Your Life Is Mine

Your Life Is Mine

by Nathan Ripley


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Instant national bestseller Nathan Ripley follows up the success of Find You in the Dark with another suspenseful page-turnerthis time about a woman whose notorious father died when she was a child, but whose legacy comes back to haunt her.

Blanche Potter never expected to face her past again—but she can’t escape it.

Blanche, an up-and-coming filmmaker, has distanced herself in every way she can from her father, the notorious killer and cult leader, Chuck Varner. In 1996, when she was a small child, he went on a shooting spree before turning the gun on himself.

Now, Blanche learns that her mother has been murdered. She returns to her childhood home, where she soon discovers there’s more to the death than police are willing to reveal. The officer who’s handling the case is holding information back, and a journalist who’s nosing around the investigation is taking an unusual interest in Blanche’s family.

Blanche begins to suspect that Chuck Varner’s cult has found a new life, and that her mother’s murder was just the beginning of the cult’s next chapter.

Then another killing occurs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501178238
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 784,518
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Nathan Ripley is the pseudonym of Toronto resident and Journey Prize winner Naben Ruthnum. Find You in the Dark, Ripley’s first thriller, was an instant bestseller and an Arthur Ellis Awards finalist for Best First Novel. As Naben Ruthnum, he is the author of Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race. Follow him on Twitter @NabenRuthnum.

