To the outside world, Beth has the perfect life: a wealthy husband, a beautiful daughter and everything money can buy. Looks can be deceiving, though, as the marriage is a far from happy one, and when she finally makes the break and leaves him, she realises just how manipulative Evan can be. Cath, on the other hand, has the complete opposite: a grotty bedsit with a violent drug addict partner who she is too scared to leave. Then one day, the two women meet, and things will never be the same again…
I wasn’t aware, before reading, that this was the third book in the Detective Dan Riley series, but please don’t be put off by this if you haven’t read the previous two. Although I have read the first, Black Heart (formerly known as Last Cry), I have not read the second, but did not feel that this hindered me in any way – if anything, I will now be going back and reading this one (The Couple on Cedar Close) as soon as possible!
I really liked the format of The Stranger’s Wife, merging police procedural with psychological thriller. Most of the book focuses on Beth and Cath, two unconnected women who have something in common due to the abuse they are experiencing at the hands of their respective partners. My heart immediately went out to Cath who is on the receiving end of horrific physical abuse and, although she is desperate to escape, fears for her life should she ever manage to do so.
Beth has found herself in a different sort of abusive relationship, and we soon discover the extent her husband, Evan, will go to to preserve the life he wants to lead. Despite the series of awful events to happen to her, I found Beth an incredibly strong and resilient woman and willed things to go right for her by the end of the book. Evan, on the other hand, had no redeeming qualities whatsoever – a truly despicable character!
Although it was obvious what was going to happen with these women, the inclusion of the police procedural element of the book made this a bit different to other books of this genre. Dan is a great character and I admired his ‘straight down the line’ stance. It’s not often that we meet a fictional detective with so much integrity and this definitely added to the tension as I wondered how he was going to wrestle with his conscience to get the result he wanted. I also liked how, although we find out some information about Dan’s personal life, it does not take over the plot which is something that can happen in similar books.
The Stranger’s Wife has a great plot and I will definitely be looking forward to seeing what Dan investigates next!
With thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for my copy.