a suspected murderer. Thomas and Charlotte don't spend a lot of time actively looking for other suspects or clues to solve who murdered Thomas's mother and clear his name. Instead, the mystery sort of unravels around them as they struggle to understand what is happening. They fight the attraction between them, but it's pretty potent stuff! The resolution to the mystery of who killed Thomas's mother was interesting, and totally unexpected. It had me going back to see what I might have missed. I felt like the solution came out of nowhere, and I would have liked a little more time at the end to process this and see how it would affect the characters. Perhaps this means, though, that there will be a follow-up book. Here's hoping. This book could be both the first in a series or a standalone novel. The end does resolve the main mystery and I would be happy enough with that as the end of Charlotte and Thomas' story, but there is also so much more that could happen. There are a few story threads left...loose, you could say. And the characters and setting are so rich that there are a million ways this story could continue. This was an incredibly quick book to read, totally addictive and a whole lot agonising. I can't wait to read what Brigid Kemmerer writes next, because it's sure to be fantastic. The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer Publisher: Kensington Books Publication Date: December 29, 2015 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): 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: Oh my GOSH this book hit me like a ton of bricks. OUT OF NOWHERE came this huge curveball that I was not expecting! Holy guacamole! Everyone really kept quiet about The Big Thing (or maybe I avoided reviews really well). WOW. I loved Brigid Kemmerer's Elemental series, and I really, really enjoyed this new book! Thomas's mother recently got married to his new stepdad, Stan... and was murdered ten days later. New to the sleepy, quiet town, Thomas is the one that everyone thinks did it... everywhere he goes, accusing glares follow him, and all of the police are looking for any reason to lock him up. Charlotte, sister to three of those cops, is sure that Thomas is innocent, and against her family's wishes, befriends him. She wants to know what's going on - just like Thomas does. But the truth is something far more sinister than anyone could have imagined. Honestly I still can't get over the insane story that Kemmerer has put together. I say "insane" and what I mean is TOTALLY UNPREDICTABLE. I am usually one of those astute readers that can see an ending or a cliffhanger or twist from afar off... not with this book. I had no idea who did it. As new characters were introduced, I kept thinking, that's the one. They did it. It must be him. But no! Kemmerer threw this one aspect in the book that I never could have seen coming! It changed the whole story. At first I didn't like The Big Thing - it felt a bit unnatural in terms of the plot/story and like a cop-out, but then I thought to myself, WOAH, I probably just missed all of the signs. Thomas is so broken after his mother's death. He is devastated, and angry. Rightfully so - he's in an unfamiliar town, living with a man he barely knows, surrounding by people who think he's a murderer. The boy never catches a break - from the first scene, the funeral, Thomas has had police or bad memories after him, plaguing him. You really have to feel for the guy. I wasn't a huge fan of Charlotte at first. I can identify with her in some ways - my family is very conservative, like hers, as well as overprotective of their little girl. At the same time, Charlotte isn't as defiant and bold as I thought she'd be, given the synopsis. She's kind of spineless. but that's just my opinion. I see some character growth from start to finish, and I did end up liking her. There are so many secrets and clues and memories and information waiting to be discovered! Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
I just loved this. It sucked me in right away. At night I had to force myself to stop just to go to bed (and that was hard to do!) I just love how the author tells stories; they're just really easy to follow and captivating. Normally I can guess what's going to happen next or who is responsible, but not in this book. It just kept surprising me at every turn. I thought it was interesting how things played out. Loved the twist and unexpectedness. I really liked the characters Thomas and Charlotte. I thought they were excellent. I loved their interactions with each other. There were times it had me laughing out loud. They were like magnets that kept coming towards each other even though everyone tried to keep them apart. I do wished Charlotte would have put her foot down more on her overbearing family sometimes but I could totally understand why they were like that. The only thing I would have against the book is that I'm not sure if there will be more books because it left off with that feeling there should be. If there is more books, I all for it! If not, then I don't like that everything wasn't neatly tied up. *I received through NetGalley
I read it in a day. Couldn't put it down. I wish I could read it for the first time again.
