Five handsome, privileged best friends go on a hunting trip. Four return. Was it an accident? Was it murder? And who pulled the trigger? Be sure you have the day clear because once you start THIS IS OUR STORY, you won’t be able to put it down.

From the book flap:

 No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

Overall: 

Most people’s education of the legal systems comes from watching Law & Order marathons. But contrary to popular belief, crimes are not committed, prosecuted and sentenced in the span of 1 hour minud commercial breaks. Similar to Law & Order, This Is Our Story starts with a crime, moves to the investigation, then to the prosecution. But unlike the TV show, the journey through the legal system and the characters developed in  This Is Our Story is far more in depth and fulfilling.

Kate Marino thinks her senior year internship at the district attorney’s office will consist of afternoons in the dusty filing room at the courthouse. But when her boss, the assistant DA, is assigned to the murder of Grant Perkins the biggest murder the town has ever seen, Kate is pulled from the filing room and into the thick of things. But what no one knows is that Kate and Grant Perkins knew each other and for Kate this is more than just an assignment, it’s personal. Kate soon finds out that keeping secrets is complicated and that maybe she didn’t know Grant quite as well as she thought.

This Is Our Story is the best kind of whodunit. Ashley Elston crafts a story which is immediately compelling, characters who are believable and best of all, Elston provides the clues with which you can solve the mystery, if you’re paying attention.

Judge a Book by its Cover: I stalked this cover like a deer hunter in the woods. The blanched deer head against the blue background is eye-catching, but the best part is the five shadows, one of whom’s head matches the deer’s giving the impression of being prey. Kudos to photographer David Hughes and cover designer Tanya Ross-Hughes.

Me Talk Pretty: There are some great lines in this book, most delivered by the potential villain:

“A ten-point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forest floor.”

“We made a pact in the woods. Either we all get out of this or none of of us does. We all know the consequences. It’s as simple as that.”

Body Count: It’s no spoiler to say there is a body count of at least 1, but anything else might be giving something away.

He Said/She Said: This Is Our Story is cleverly told from the alternating  POVs of  Kate and one of the River Point Boys. It is also interspersed with documents from the investigation such as transcripts from eye-witnesses. This gives the story a true crime feel that adds the its authenticity.

Don’t Believe the Hype: This book should come with the following warning: Do not start reading unless you have the day free.  I made the mistake of opening this book at about 10 pm to “read a few pages”. Next thing I knew, it was 5 am! You won’t be able to put this down.

Bizarre Love Triangle: I plead the 5th. Just read the book!

Open tab/Last call: I work in the legal field and I recognize and appreciate the research Ashley Elston put into This Is Our Story. What she has crafted is worthy of the book hanger-over I suffered after binge reading. A story of this caliber deserves a drink a judge friend of mine enjoys- scotch neat. I know a great bar in walking distance to the courthouse. Meet you there, Ashley.

Ann-Eliza 

This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston, Disney-Hyperion, 320 pages, November 15, 2016

 

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