In the quiet farmlands of Fromach, an elderly woman's body is found mutilated in her home while her ward, Marie, vanishes without a trace. Assigned to the case is Detective Payne, a seasoned investigator who seeks out the worst of tragedies in the name of justice. Little does he know, he's about to embark on a relentless pursuit that will test his limits.
Marie's tumultuous past starts to unravel. As a child, she witnessed her stepfather brutalize her mother before fleeing to the Goulian Islands, leaving Marie orphaned with a vow to track him down one day and confront him.
Again and again, life offers Marie a different path—a haven from her pursuit—yet nothing will hold her back from her revenge.
With an unapologetic willingness to do whatever it takes to survive, Marie puts on a façade and adopts a new life at each stop along the path to vengeance. Yet, hidden within her heartbox, a chilling collection of secrets holds the truth of her sinister nature.
Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite
The Heartbox by Ryann Magnus is a dark, crime thriller that questions how we view morality as well as right and wrong. Marie’s life had long been one of turmoil and pain. She had witnessed her stepfather’s brutal treatment of her mother and was determined to eventually track him down and ensure that she saw justice done. When Marie’s savior Mrs Lowell is discovered brutally murdered and her body mutilated, Marie is nowhere to be found. Suspicion immediately falls on Marie and Detective Payne, a successful investigator, is determined to get to the bottom of the case, find Marie, and ensure justice is served. Marie has embarked on a mission to discover the whereabouts of her awful stepfather and will use whatever means necessary to see that he gets what is due to him.
The Heartbox is an interesting read and different from your normal detective story. Author Ryann Magnus has used two different perspectives to narrate the tale; first, that of Marie and second, from the viewpoint of Detective Payne, as well as setting the narrative in a fictional world and time, giving the novel some depth. I appreciated the moral quandary that the story throws up, whether the end ever justifies the means, but I also liked the magical and supernatural qualities that were infused into the tale. The general misogyny of the men Marie encounters on her journey, in general, was well highlighted in a society that saw women as merely available for the use of men, whilst all Marie ever wanted was to feel loved, needed, and to be able to trust someone completely and fully. Despite her misadventures and brutal treatment by those she came into contact with, Marie is a character who readers will identify with and relate to, which gives her actions credibility. This was a pleasant read and one I can recommend.