Things We Do in the Dark
By: Jennifer Hillier
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: 07/19/2022
My Rating: 5 Stars ++ (ARC)
A brilliant new thriller from Jennifer Hillier, the award-winning author of the breakout novels Little Secrets and Jar of Hearts.
Paris Peralta is suspected of killing her celebrity husband, and her long-hidden past now threatens to destroy her future.
When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom—covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her—she knows she’ll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it’s not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it’s only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she’s worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future.
Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder in a trial that riveted Canada in the early nineties. Reyes knows who Paris really is, and when she’s unexpectedly released from prison, she threatens to expose all of Paris’s secrets. Left with no other choice, Paris must finally confront the dark past she escaped, once and for all.
Because the only thing worse than a murder charge are two murder charges.
About the Author
Hi there, I’m Jennifer Hillier. I imagine the worst about people, and then write about it.
I’m the USA Today bestselling author of seven psychological thrillers, including the national bestseller Little Secrets, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Anthony Award, and Jar of Hearts, which won the ITW Thriller Award and was shortlisted for the Anthony and Macavity Awards. My upcoming thriller is Things We Do in the Dark, coming July 19, 2022. My earlier novels—which I hope you’ll also check out—are Creep, Freak, The Butcher, and Wonderland. My novels have been published in twenty-three languages so far.
I’m Filipino-Canadian, born and raised in Toronto, but I spent eight amazing years in Seattle, which is where I first became a published writer. I’m a Seahawks fan but I married a Packers guy. We have a young son who looks most like me when he’s crying. I’m afraid of the dark and can’t sleep unless I’ve checked the locks on the doors several times. I love writing when it’s raining, sleeping when it’s sunny, and reading after everyone else has gone to bed. I cherish my family (those who read, and those who don’t), and my friends (those who write, and those who don’t). I’m a cat person without a cat, which makes me sad. But I’m now back in the Toronto area permanently with my family, which makes me happy.
I also have a newsletter, which I mostly forget to write and send out, but when I do, I think it’s pretty good. You can sign up here. I promise I don’t spam, and sometimes I give stuff away.
You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but hopefully not every day. My newest novel, Things We Do in the Dark, will be coming July 19, 2022. I’m excited for you to read it, and I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering it now. It’s so great for the author when you do!
Connect with Jennifer
Jennifer Hillier Books
"Propulsive and chilling." —People Magazine
"Things We Do in the Dark is a superb novel―expertly plotted and written, utterly authentic. Unputdownable.”
―Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door and Not a Happy Family
"Jennifer Hillier writes the kind of propulsive, no-holds-barred crime fiction that keeps you up at night, with a style and verve that is unmatched. Things We Do in the Dark is a timely, engrossing thriller that will keep you turning the pages until dawn’s light starts to creep through your bedroom window. Hillier is a master.”
―Alex Segura, author of Secret Identity
“It’s no secret Jennifer Hillier has inspired me for years and with good reason―her writing is knockout fantastic. In Things We Do In the Dark, she expertly weaves a tale that’s suspenseful, twisted and shocking, but equally tender with a vulnerability that will crawl right into your ribcage and sit in your heart. A true masterclass in thriller writing, this is a novel you do not want to miss.” ―Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of Never Coming Home
"A twisted dark love story wrapped in a haunting emotional journey--this sinister and gripping psychological thriller is an absolute winner. A riveting tale of innocence and experience, of necessity and revenge, and the understanding of power, Things We Do in the Dark takes us places we never thought we'd go, and reveals the perils of fame, family, and ambition. Jennifer Hillier writes with passion, compassion and bravery. This book is a triumph."
―Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of Her Perfect Life
"One of the best writers in the genre, Jennifer Hillier is synonymous with the deeply thought-provoking, raw, twisty thriller. With exceptionally structured shifting timelines, Hillier takes suspense to the next level, immediately drawing the reader into the dark world of an incredibly layered, mesmerizing heroine. Stunningly propulsive, brilliantly written, and irresistibly addictive, this is hands-down one of the most powerful books I've ever read."
―Samantha M. Bailey, international bestselling author of Woman on the Edge and Watch Out for Her
An Amazon Best Book of July 2022: With her last two novels, Jar of Hearts and Little Secrets, Jennifer Hillier established herself as a master of psychological suspense, and with Things We Do in the Dark, she knocks it out of the park again. Paris Peralta’s carefully curated life with her wealthy celebrity husband ends abruptly when she’s arrested—drenched in blood and holding a straight razor—after her hubby is found murdered in the bathtub of their home. And that’s only the second most worrying issue she’s contending with: the publicity from the scandal catching the attention of people in Paris’s past is a much greater concern. Hillier sets this riveting roundhouse of a novel off with a bang, and then builds the suspense to unbearable heights with red herrings, dark secrets, twisted relationships, and a jaw-socking reveal or two. Summer just got hotter. —Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor
Q&A Elevator Ride with
award-winning author Jennifer Hillier
Exceptional Authors. Standout Books. Elevator Talk.
