The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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The Wife Between Us
By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9781250130921
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Synopsis:

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.


(New) Thoughts

The Wife Between Us is stunningly complex story of a divorced woman and her ex husband’s young bride to be. It is everything you will want in a suspenseful mystery and nothing you expect. It’s tempting rave about this book for multiple paragraphs and part of me is dying to discuss it at great length, but that would be an atrocity. This will be short and sweet. Do yourself a huge service, skip the lengthy reviews and jump into this one blind! You will come to appreciate the obscured synopsis.

This is a distorted tale of marriage and deceit that is fueled by slow revelations and character development. The brilliance being that it relies on completely “unreliable” narration. Told through alternating chapters, a cunning manipulation of viewpoints effortlessly conceals the truth well into the final pages.

To know that this is co-authored is spectacular. Each seamless transition and intelligent sequence of events leave no evidence of more than one pen at work. Combined efforts have created a gratifying read that successfully deceives the reader. You will think you know, then you will realize you don’t. Then you will think you do. But you don’t.

What begins as a classic tale of a failed marriage and an affair quickly evolves into a work of true craftsmanship that twists and turns so many times, it is disorienting. The final outcome is a story within a story that is completely addictive and absorbing. The pages will turn themselves. Grab a hot cup and prepare to settle in, because if you appreciate mystery and suspense, you will find it difficult to put this one down.

*I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

Untitled designEnjoyed with multiple cups of Chamomile (to counteract the tension), as I just couldn’t stop with this one.

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Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

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The Red Hunter
By Lisa Unger
Publisher: Touchstone
ISBN13: 9781501101670
Pages: 359
Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Synopsis:

What is the difference between justice and revenge?

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house–one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past–and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course–because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the terrifying monsters at the door.


(New) Thoughts

The Red Hunter is a tale of two female strangers whose paths have unknowingly been woven together by their own dark pasts. Claudia is a single mother working diligently to build a new life of happiness through the process of renovating an old house with her daughter. She longs to leave the brutal attack that flipped her life upside in the past and heal. Zoey is a fierce young woman who aims to confront the murder of her parents and her tragic history head on. Fate will weave a tangled web that eventually bring them and their demons together in a head on impact that will forever change their lives.

My initial reaction to The Red Hunter was to pick it up and devour it! I found myself instantly drawn to Unger’s fluid narration and writing style. Fortunately, I forced myself to settle into a slower pace and absorb this one over the span of a few days because this is a story that I feel is most rewarding when allowed to unfold slowly.

Character development was steady, offering substantial growth and establishing a solid connection with the reader. It was easy to identify with Claudia and Zoey. While each has chosen an entirely different course of action in life, there were constant factors in place that assured every decision and difference remained relatable and viable. Unger supplies a solid back story for our main protagonists while leaving the waters just muddied enough to fuel the mystery. They are credible and familiar, yet there is so much more to know.

Plot progression is well paced. The story starts out feeling a bit unhurried when compared to some thrillers, but I found this to be well warranted. The initially slower introduction allows the reader adequate time to familiarize themselves with not one but two protagonists.  Things soon pick up however, and a rapidly developing plotline draws the reader in as two separate lives begin to fall inline through the use of cleverly alternating timelines and point of views that come together seamlessly.

Lisa Unger’s writing is direct and smooth. She effectively creates an atmospheric experience that is as engaging as it is convincing while avoiding unnecessary and frivolous details. She sets a stage ripe with the air of mystery and no shortage of the unexpected. As a latecomer, I found The Red Hunter to be a terrific introduction to Lisa Unger’s writing.

Untitled designEnjoyed with a cup of red rooibos tea with a hint of almond and vanilla.

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Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

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Emma in the Night
By Wendy Walker
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9781250141439
Pages: 320
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.


(New) Thoughts

Emma and Cass Tanner disappear one night without a trace. Three years later, Cass arrives at her mother’s doorstep, alone. Desperate to find her sister Emma, she shares her incredible story of the events leading up to her return. What ensues is a tale that much darker and twisted than even forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter has imagined, and she has a few theories of her own since she original began the case three years ago. Just how deep can family secrets run?

Mysteries are always hard to review for me. Those worth reading are cherished for that elusive truth that one must work to uncover. Revealing too little or too much can be detrimental. And that is where Emma in the Night shines. Wendy Walker has established an unnaturally rewarding balance between the known and unknown. The reader is supplied with just enough ammunition to formulate several working theories, but left to ponder endless possibilities. The end result is an experience that is hard to walk away from and draws the reader further in with each page.

Told through the alternating points of view of Cass Tanner and Dr. Abby Winter, we are slowly exposed to both sides of this mysterious case. Cass is brilliant in terms of a protagonist. To label her as strong feels unjust. While she is not without insecurities and flaws that build her up as a credible character, she is a survivor. Her ability to acknowledge her own weaknesses and her family’s dysfunction with raw truth and play on these facts, weaves a fantastic tale full of questions that beg to be answered.

I found Abby to be less desirable as a main character, but not without merit. At times she felt too open and almost desperate. But her own history with a narcissistic parent played well into her role and provided some insight, albeit limited. I feel like saying she was without value is not warranted. But make no mistake, this is Cass’s story.

The world building is confined to an island and the Tanner’s home, but felt much larger in the grand scheme. The narration establishes an environment that is a familiar as it is foreign. Cleverly implementing elements of the known and uncertain, the likable and unlikable, Walker plays on the reader’s many emotions, engaging them on multiple levels.

The writing is perceptive and sharp. This is a prime example of a well-developed plot that has been executed flawlessly. It reads with an incredible ease and delivers a suspenseful tale that will leave readers thinking and rethinking with each new development.

Emma in the Night is for anyone who loves a dark story full of twists. If you enjoy a good dysfunctional family and mystery, this will be a welcomed and necessary addition to your shelves.

Untitled design Enjoyed with a warm cup of Earl Grey and a splash of milk.

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