My Lovely Wife

Samantha Downing. Berkley, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-451-49172-5
The discovery of a corpse in an abandoned Woodview, Fla., motel kick-starts Downing’s taut debut. Police identify the victim as Lindsay, a young woman who went missing a year earlier and was apparently held captive for months before being strangled. This revelation shocks the book’s 39-year-old unnamed narrator, since he and his wife, Millicent, were the ones who abducted Lindsay as part of a ploy to spice up their marriage. Millicent was supposed to have immediately killed and dumped Lindsay in a swamp, but she now claims that in order to distract the authorities, she changed their m.o. to match that of Owen Oliver Riley, a notorious local serial killer who escaped conviction. Millicent’s husband initially relishes the idea of a suspicion-free killing spree, but quickly learns that resurrecting the local bogeyman has consequences. Downing’s tale unfolds slowly and sinuously, building tension about the couples’ fate while revealing the origins of their homicidal hobby. The first-person, present-tense narration makes readers feel uncomfortably complicit in all that transpires, underscoring the plot’s grim and twisted nature. Readers will eagerly await Downing’s next thriller. Author tour. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/26/2018
Release date: 03/26/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-451-49174-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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