INTRIGUING QUESTIONS. INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW
"Behind the Book"
We are super excited to have you join us today for our July #AuthorElevatorSeries ride and your seventh novel, the latest highly anticipated psychological thriller everyone is buzzing about —THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK. Let's dive in!
Q. Give us your BEST Elevator Pitch for THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK?
JH: When a woman wakes up to find her much older celebrity husband dead in a bathtub full of his own blood, she realizes she’s holding the straight razor that killed him. With the media frenzy surrounding the crime, it’s not just a murder charge she’s worried about. It’s two murder charges… because a long time ago, in a different life, she ran away from a similar crime, and she’s terrified that people will discover who she really is.
Q. Describe THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK in three words or less?
JH: Heartbreak, reinvention, secrets.
Q. How exciting to create your main character as Filipino! How much fun was this? As mentioned in my review, Filipinos are so much fun, “full of life” with winning personalities. Do you see a little of yourself in the character?
JH: Very much so. Even though I – thankfully – did not have the same childhood Joey did, we share a love of reading. I, too, read all my mother’s paperbacks, which made me want to be a storyteller from a very young age. It was fun tapping into my childhood memories of picnics by the lake, the foods we ate, the clothes we wore. Like Joey, I’m a first-generation Canadian who is Filipino but doesn’t speak the language.
Q. SETTING: Tell us more about the book setting (s) and why you selected them?
JH: THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK is set in both Seattle and Toronto, which will be the first time I’ve ever set a story in Canada. For some reason, I’ve always struggled to write about Toronto in my fiction – maybe because I’ve lived here my whole life and always felt too close to it (except for the eight years I was in Seattle). But this time, it felt exactly right to have Joey grow up in the same area I did. The apartment building she lived in with her mother is a fictionalized version of the building I lived with my mother, right down to the park across the way.
Q. RESEARCH: Any fascinating research for the novel, or anything you learned along the way?
JH: I actually had a lot of fun researching this one. I learned a lot about strip clubs and what life was like for an exotic dancer back in the nineties, and I read so many articles about the Asian street gangs in Toronto during that time as well. I also researched fires, flip phones, comedy clubs, seventies music, even popular shades of lipstick from 1993 (now that one was a rabbit hole).
Q. WRITING: Do you have a favorite chapter or scene in the novel you enjoyed writing the most?
JH: I loved writing every scene with Joey in it. Even though she’s only thirteen, her voice felt very natural to me, and it was easy for me to see what she saw. She is absolutely my most favorite character, of any book of mine.
Q. MUSIC: I have heard music influences your writing. Two of your books were inspired by specific songs. In this novel, you open each section/part with a song reference which was quite powerful.
Could you share a little more about your musical influences? Did you have a playlist while writing this one?
JH: My brain is weird – I have a specific memory attached to almost every song I’ve ever heard. Sometimes I hear a song and it’s a full trip down memory lane; other times it’s just a snapshot. Music heavily influences my mood, and the mood of my books, but I don’t listen to anything while writing. I will, however, look for a specific song and listen to it whenever I’m trying to get a feel for the scene I’m trying to write. It helps me feel, and my feelings are always the best inspiration for my writing.
Q. TOPICS: Name 1-3 topics or themes addressed in the thriller?
JH: Bad mothers, hunger (for food, for love), and courage.
"Behind the Author"
up close & personal
I’m Canadian! My birth province is Ontario.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT WHERE YOU RESIDE?
I’m only a few minutes from Lake Ontario. I love living near the water.
Peonies. I love them so much they’re inked on my arms.
FAVORITE BEAUTY TIP OR PRODUCT? (Hair, makeup, skincare, etc.)
Hair: my curling iron. Can’t live without it.
Makeup: my lash extensions
Skincare: I keep it simple. I love Clinique.
Today, it’s orange.
I could eat chicken or pork adobo (Filipino-style) with rice every day.
Night person. Mornings are the worst for me – it takes me a full half-hour to wake up.
YOUR FAVORITE LIFE LESSON QUOTE?
“Even if it’s not okay, it’s still okay.” – My literary agent, Victoria Skurnick
FAVORITE TYPE OF MUSIC?
If I had to pick, I’d say 90s R&B.
FAVORITE SONG OR ARTIST?
Lizzo, Lady Gaga, The Tragically Hip
IF YOU WERE STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR ALONE WITH ONE CELEBRITY, AUTHOR, OR CHARACTER— WHO WOULD IT BE? (Male or Female)
Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana. I think he’d be the most interesting and inspiring to talk to.
FAVORITE HOLIDAY OR SEASON?
YOUR SECRET TALENT?
