Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

ComplicitTitle:  Complicit
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publishing Date: June 24th 2014
Pages: 256
Genre: Ya Psychological Thriller
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Hardcover


Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.

But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell. 

Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange.

I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. I read Charm and Strange a while back and completely fell in love with the writing. I was happy no thrilled to see another book come out. It took me a while but I finally got this book... thank you Santa... and I dove right in. It was even better than I imagined and I imagined it would be pretty dang awesome. I was not disappointed, another masterpiece by Stephanie Kuehn. Great characters, beautiful writing, and a very memorable story. 

Jamie is living his life, getting great grades, on the verge of making a crush his girl, and loving life. After a  hard childhood Jamie feels that now at age 17, things are coming together. That is until he finds out his sister, Cate is being released from juvie. Its been 3 years and Jamie had done all he could to forget about that horrid night when Cate burned down a neighborhood barn seriously injury a friend. Jamie is now getting phone calls from Cate, freaky calls that make him believe she hasn't changed at all. She is still nuts. He doesn't want her back in his life but she has promised him the truth about the past and now more than ever, Jamie needs to learn the truth, but is it worth the price to pay. 

First off I must say, Stephanie Kuehn is a genius when it comes to storytelling. This book was well thought out, well played, and nothing short of crazy awesome. I knew I would love it if it was anything like Charm and Strange. I loved it and loved it and loved it some more. The story was just crazy nuts. I love psychological thrillers, but they are hard to do write it seems. SO many fall short of my expectations. I knew where the story was going from pretty early on but I never dreamed the full extent of the story would be so disturbing. I only guessed part of the story. So guessing part of the story did not ruin any of the fun. Disturbing is what it was. 

I really liked Jamie's character, he was written and developed quite well and from the very beginning I felt a strong connection with him. I wanted to know more and more about his past and I wanted more of him in the present. The book does alternate between memories of the past... in specific order... and things that are happening in the present. This makes for a well done character in my book. I felt I knew him very well. 

The love interest in the book was another awesome character. She was downplayed quite a bit because she was a secondary character but she was well written and I think her part in the story was very important to the full picture. She was an important part of Jamie's life and a part that made Jamie more real, relatable. 

There was also Crazy Cate and she was crazy, but the crazy never bothered me. I still wanted to know so much more about her. From the very beginning I knew there was way more to her story than what was being revealed. It was revealed very slowly and the more I got to know her the more I liked her as the crazy character. She was also very well developed. I liked her, I was scared of her and I felt for her. I didn't know how to react to her creepiness. 

The book pretty much revolves around these three characters, even though the book is told from Jamie's pov, through his memories and through his eyes the readers are painted a very vivid picture that is slowly pieced together to make a huge disturbing creepy messed up picture. 

The book was a very fast read, one sitting type of read. Paced evenly and perfectly to give me the heebie jeebies that I want from my psychological thrillers. One of the best I have read. 
Awesome, chilling, incredible, creeptastic, mind blowing. Yes a must read. 

Stephanie Kuehn

I'm a YA writer who grew up in Berkeley, California, which is a quirky sort of a place with a ton of wonderful bookstores. My very first job was working in one of those bookstores.
Passions of mine include mental health advocacy, social justice, and sports of all kinds. I currently live in Northern California with my family and our wild menagerie of pets. CHARM & STRANGE and COMPLICIT are out now. DELICATE MONSTERS will be out in 2015. 
If you have any questions, please contact me via my website (stephaniekuehn.com). Thank you! 


  1. I haven't seen too many reviews for this one before now, but I'm definitely intrigued after reading your review! I tend to enjoy psychological thrillers, so I think I'll definitely have to pick this up. I'm glad the characters are all great and that there's more to the story than you'd think. Amazing review :)

  2. I actually have this on my kindle, but I didn't realize it was the same author as Charm & Strange. I think I need to put this on my short list!

    Thanks for stopping by Such a Novel Idea!

  3. I really liked this one too. I love unreliable narrators, and this was done well. Great review!


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