cover image The Perfect Wife

The Perfect Wife

JP Delaney. Ballantine, $27 (432p) ISBN 978-1-5247-9674-7

This compulsively readable psychological thriller from bestseller Delaney (Believe Me), a pseudonym of British adman Tony Strong, asks some provocative questions. Did Silicon Valley visionary Tim Scott, the founder of Scott Robotics, murder his wife, Abbie Cullen-Scott? Or did the free-spirited artist and devoted mother drown while surfing one night near their California beach house? Her body was never found. Five years after her disappearance, and four years after murder charges against Tim were dismissed due to lack of evidence, a woman sees someone who could be Abbie in a San Francisco computer store. When the woman asks this Abbie look-alike what happened, Abbie says she doesn’t remember. Furthermore, Abbie doesn’t deny that she’s back with her husband. Though the woman is pleased to have confirmation that Tim didn’t kill Abbie, she calls the police to report that the missing celebrity has seemingly returned from the dead. The ensuing publicity has devastating consequences for the resurrected Abbie, eccentric genius Tim, and their now nine-year-old son, Danny . Delaney keeps the suspense high throughout. The highly unusual setup sets this one above the thriller pack. Agent: Caradoc King, United Artists (U.K.). (Aug.)