It's been a bit quiet around here lately, for which I apologize. I got a bit overwhelmed with work for a while there, but things are finally calming down.
I don't do many blog tours these days, but I was so drawn to Ruthless at first sight, I jumped at a chance to participate in this tour. I'm glad to say my instincts were once again right. (I'm also happy to report that I'm making plans to build an additional room for my ego. Just in case you were concerned.)
by Carolyn Lee Adams
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: July 14th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary, Mystery
A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.
Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.
When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.
At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.
The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.
Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.
Imagine waking up in the bed of an old, filthy truck, concussed, bound and blindfolded, disoriented and scared, only to realize that a near stranger took you from your family and friends, for reasons unknown, and that he’s taking you deep into the woods where no one will think to look for you. That is exactly what Ruthless puts us through on its very first pages, not caring how hard our hearts will beat or how scared we’ll be.
There can be no winner in the seemingly endless mind game that ensues. Everyone needs to lose something and sacrifices have to be made. Ruth is forced to face some hard truths about her life and become a different person, a better person, if she is to survive.
“I think I learned something in our first conversation. He wants to break me down, get to the core of me. My truth is his crack.”
We also jump back several times, at various intervals, to peek into the killer’s mind, see several events through his eyes and learn how he became who he is, how his mind and psyche got irreparably damaged. The scariest thing is that it’s so easy to see, to track the line of events that broke him beyond repair.
Ruth isn’t the most sympathetic of heroines. She is known as Ruthless among her peers because she always does what needs to be done. She too is the product of her circumstances, hard and unyielding because life often gave her no choice. But although we don’t agree with some of her actions, her fear and courage are palpable. Her strength easily translates into sheer determination to survive and such a huge admirable quality instantly brings her closer to us.
There is just a touch of romance as we see signs of love unrecognized and unacknowledged during our glimpses into the past. It’s enough to give us another reason to fear for Ruth and wish for another chance for her and the boy she loves.
Ruthless is one of those rare convincing YA psychological thrillers that challenge you on many different levels. It’s frightening because it can easily happen to any of us, but it also forces you to look deeper and understand both the monster and the girl who simply refuses to become his victim. Highly recommended.
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Carolyn Lee Adams is originally from the Seattle area, breeding ground of serial killers and those who write about them. She attended USC Film School and graduated with a BFA in screenwriting. RUTHLESS (Simon Pulse, Summer 2015) is her first novel. When she isn't exploring the dark side of human nature in her writing, you'll find her on stage as a stand-up comedian. Because those things go together.