It’s good to be back! I’ve been away for a few days while I descended into the chaos and mayhem of moving house. I can now understand why normal people hire removals and don’t do it all themselves. I now have room for bookshelves and books no longer need to act as furniture. Although, having said that, my books, like everything else I own, are all hiding in unreachable and unlabelled boxes at the moment. On with a review! The first in my new house.
The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter
Avon | 2021 (27 May) | 400p | Review copy | Buy the book
Beth Hardcastle is a contented woman. She has the perfect life. She has a loving husband in Tom, a beautiful daughter in Poppy and she has her dream job of running a ceramics cafe. She is a valued member of a small community, even thinking of starting up a book club. And then the evening arrives when the police come calling and Tom is absent. They want to speak to Tom in connection with the murder of a former girlfriend who went missing years ago. Beth. When they ask her where Tom is, it’s an easy question to answer. He will be in the office where he often works late. But is he?
The Serial Killer’s Wife has a great premise and is a fun read as we follow Beth Hardcastle’s struggle to face a situation which is entirely out of her control, all under the noses of an enthralled community. The author explores the public and private worlds of a couple, who are now greatly at odds as secrets very slowly emerge. We, the readers, are spectators as Beth attempts to adjust while trying to protect her daughter. There are many questions as the world comes to know Beth as a serial killer’s wife.
I think there are pacing issues with the novel. It takes a fair bit of time to find out why the novel has the title it has and it does get rather bogged down in Beth’s obsession with what the other mums will think of her. In fact, that seems to bother her more than the fact that her husband may be a homicidal maniac. This does make her an unsympathetic character, along with most people in the novel, but this is one of those books where that doesn’t matter. We’re not reading this book to like Beth or Tom but to find out what’s going on.
There are also chapters which go back in time and are from the point of view of the missing former girlfriend. I’m not sure these are entirely successful. There are also some very unsavoury scenes but that’s probably just me being prudish! The chapters from Tom’s point of view are, in my opinion, the best in the book.
The Serial Killer’s Wife is a fast and entertaining read, which reminds us that sometimes you think you know someone and maybe you don’t after all.