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Your Life is Mine: A Novel 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
ABookAWeekES 13 days ago
"That's when life can feel most chaotic, when things that you aren't controlling keep falling into place..." Last summer I was simultaneously shocked and thrilled by Nathan Ripely's debut thriller Find You In The Dark. It was the kind of book that dared to explore the darker sides of society, a part of the world that you always knew exist but couldn't bring yourself to look into. I remember breathlessly turning the pages, appalled by what was taking place, but too enthralled to stop. I was so taken by Ripley's writing that I eagerly awaited his next offering. When his publisher offered me a copy of his latest novel Your Life Is Mine, I jumped at the chance to review it. Parents are supposed to be a model that we strive to emulate. When we're young, we look up to them, copy their actions and mannerisms, confide in them, and love them. Young Blanche Varner is no exception to this rule. She loves and obey's mother, but she absolutely adores her father. The family of three live a simple life in their rent-by-the-month trailer park, but Blanche knows of nothing different. Her father Chuck has taken her by his side and molded her into the person he wants her to be. Blanche dutifully does her part by attentively listening to his lectures and completing all the tasks and activities that they do together. One afternoon, Chuck takes her to the local mall and patiently sits her at a table in the food court. He tells her to watch him carefully and to stay quiet. Then he pulls the gun outs and starts to shoot. Years later the shadow of Chuck's horrendous acts still haunts Blanche. She's changed her last name and moved away from the town where the nightmares happened, but it is hard to completely purge herself of a childhood of horror. The worst part is that after the mass shooting that took the lives of many innocent victims, Blanche quietly walked back to her home as if nothing had happened. So entangled in the cult-like web of Chuck's "Your Life Is Mine" teachings was she, that Blanche continued to adhere to his strict guidelines for years to come. In an ironic twist of fate, she now is carving out a career as a true-crime documentarian. For obvious reasons, Blanche keeps her past tucked neatly away from the public, but the death of her mother threatens to reveal all of her secrets. Chuck's teachings live on and Blanche is about to see that her life is still very much intertwined with them. In Your Life Is Mine, Nathan Ripley once again dares to shine a light in the darkest recesses of his imagination. With this second novel, he proves that he is unafraid to tackle the taboo. Frankly, it is this willingness to cross lines that others fear that makes his writing so endearing. The best part of all of this is that Ripley shocks and frightens without ever needing to be graphic or obscene. The mere suggestion of events is enough to chill you to the bone. All of this darkness melds with the very real emotional drama and turmoil that helps ground the story in undeniable humanity. Blanche walks a thin line between innocent bystander and willing accomplice. She is always morally questionable, but I couldn't help but empathize with her. On the surface, Your Life Is Mine looks like any other summer thriller, but I found it to be deeper than the summary would have you believe. If you're willing to lose yourself in Ripley's writing, you just might discover the kind of book that lingers long after the last page.
cloggiedownunder 13 days ago
3.5★s Your Life is Mine is the second novel by Canadian author, Nathan Ripley. Renowned documentary maker Blanche Potter has spent the last twelve years avoiding all mention of her father. In 1996, Chuck Varner killed nine people in a shooting spree in the Harlow Mall in Stilford, California, before turning the gun on himself. Known to few is that he took along Blanche, then seven years old, to witness this. Now, over twenty years later, Blanche learns that her estranged mother, Crissy, another disciple of Chuck Varner’s cult, has been shot dead, supposedly in a home invasion. Blanche has had a recent visit from Crissy, who was insisting Blanche needed to return for “the next one”, so she is sceptical of the stated circumstances of Crissy’s death: she knows what this news really means. Blanche goes back to the trailer park in Stilford, the scene of her years of indoctrination before she rejected her parents’ teachings, to see if she can prevent a lot more people dying. Not much real detail is given about Chuck Varner’s murderous cult, and what Blanche endured with her parents is similarly vague. But Blanche does carry a deep guilt, the revelation of which is a jaw-dropping moment. Some aspects of the story don’t sit quite right: at first Blanche’s genuine response to events is quite believable but, given her upbringing, she is perhaps a little too trusting. Also requiring a major suspension of disbelief is the police interview in which a detainee is shot. This is not a mystery where the killer can be picked from a list of suspects, although readers may be wondering about some characters as their true nature becomes apparent. While the narrative from the perspective of the unnamed murderer may help the reader eliminate some suspects, trying to guess his identity is a highly unsatisfying undertaking as he does not feature among the named characters, appearing only in the last twenty pages. Blanche’s backstory is filled in with flashbacks to her youth and extracts from a book written about the shootings. There is plenty of action leading to an exciting climax but the characters seem a bit flat and the build-up of tension does not have the urgency it ought to: the potential is not quite realised. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Atria Books.
JennaLee1023 4 days ago
Overall I would have to give this one 2.5 stars. It took me THREE WEEKS to read this. I was just not that into it. It seemed to have started off a little slow, then picked up around the halfway point. I was able to read the last half in a little more than a day. I think that if I were a bit more focused I would have enjoyed it a little more. I am not saying that this was a bad book at all. It just didn't really capture my attention from the get-go. Since it was a slow start and the ending was a little abrupt, it is not my favorite book of the year. I didn't really love the characters. There were too many insignificant ones who just took up time and space. It was a bit much for me if I am being honest. Cults are super interesting and if you enjoy thrillers and all of that suspenseful stuff, you will probably enjoy Your Life is Mine. I will probably try to reread this one in the future when I can actually focus on the story.
Twink 4 days ago
