Fellow Nashvillian J.T. Ellison publishes her latest stand-alone thriller, It’s One of Us today. I was pleased to receive an ARC of Ellison’s latest novel so I could participate in her blog tour for the book. Details on the book and how to purchase it are included after my review.
After years of struggling with infertility, Olivia and Park Bender’s marriage is showing signs of strain. On the morning that Olivia experiences a miscarriage, the police arrive at their Nashville home with shocking news – Park’s DNA has been linked to a series of crimes. The implication is that either Park is a suspect or one of his children is.
So begins J.T. Ellison’s latest thriller, It’s One of Us.
Park has things in his past he’s not exactly been forthcoming with Olivia about, including his donation to a sperm bank that used his sample far more than the documentation said they should or would. Turns out Park has multiple children by different mothers and these children have all connected on a Discord server. There are also questions about Park’s past related to the disappearance of his college girlfriend.
Ellison piles on twist after twist to the story, shifting through multiple points of view during the story. Whether it’s one of the women who used Park’s sample, Park’s daughter, the suspect, Olivia, Park, or Park’s twin brother Perry, each narrator provides an interesting piece of the puzzle as the story of what happened starts to unfold. Ellison even puts in an interesting twist or two to a love triangle that developed between Olivia, Park, and his twin brother Perry back in their college days and one that threatens to resurface again now.
Seeing Ellison reference various areas of Nashville and our local television station is an added bonus for this reader as a resident of middle Tennessee. Thankfully, she doesn’t pull a 24 and has every destination in the area be only five minutes from each other as the plot or latest twist needs various players in various places at a certain time.
The premise of a marriage already under strain due to infertility and then tested by the wildest of external forces is an intriguing one. Ellison’s exploration of Olivia’s struggle and emotions with infertility hits home with raw power and emotion. Be warned that if this is something you or someone you love struggles with, this book may hit you in all the right and wrong ways. The afterward reveals Ellison’s own struggles and how they led to Olivia’s creation.
But as twist after twist arrives, the story begins to lose a bit of its focus and intensity in the second half. As I said earlier, there is a love triangle that emerges between Olivia and the Bender twins – one that gets exacerbated as secrets come to light and Park’s twin brother Perry arrives back in town at precisely the wrong moment. White the story works hard to establish the long-simmering tension, but the payoff isn’t as solid as it could or should have been.
It ends up taking the story down a peg or two in the final pages and left me feeling a bit unsatisfied with It’s One Of Us in the final pages.
About the Book:
From the New York Times bestselling author comes this twisting, emotionally layered thriller about a marriage torn apart when the police arrive at an infertile couple’s door and reveal the husband’s son is the prime suspect in a murder. The perfect blend of exhilarating suspense and issue-driven book club fiction.
Everybody lies. Even the ones you think you know best of all . . .
Olivia Bender designs exquisite home interiors that satisfy the most demanding clients. But her own deepest desire can’t be fulfilled by marble counters or the perfect rug. She desperately wants to be a mother. Fertility treatments and IVF keep failing. And just when she feels she’s at her lowest point, the police deliver shocking news to Olivia and her husband, Park.
DNA results show that the prime suspect in a murder investigation is Park’s son. Olivia is relieved, knowing this is a mistake. Despite their desire, the Benders don’t have any children. Then comes the confession. Many years ago, Park donated sperm to a clinic. He has no idea how many times it was sold—or how many children he has sired.
As the murder investigation goes deeper, more terrible truths come to light. With every revelation, Olivia must face the unthinkable. The man she married has fathered a killer. But can she hold that against him when she keeps such dark secrets of her own?
This twisting, emotionally layered thriller explores the lies we tell to keep a marriage together–or break each other apart . . .
About the Author:
J.T. Ellison is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 novels, and the EMMY-award winning co-host of A WORD ON WORDS, Nashville’s premier literary show. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 26 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.
Author website: https://www.jtellison.com/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/its-one-of-us-j-t-ellison/1141813790?ean=9780778311768