Monday, June 20, 2016
It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . . Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.
Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.
As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end. -- William Morrow
My book club read THE OTHER WIDOW by Susan Crawford this month. I mentioned last week in my meeting recap post that none of us loved the book, but that we all finished it... and that's not always the case. Personally, I thought the book was just ok. I didn't have strong feelings about it either way; however, I was surprised by the ending so that counts for something.
THE OTHER WIDOW begins with Dorrie, a married woman and mother to a young girl, is riding in a car with her boss Joe. She also happens to be having an affair with him. The weather is pretty bad and the roads are ice when Joe decides to end their relationship. A car plows into Joe's car, immediately killing Joe. (For some reason, his air bag never deployed!) Dorrie's life as she knows it would be ruined if she were found at the scene of the accident, so she decides to run away from the car to protect herself. Soon thereafter, she begins to receive calls from Joe's throw-away phone!
Dorrie doesn't exactly leave the accident without a trace. There are definitely questions involved in the accident; and Maggie Devlin, the insurance investigator and former cop, knows that something about this accident is suspicious. It's her job to get to the bottom of it before the insurance company pays out, but she is also being driven by some baggage from her past.
And finally, there's Karen, Joe's widow. Her life is turned upside down after the death of her husband. She knew that Joe was having an affair, but she is shocked to learn that Joe was also keeping secrets from her about this business. It's not enough to have to mourn her husband, but she also senses that someone is watching her every move.
I truly believe that THE OTHER WIDOW had a lot of potential. I love psychological thrillers; and this novel, which explored marriage, infidelity, and secrets, sounded fantastic. Unfortunately, there were a few things about this novel that kept it from being truly entertaining to me. I didn't love any of the characters, and I felt the plot was a little too "clunky" (that was a word one of my friends used) and predictable.... that is until the surprise ending!
Having said that, there were some things that did stand out to me about this novel. Despite not really feeling an affinity with any of the characters, I did like that the author decided to tell this story in alternating chapters between Dorrie, Maggie and Karen. Not only did it make the story interesting to have different three views of what took place, but I also thought she did a good job of making each woman's voice her own.
In addition, I really liked the surprise (or maybe I should say shocking) ending of the novel. I had a feeling that what I "thought" was going to happen was a little too obvious, but trust me when I say, that I had absolutely no idea that the novel would go "there." No one in my book club say it coming either, so I do give the author a lot of credit for being able to fool the readers.
And finally, I did feel like Maggie, the insurance adjuster, was an interesting character. She was a former member of the police but left after a serious incident. It was apparent that she was not in a good place when the novel begins and that working as an insurance adjuster wasn't fulfilling for her. It was intriguing to see how her character evolved during the investigation of Joe's death and how she finally found purpose in her life.
Overall, I think THE OTHER WIDOW was good but not great. It's a quick read with a great surprise ending. Recommended to fans of psychological thrillers!
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.