Nathan Ripley's debut novel Find You in the Dark was deliciously dark and creepy. His second novel, Your Life is Mine, is just as dark. Blanche Potter ran from her past and never returned - until the murder of her mother Crissy. She finally returns to her home - to the town where her father, Chuck Varner, went on a killing spree in a crowded mall. He saw himself as a leader - the head of a self created cult. Blanche grew up listening the doctrine her mother and father espoused. And it looks like Crissy continued the 'teachings' after Chuck's death, keeping Chuck's legacy alive. Blanche's arrival is immediately met by a police officer who seems intent on not investigating Crissy's death. I was a little surprised that Blanche didn't push harder here. A journalist named Emil who knows who knows Blanche really is, is also there - intent on using Blanche's life to write an exposé. Your Life is Mine is driven by Blanche, but Emil is also given a voice. He too has more than a few issues with his parent. Blanche ran, but you can't escape that kind of upbringing. She is mentally scarred, scars she has kept hidden from her best friend Jaya. Ripley does a good job of imagining how a survivor of such an upbringing might turn out. How her outlook on life might be, what paths in life she might choose, what relationships might look like after such trauma. The relationship between Blanche and Jaya goes into much detail. Despite her past, I did find it hard to connect with Blanche. I found myself drawn more to Jaya. Just as disturbing are the 'lessons' and 'wisdom' that Chuck preached. But they are topped by those willing to buy into his vision. This is unfortunately not far-fetched at all. Ripley gives us some twists along the way to the final conclusion. There are some clues along the way, so they weren't completely unexpected. The build up to an inevitable, final confrontation keeps building and takes most of the book. I did find the resolution happened much quicker than I expected and the speed of those final chapters left me slightly underwhelmed with the conclusion. Ripley's writing is very readable. I liked the first book better, but will absolutely read what he writes next.
Achour_2019 7 days ago
I had lots of difficulties to engage in the story. It is really a very difficult reading and definitely not the kind of literature I usually read. The plot is full of violence and the characters are confusing. I have been attracted when reading the summary description and I fought a lot to continue reading but I unfortunately admit that I suspended just after the few first chapters.
Amanda_Dickens 8 days ago
This book read like something straight our of real life. The writing style kept me interested from beginning and mostly to the end but things started to drag a little. . We learn more about the main characters past and how that is coming back to haunt her. The character's past was explained which was interesting and made her very real in my mind but that personality was lost once she was an adult. I can't quite put my finger on it. The ending was also very predictable. It's a good thriller and I would still recommend it.
suekitty13 8 days ago
There is nothing more terrifying than mass shootings. Real life is much more disturbing than made up monsters and serial killers. In a shooting you can’t fight back or try to reason with the killer. You are completely at their mercy. It’s a difficult subject to read about and I’m sure it’s a minefield for writers. In “Your Life is Mine” we spend a lot of time with one of these shooters (Chuck) and the cult-like group of boys, plus his wife, that admire him and want to be just like him. All of Chuck’s nonsensical ravings are taken as gospel by his followers. His crazy manifesto is then repeated and expanded on by his wife. The B.S. was mind-boggling. How do people believe this kind of garbage? (I’m well aware that they do.) From birth they train their daughter Blanche to complete Chuck’s dream, which is basically to kill even more people. The story is really about this daughter and how she deals with this as an adult. Does she struggle to break out of the brainwashing or does she embrace it? I had a difficult time warming to Blanche because she was so cold and almost alien. She reacted so differently from anyone I have ever known, but of course she had a past unlike anyone I’ve ever known. I had compassion for her to some extent, she was just a kid after all, but she was not an easy character. At first I wasn’t enjoying it very much. Because I didn’t connect to the main character I wasn’t sure this book was going to be for me. I have no problem with darkness and serial killers but this was an infuriating version of evil, mostly centering on Blanche’s crazy parents and all the terrible things they did to her and others. Sure it’s scary, but mostly it just made me angry at the parents. They are the absolute worst. Closer to the conclusion I started to become very invested in Blanche and how her story would turn out. I wouldn’t say that I liked her but I hated the people she was up against. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, as they say. She became more tolerable and I was glad for her competence and toughness. In the end this was a fast paced, suspenseful read but also a very uncomfortable one. Thank you to Atria Books for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review
Persephonereads 8 days ago
3.25 out of 5 stars I would like to thank Atria Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Blanche Potter is an acclaimed documentary film maker but she also happens to be the daughter of cult leader Chuck Varner. In 1996 when Blanche was a child he took her to a mall and told her to go find her Mother, began to shoot up the mall and ultimately turned the gun on himself. After Blanche's mother is murdered she must return home and face the demons she has been running from for years. I really am a huge fan of psychological thrillers and though I went into this novel expecting to fall in love but I ended up just walking away entertained. I really enjoyed the writing style of Nathan Ripley but there is just something about this book that didn't hook me the way I wanted. Blanche was fine as a character but I really didn't care for her the way that I wanted to. I would say that this is much more of a slow burn kind of novel. I did see a lot of the twists coming but the novel was enjoyable. I would say that this is definitely a solid 3.25 star book. I would suggest picking it up. It's a really good Summer read!
diane92345 13 days ago
Your Life is Mine has a great hook. Blanche, the daughter of a famous deceased cult leader tries to solve her mother’s murder many years later. Was it simply a random home invasion or has her father’s cult returned to complete his mandate? At the same time, a journalist is threatening to expose Blanche as the cult leader’s daughter, which could destroy her own journalism career. Your Life is Mine has such potential. However, I didn’t relate to any of the characters—not even Blanche. Despite being about a murderous cult, the story dragged for me. Finally at about 90% into the book, the pace picks up to page-turning. There is the obligatory twisty reveal and then a quick wrap up of all the other loose ends. It was underwhelming to a frequent thriller reader like me and, sadly, a missed opportunity for the author. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3 stars. Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Janice Lombardo 14 days ago
I found myself thinking in circles throughout the first half of this book. I even contemplated packing it all in. I became confused by the characters and did not like any of them. On the other hand, this story about a charismatic cult leader, Chuck Varner, and his wife (Crissy) and daughter (Blanche) was a decent suspense mystery. Hardened by watching her father perform a mass murder at a California mall at an early age, Blanche became hard, herself. Her mother lived in the clouds of Chuck's remembrance but somehow had twisted his 6 point theory into something else. More dangerous? Blanche had left her mother at the trailer park while in high school and went to live with her best friend, Jaya and her mother. After college, Jaya and Blanche went into film documentary production, together. On set in New Orleans, Blanche meets Emil Chandler who marks the beginning of a change in Blanche's world. Through Emil, Blanche meets Officer Maitland who works in California and knew Blanche's mother. When Blanche's mother is shot, and dies, Blanche returns to ID her mother's body and this is where the real action begins. No one can be trusted... The theme of both lying and deceit comes in and the story sparks up! Although I did have a few reservations about this book, I found it invariably entertaining. Many thanks to Aria Books and NetGalley for a remarkable read!