Out of the Ashes
January 26, 2024

Book Review

Out of the Ashes

reviewed by Sandra Hoover


Goodreads | Crossmyheartbookreviews

Author Kara Thomas’s debut in the world of adult fiction with Out of the Ashes, a disquieting suspense thriller, is successful. While fans sing her praises as a young adult author, this is my first time reading the work of this obviously talented writer, and I am duly impressed.

Out of the Ashes is a gritty suspense thriller relayed through the point of view of nurse Samantha Newsom who reluctantly returns to her hometown of Carney, New York, to clean out and sell property left her by her deceased uncle. Sam fled the area twenty years prior, but never got over the devastating loss of her family, including her parents, baby sister and uncle, in a brutal unsolved crime that concluded with the burning of her family home. Sam can’t shake her gut feeling that a local, arrogant police officer who had run-ins with her family got away with the murder of her family and others. Corruption, contempt and depraved behavior is rampart in the secluded, small-town where few escape the free-flowing drugs and alcohol, controlled through fear tactics by one unethical family who remain untouchable. When an investigator knocks on Sam’s door with news of an informant willing to come forward in exchange for a plea deal, it’s all the incentive she needs to rip the Band-Aid off old wounds and begin investigating the cold case on her own. Ignoring repeated warnings to leave well enough alone, Sam’s inquiries lead to the surfacing of dark, long buried secrets that threaten the comfortable livelihoods of locals with criminal connections. A murder and the disappearance of two women serve to fuel Sam’s determination to strip the small town and its occupants bare in search of the truth. In Sam’s eyes, it’s clear that corruption among the police department and locals led to her family’s murders in an epic coverup, but will she survive the truth of what rises out of the ashes?

Author Kara Thomas has penned a crafty, raw, enthralling thriller featuring deeply flawed characters, none more than the protagonist struggling to accept and let go of past sorrows and torments haunting her sleeping hours while driving her every waking move. A steadily rising pace escalates with each new secret and threat uncovered in this sordid, twisted tale, and readers can expect to be sucked into Sam’s plight quickly as repeated revelations threaten her sanity. The large cast of players keeps readers on their toes as they work the case alongside Sam in search of a killer. The author’s choice to tell the story exclusively from Samantha’s point of view allows readers to slip into her shoes and experience her confusion, pain and frustration as she struggles to understand each new revelation. The author’s ability to expertly manipulate characters and readers keeps everyone guessing until the final big shocker that many won’t see coming.

Out of the Ashes is a tension laden, heart wrenching domestic thriller that firmly establishes Author Kara Thomas in the adult thriller genre. This tale of corruption, murder and redemption is mesmerizing and hard to put down. Highly recommended to fans of suspense thrillers and murder mysteries.

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