cover image The Starter Wife

The Starter Wife

Nina Laurin. Grand Central, $14.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-5387-1571-0

Claire Westcott, the principal narrator of this gripping tale of obsession from Laurin (Girl Last Seen), believes passionately that fate brought her together with her husband of two years, charismatic Byron Westcott, a professor at Ohio’s Mansfield College, and fate is never wrong. Byron’s first wife, Colleen, also a Mansfield professor, committed suicide five years before Claire married Byron. Claire, 20 years younger than her spouse, is consumed with being the perfect second wife and ensuring that Byron forgets Colleen. Plagued with unexplained illness, fainting spells, and days of lost consciousness, Claire is prepared to do anything to keep the marriage that is her destiny intact. When she discovers emails between Byron and an unknown correspondent indicating he “has to get rid of her,” she begins to wonder if Byron is a serial wife-killer. A second narrative voice, which belongs to a woman who may be stalking Claire, raises the tension. The bombshell plot twist toward the end will surprise most readers. Laurin knows how to ratchet up the suspense. Agent: Rachel Eckstrom Courage, Folio Literary Management. (July)