I always know what time it is. Which is an utterly useless skill to have, since everyone has a phone or watch with them at all times. (I’d trade my superpower for a sense of direction – I am terrific at getting lost).
FAVORITE READING FORMAT?
All of the above. I collect hardcovers but prefer reading paperbacks. My Kindle Paperwhite is great for reading in bed, in the dark, without disturbing my husband. And I listen to audiobooks on long drives and when I can’t sleep.
FAVORITE TV SERIES? (Or Movie/Video) binge-watch, series, etc.?
The original eight seasons of Dexter, Younger, Hacks, Top Boy, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Morning Show, Severance, Ted Lasso, How to Get Away With Murder
MOST MEMORABLE PLACE YOU HAVE TRAVELED TO?
Kauai, for my honeymoon.
WHAT BOOK IS CURRENTLY ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND OR READING LIST OR BOOK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND?
Currently listening to DEEP WORK by Cal Newton, and I’m reading Liv Andersson’s LITTLE RED HOUSE (which is great). Next up is Riley Sager’s latest, THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE.
YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM? (Or would you prefer none of them)?
In a dream world, I’d have no social media. But I do like Instagram. Bookstagrammers are the best people.
A FAVORITE CHARACTER FROM YOUR BOOK (s).
Geo from JAR OF HEARTS; Sal from LITTLE SECRETS; Joey, Ruby and Drew from THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK.
YOU WOULDN'T BE CAUGHT DEAD, WHERE?
Taco Bell. Arby’s. An outlet mall on Black Friday.
NAME SOMETHING YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE VERY GOOD AT?
Picking things up with my feet.
NAME ONE THING YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE BAD AT?
Remembering that I’ve met someone before. More than a few times, I’ve said, “So great to meet you!” only to have the other person say, “We’ve met before.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HORROR MOVIE (OR LOVE STORY)?
The Exorcist. Still scares me.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Music. Good food. Great TV. Other writers. Planning a vacation.
WHAT WOULD YOUR SON SAY ABOUT YOU BEING AN AUTHOR, IF ASKED?
He tells people, “Mommy writes scary books.”
INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT?
70% introvert, 30% extrovert.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS OR LESS?
Daydreamer, loyal, intense.
YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME OF THE DAY?
Late morning to early afternoon.
YOUR FAVORITE APP?
Sephora’s app is amazing (and the reason I overspend).
YOUR GO-TO RECIPE FOR A NIGHT IN?
Pasta Pomodoro. There’s a recipe from Bon Appetit that I make all the time, that Alafair Burke recommended. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pasta-al-pomodoro
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT? (Excluding computers, tablets, phones)
My necklace. When I received my very first check for my very first book advance in 2010, I splurged on a necklace from Tiffany (the rest went to pay bills). I nearly threw up when I handed over my credit card. But I’m so glad I bought it, because twelve years later, I still wear it every day. It reminds me of how far I’ve come.
THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY?
Snuggles at bedtime with my seven-year-old.
ONE THING YOU OWN YOU SHOULD THROW OUT?
Honestly, half my shoes. I rarely wear heels anymore, but I can’t bear to part with them.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR SON?
Know what you love and work hard.
ONE BIT OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE AN INSPIRING AUTHOR?
Write the book you want to read.
WHAT ARE EARLIER JOBS YOU HAD BEFORE BECOMING AN AUTHOR?
Telemarketer, clothing store sales consultant, video store clerk, receptionist, financial aid specialist.
HOW HAVE THESE EARLIER JOBS HELPED YOU OR BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN YOUR WRITING CAREER?
I feel I did all those jobs well, but they made me realize that I’m not really cut out for anything but writing.
LEADER OR FOLLOWER?
Lone wolf, baby.
JEANS, LEGGINGS, JOGGERS, YOGA PANTS, OR SWEATS?
WINE, MIXED DRINK, BEER, OR OTHER?
An orange Mazda 3 hatchback.
When people talk with their mouths full.
COFFEE OR TEA?
FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK?
RAMONA QUIMBY, Age 8. I just re-read it with my son.
NAME SOMETHING YOU FEAR?
Heights. Insects. Porta-Potties (I’ll hold it forever and risk a UTI to avoid using one).
IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF SOME WISE ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
You don’t need him.
ONE OF THE EVILEST CHARACTERS FROM YOUR BOOK?
Edward Shank from THE BUTCHER.
Ruby Reyes from THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK.
WHAT’S THE CRAZIEST OR MOST OUT-OF-CHARACTER THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?
I had a one-night stand with some random guy in Las Vegas.
(We got married exactly one year later, and had our son seven months after that).
ONE THING YOU HAVE LEARNED SINCE YOUR DEBUT NOVEL?
The only thing harder than getting published is staying published.
SOMETHING YOU WILL NEVER TRY AGAIN?
Eggs Benedict. *shudders*
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO SPEND A RAINY AFTERNOON?
