Review: At Risk by S.G. Redling 

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: September 20, 2016

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Goodreads blurb: 

Colleen McElroy grew up wealthy and pampered, the daughter of a prominent society family in Lexington, Kentucky. But her privileged upbringing could not prepare or protect her from her cruel and abusive first husband. Although her calamitous marriage left her with physical and emotional scars that have yet to heal, they haven’t prevented her from doing her best to rebuild her life.
Charismatic Patrick McElroy has scars of his own from his traumatic childhood in the foster care system, but with his business partner, John, he has built a celebrated, state-of-the-art home for at-risk youths. When one goes missing, Colleen is plunged into a nightmare of uncertainty about the girl’s disappearance. Is she paranoid, seeing disasters where there is just bad luck, or does an unspeakable evil lurk behind the new life she’s made for herself? No longer sure of whom she can trust, Colleen will have to rely on herself to discover the truth.


Despite what I read in the blurb, this book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I assumed that it would be a domestic suspense novel with some thrills and chills. Instead, it was a slow and steady buildup to an frenetic and shockingly violent climax. I think the slower first portion of the book lulled me into a sense of calm and comfort so when everything began to ramp up, I was sort of blindsided.

Colleen is the main character and I truly felt for her. She escaped the horrific abuse of her first husband and has found happiness with Patrick, a kind and caring man who loves her unconditionally. He survived a truly awful childhood and they bonded over their shared horrors. Things are practically perfect now, they have each other and Pat has a successful business with his lifelong best friend, John. Colleen has a fragile, yet budding friendship with John’s wife, Bix and is slowly starting to heal old wounds. Despite her constant insecurities, Colleen begins to seriously doubt several things in her life even if she is not used to trusting her own intuition. Is she just being unreasonable or are there really secrets hiding that could have deadly consequences for her? 

The truth, as it turns out, is far more shocking and abhorrent than I could have ever guessed. I love when an author manages to surprise me and this book definitely did that. In fact, while reading this I was sure this was going to be a three star read for me, if that. The last quarter of the book was so compelling and full of revelations that I bumped up my rating a full star. The ending was left pretty open ended, but for once I wasn’t put off by that. I was satisfied by the answers that were provided and maybe even a little hopeful that the author will do more with these characters in a future book.

This book was such a mixed bag because the majority was pretty tame, yet still engaging. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I wasn’t annoyed by the wait. But then when things start to actually happen, it turns gory, violent and disturbing. Some scenes were real nail biters and I was completely mesmerized. If you don’t like gritty and graphic scenes though, this book may be a problem for you and I feel the need to warn you because I think that it would be easy to assume that this one would be rather tame. And it is, for the most part, but the violent scenes were descriptive enough that I feel a heads up is necessary.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Thomas and Mercer and Amazon Publishing for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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