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Your Life Is Mine

Your Life Is Mine 1

A Novel

by Nathan Ripley
Publication Date: 01/01/2019
3/5 Rating 1 Reviews
Instant national bestseller Nathan Ripley follows up the success of Find You in the Dark with another suspenseful page-turner--this 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.

Thriller / suspense
Publication Date:
Atria Books
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):
Nathan Ripley

Nathan Ripley is the pseudonym of Naben Ruthnum, a winner of Canada's prestigious Journey Prize for best short story published by an emerging writer. He lives in Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

3 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • potential is not quite realised.

    by on

    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.