Jersey Girl Book Reviews: In her debut thriller novel, Driven: A Rita Mars Thriller, author Valerie Webster transports the reader to the locales of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., for an intriguing thriller that will keep the reader guessing and turning the pages.

The story centers around Rita Mars, ex-investigative journalist turned private investigator, who is determined to find the killer of her friend and ex-journalist co-worker, Bobby Ellis. Rita was supposed to meet up with Bobby at a Harpers Ferry hotel, but when she got to the hotel, Bobby was found hanging by the shower rod by a hotel maid, and the coroner concludes the cause of death as a suicide. Rita knows that Bobby didn’t kill himself, so she embarks on an investigation that will lead to the halls of Congress, determined to piece together what Bobby had been working on, and who would shut him up permanently before he could reveal what he knew in a newspaper article. Rita also has a new client, Karin Van Dreem, a PR Consultant, who hires her to provide security because of her psychotic ex-husband, Dr. Douglas Servier, who has been stalking her, and she’s afraid that he’s going to kill her. And if that isn’t enough, Rita is dealing with her own personal issues that continue to haunt her. Can Rita find who killed Bobby while keeping Karin safe from the psychotic ex-husband, or will this driven private investigator put herself in danger as well?

In her debut thriller novel, author Valerie Webster weaves a slow-building and suspenseful tale written in the third person narrative that follows Rita’s investigations into Bobby’s killer and Karin’s psychotic stalker of an ex-husband. As the reader follows Rita’s investigations, incidents occur and flashbacks to her traumatic past reveals an interconnection that has a lot of drama, tension, and a threat of danger around every corner, and where everyone is considered a suspect. 

The reader is easily drawn into this well written story with its richly descriptive plot and setting. It is filled with enough family drama and secrets, motives, possible suspects, action, and intriguing twists and turns that definitely keeps the reader guessing until the surprising conclusion.

This was a really interesting story to read! The author does a wonderful job of providing enough clues to engage the reader, and I found myself so caught up on trying to figure out who is behind Bobby’s murder, and the craziness behind Karin’s stalker. I loved how Rita used her expertise as an ex-investigative reporter to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I was absolutely stunned by the conclusion, I never saw it coming! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was also intrigued by Rita’s backstory, she is a broken person who is still trying to overcome her traumatic childhood and ex-relationship issues. I look forward to reading Rita’s next investigative adventure.  

Driven: A Rita Mars Thriller will definitely take the readers on one heck of a thrilling roller coaster ride.