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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

I Did It For You

Penguin Audio

ISBN: 9780593187395

Publication Date: 07/25/2023

Publisher: Penguin Group, Dutton

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

A twisty thriller from the beloved author of The Familiar Dark, in which a woman returns to the town where her sister was murdered and finds a presumed copycat on the loose

It’s been fourteen years since Greer Dunning’s older sister, Eliza, was murdered, and Greer’s family has never been the same. And now there's been a similar killing in Greer’s small Kansas hometown, Ludlow, after the execution of the convicted killer. A copycat, according to the authorities, but Greer is convinced there is more to the story. That Eliza’s murderer had help all those years ago.

So Greer returns to Ludlow after more than a decade away, desperate to find answers to the questions that have haunted her for years. And her drive to uncover the truth pushes her to form a bond with the unlikeliest of allies.

At once a riveting mystery and a deep exploration of guilt, loss, and the ways in which a violent murder transforms both the family of the victim and the family of the killer, I Did It For You will keep readers captivated through the very last page.

My Review

Amy Engel returns following The Familiar Dark and The Roanoke Girls with her latest, I DID IT FOR YOU, a gripping tale exploring guilt, loss, trauma, and the many ways in which a violent murder transforms the family of the victims and the killer's family.

Greer Dunning returns to her rural hometown of Ludlow, Kansas, from Chicago after the execution of the man, Roy Matthews, who murdered her sister, Eliza, and her boyfriend, Travis, fourteen years ago while making out in a car.

Despite a clear motive, Roy was convicted and executed. Greer, the younger sister, was not satisfied with the original investigation.

Now it appears there is a copycat killer. Two teens, Addy and Dylan, have been murdered, similar to her sister's murder. Is someone trying to lure her back to town?

Greer returns determined to solve this mystery—her family was devasted, and they were not there for her due to their grief.

Set in a rural small town, a story of a sixteen old Greer trying to run away, and now the truth has to come out. She is now getting close to the brother of her sister's murderer, Dean. From family members, friends, and enemies, we revisit the past and present.

Told from the POV of Greer, secrets are unraveled in this slow burn character-driven mystery exploring fear, shame, guilt, trauma, loss, forgiveness, and the many ways it affects everyone close to the victims and the murder's family.

While I would not classify this as a thriller, it is a well-written raw, emotionally—engrossing heart-breaking crime psychological suspense mystery of small-town darkness, focusing on Greer's grief and struggles.

Thanks to #PenguinGroup and #NetGalley for an advanced reading copy for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: July 25, 2023

My Rating: 4 Stars


“In this stellar standalone…Engel elevates the already tantalizing mystery with an uncommonly raw portrayal of Greer’s grief—her palpable inner struggles form the backbone of the novel. Mysteries don’t come much better than this.”

—Publishers Weekly (starred)

“I love diving into an Amy Engel novel, and I Did It For You is no exception. If you’re looking for an engrossing thriller, this one ticks off all the boxes: sleek writing, insight into the complexity of terrible crimes, and a plot that will keep you guessing and turning ‘just one more page’ late into the night.”

—Julia Heaberlin, bestselling author of We Are All The Same In the Dark

“Amy Engel masterfully dredges the depths of small-town darkness. Raw and riveting, I Did It For You belongs at the top of your to read list.”

—Laura McHugh, Award winning author of What’s Done In Darkness

“A heart-breaking crime story about the need to make sense of the senseless acts of violence that rip your life apart and how you can’t choose who you love… Amy Engel is the queen of the small-town mystery.”

—Laure Van Rensburg, author of Nobody But Us and The Good Daughter

“A deeply chilling, beautifully written mystery. I Did It For You is a blistering page-turner and a complex study of grief and the power of guilt. Amy Engel is a huge talent.”

—Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End

About the Author

Photo Credit: Trish Brown Photography

Amy was born in Kansas and spent the first few years of her life living in a small commune among the wheat fields. When she was three, Amy and her parents moved to Iran. Although she was very young when she lived there, Amy has incredibly fond memories of Iran, both the people and the country. After Iran, her family settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where Amy attended the local elementary school and often gave the teacher hand-written notes correcting her spelling (this did not endear Amy to the teacher).

After high school, Amy attended the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!) where she spent four blissful years alternating between reading (B.A. in English) and staying out way too late with friends. Immediately upon graduation, she moved to Washington, DC to begin law school at Georgetown University.

Amy returned to Kansas City with her law degree and worked as a criminal defense attorney for ten years—a job that is both less exciting and more heartbreaking than television makes it appear. She married a fellow attorney and once they began having children, decided to stay home and split her time between mothering and writing, with the goal to be a published author within ten years.

She pursued this goal by doing absolutely nothing for the first couple of years. In her defense, after a day of chasing two small children around she had zero energy left for anything else (save the occasional glass of well-deserved wine). Eventually, though, she buckled down and wrote a novel. Unfortunately, while it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t all that great, either. She trunked that book and then spent a year ruminating on new ideas. In other words, procrastinating. But one day she was hit with a flash of inspiration and wrote her debut young adult novel, THE BOOK OF IVY. It was published in 2014 and went on to win the Missouri Gateway Readers Award and the Georgia Peach Book Award. A sequel, THE REVOLUTION OF IVY, followed in 2015. In between writing those two books, she began work on THE ROANOKE GIRLS, her first adult novel, which was published in 2017. While working on THE ROANOKE GIRLS, Amy realized she enjoyed exploring the shadowy side of the human experience, and she put that discovery to good use in writing her latest novel, THE FAMILIAR DARK. WEBSITE



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