Writing. Sex. (Sorry, mom).
WHAT ARE YOU FREAKISHLY BAD AT?
Following directions. Maps, recipes, instruction manuals…
YOUR BIGGEST CHEERLEADER?
My girlfriends – Annie, Dawn, Shell, Lori.
IF YOU WERE NOT A WRITER, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL CAREER?
THE FUNNIEST ONE-STAR REVIEW YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED AND THE NAME OF THE BOOK?
For CREEP: “I didn’t order this. One star.”
FAVORITE TYPE OF WORKOUT?
THANK YOU, JENNIFER, for spending time with us today!
JH: Thank you, Judith, for having me.
Readers: Check out my glowing 5-star review (Top Books of 2022) below and advance praise above. Be sure and pick up a copy of THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK, post your review on your favorite social media platform, and check out upcoming events with Jennifer. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Also, if you missed the interview with Jennifer LITTLE SECRETS, check it out here.
The "Queen of Thrills" returns following Little Secrets with her seventh novel, THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK. A chilling and gripping multi-layered psychological/crime thriller that will take you deep into the mind of a psychopath.
A well-crafted character and plot-driven thrilling emotional tale of survival, the unraveling of long-buried secrets, and one woman's dark past.
A huge fan, bestselling Author JENNIFER HILLIER can be counted on to send a shiver down the spine, but this one exceeds even her high standards!
Full of fascinating characters that take us to the darkest places imaginable.
When Paris Peralta is suspected of killing her celebrity husband, her long-hidden past now threatens to destroy her future.
Husband Jimmy Peralta was the star of the successful TV show, The Prince of Poughkeepsie. The Seattle comedian has been looking for a comeback and has managed to do so.
As the book opens, older retired Jimmy (comedian-actor) has been found in his home in Seattle, in the bathtub dead with his femoral artery slashed with what appears to be his straight-edge razor as a weapon.
His younger (fifth) wife, (30 years younger) Paris Peralta and yoga studio owner/instructor has returned from a conference and found the scene. When the cops arrive, she is holding the razor.
Now a murder weapon.
She does not need to be in the spotlight since she has secrets from the past— she would like to keep buried. Has Karma come for her?
When they married two years earlier, she expected to live a quiet life with retired Jimmy, but then he changed his mind and was un-retired, and she was worried, and now he is dead.
Jimmy, an old soul, also has two other women working closely with him. Zoe, his assistant and right-hand woman in their house all the time, and Elsie, Jimmy's best friend since childhood and his attorney. They know probably more about him than Petra.
Murder or suicide?
Jimmy also had other problems with drugs, his health, finances, and more. Many red herrings and suspects keep you guessing to the end.
Besides being worried about a murder charge, Petra has other more pressing concerns. Something in her past has surfaced which could destroy her. Years ago, Petra fled Toronto under an assumed name after a fire that claimed the life of Joey (Joelle Reyes).
Ruby Reyes (known as the Ice Queen), horrible sinister monster —an evil and abusive mother (of Joey) has been serving time in prison for killing her married lover/ bank president, Charles Bazterdnet.
Ruby is about to be paroled after twenty-five years, and now Paris is receiving blackmail demands and wanting money. She knows things.
In addition, we are introduced to Drew Lamcolm, true-crime podcaster THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK, who was a friend of Joey's. He despises Ruby and wants to keep her in prison, where she belongs.
How do all these characters connect, and WHO killed Jimmy?
Folks, this is Jennifer Hillier. I have read every book she has ever written and anxiously await the next. When you hear her name, you know you will be entertained and glued to the pages. Perfect for fans of unputdownable, gritty, and complex cat-and-mouse thrillers, ruthless killers, and 'didn't see it coming, OMG' endings.
THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK will have you flipping pages at breakneck speed, guessing, and gasping to the satisfying conclusion.
Hillier delves deep into the human psyche. Ruby was such a ruthless evil woman, and the author did an outstanding job getting inside her head and younger/older Joey. I loved Petra and that Jennifer created her as Filipino, as herself.
Filipinos have been described as friendly, outgoing, sensitive, easily offended, nosy, garrulous, direct, hospitable, feisty, irreverent, good-natured, clever, witty, gregarious, happy, generous, easy to laugh, gracious, easy to befriend, casual, fun-loving, sensitive and hospitable.
If you have followed Jennifer on social media, with her personal, family, and author life, you will see she is just that! Authentic, plus talented and beautiful on the inside/out. Highly recommend this one and all her books. Get this gem on your TBR list.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks My Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Top Books of 2022 July 2022 Must-Read Books A special thank you to #MinotaurBooks #StMarinsPress and #NetGalley for an ARC to read, enjoy, and review. #MinotaurInfluencers #SMPInfluencers
FREAK (2012) before blog
CREEP (2011) before blog