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Monday, September 14, 2015

Thriller With Taut, Mind-Bending Potential Falls Flat

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Still vulnerable after the recent death of her mother, 26-year-old Bailey Browne travels to the Caribbean in an effort to soothe her grieving heart.  While there, she meets Logan Abbott, a gorgeous Tulane graduate ten years her senior.  Their whirlwind island romance feels like a dream, a fairy tale.  A few weeks later, Bailey's still caught up in the surreal wonder of it all.  Except now she's Logan's wife.  She's left her home in Nebraska, along with her working-class background, to live in his luxurious home on a sprawling horse farm in southern Louisiana.  Bailey can hardly believe her Cinderella-like luck.  

Bailey hasn't been in Wholesome—Logan's tiny hometown—long before she starts to hear the whispers.  She's so smitten with her groom that she refuses to believe the vicious gossip, rumors about what really happened to his first wife.  Sure, she's a little unnerved by the similarities between herself and True Abbott, especially their quick marriages to the same enigmatic man, but Logan can't be responsible for True's disappearance three years ago.  Or the more recent missing women.  Can he?  As the doubts creep in, Bailey realizes how foolish she's been, how little she actually knows the man who has swept her off her feet so completely.  Logan insists he, and his family, have been misjudged and falsely accused in the Wholesome court of public opinion.  Bailey wants to believe him, but can she take that risk?  Especially considering what happened to Logan's first wife?  Trapped in a difficult—possibly deadly—situation, she must decide whom to believe, before it's too late ...

Thrillers that mess with my mind, making me wonder what's real and what's not, are my favorite kind.  The First Wife by Erica Spindler had the potential to be one of these taut mind-benders (which is why I picked it up) but in the end, the novel fell flat for me.  The plot, although not super original, did offer enough twists to keep me reading.  Still, I was able to piece together what happened to True way too early, which made the rest of the book both predictable and tedious.  Coupled with the often cheesy dialogue between the two main characters and an overall depressing story line, The First Wife just didn't impress me much.  I finished it, but can't really recommend it.  Ah, well.

(Readalikes:  Nothing's coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (one F-bomb, plus milder invectives), violence and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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