OMG HOLY FREAKING PLOT TWIST. Normally I can predict a plot twist waaaay before it happens, but this time I was take by complete surprise. I honestly was completely wrong about what I thought would happen.. I’M STILL SHOCKED OMG. This story is absolutely heart wrenching and I spent most of the book all tied up in knots over what would happen. Thomas was so great. I instantly loved him and his personality, which is more than I can say for Charlotte. She was a bit harder for me to bond with. Her family being so conservative was more than a little frustrating. I was thankful that she was there for Thomas while he was mourning and after the “library scene” (*heart eyes*) I was a little more in love with her. If she had been a little more willing to defy her family, I would have respected her much sooner. That being said, My favorite part of this book was the characters. Especially Thomas’ stepdad. SOMEONE GIVE THIS MAN A HUG. Overall this story captured my attention and held on until the very end. This book is going right on top of my favorites list. ALSO IM NOT ABOVE BEGGING FOR A SEQUEL. The ending was satisfying but there were things that weren’t wrapped up as nicely as I wanted them to be AND I JUST REALLY NEED MORE. PLEASE BRIGID?!?!?!? Take pity on my and give me another book! *also just wanna say that this story is SO UNPREDICTABLE SO IF YOU THINK YOURE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO CAN GUESS THE PLOT TWIST, I DARE YOU TO TRY.
This was a gripping, intense, suspenseful read with an original concept and superb writing that hooked me instantly. Both Charlotte and Thomas were likable main characters and I enjoyed both their voices and perspectives. Character and plot development were steady and consistently built and I enjoyed the slow-burning romance. I really felt for Thomas - he was in a crappy situation that kept getting crappier. It's obvious from the start that there is something that doesn't quite add up about him, but I still wasn't expecting the paranormal shift which happened about 60% in. It took me by surprise and I felt the book halted for a chapter or two until I got my head around what was happening. Then the pace picked up perfectly and I enjoyed this new angle. Charlotte was a strong female lead and I loved how she wasn't afraid to stand up to her family, and to defend Tom, even though she had some niggling doubts. The romance was perfect and I felt the chemistry between them. This is my first Brigid Kemmerer book, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved it, and I adored her writing style. Very slick and professional and the words flowed smoothly on the page. I'm not sure if there is going to be a sequel. I think there's enough meat there for one but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I would recommend this book if you enjoy contemporary YA romance with a paranormal twist. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
3.25 stars--THICKER THAN WATER by Brigid Kemmerer is a young adult, paranormal, suspense-filled story line that focuses on eighteen year old Thomas Bellweather-the prime suspect in the strangulation death of his mother- ten days following her marriage to a local cop. When Thomas is befriended by Charlotte Rooker, a seventeen year old girl whose three brothers and father are all police officers, things go from bad to worse when a number of incidents and accidents befall Charlotte all pointing to Thomas as the guilty party. What ensues is a police investigation by Charlotte’s brothers that finger young Thomas regardless of his declaration of innocence or clues proving otherwise. Brigid Kemmerer writes a story that is both emotional and frustrating as it pertains to Thomas’s innocence or guilt. As the number one suspect he is always on the cop’s radar, as well as the focus of public accusation and the mistaken belief that our hero is guilty of any number of crimes. As the story line builds the finger of guilt continues to point at Thomas Bellweather but we are well aware that our hero is always in the right place at the wrong time. THICKER THAN WATER is told from alternating first person points of view (Thomas and Charlotte) that allows the reader into the mindset of a young man whose life imploded upon the murder of his mother. Living in a strange town, with a man he barely knows, Thomas becomes the target and a victim when the past returns for a final showdown. To address the paranormal aspect of the storyline, I think I would have enjoyed the story line more if this particular trope had not been included. THICKER THAN WATER made for a great murder-mystery, a story of accusation, suspense and betrayal but the ‘supernatural’ element is a big of a red herring that added an unbelievable aspect to the story.
My initial reaction upon finishing: HOLY CRAP THAT WAS GOOD! I LOVE this cover. Action, suspense, romance, and mystery---THICKER THAN WATER has it all. I'm usually pretty quick on the uptake when it comes to thrillers, but this one kept me guessing almost to the very end. I didn't want to put it down, I HAD to know what happened! I did not see the twist coming at all, but it elevated the story to whole new level of mind-effery. Thomas and Charlotte are equally strong characters and as usual, Brigid Kemmerer nailed the male POV. Charlotte's family is overbearing at times, but with good reason. Having been raised by a cop myself, I particularly enjoyed the law enforcement aspect of the story. I would love to see a sequel! Read it.