Wednesday, June 10, 2020

{I've Been Reading} The Happy Couple

The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

I went into this domestic thriller without any information other than what was on the cover and, as much as I try to avoid spoilers, it's going to be impossible to tell you about this book and my reaction to it without mentioning one huge thing that's already in most of the other reviews.

If you don't want that element revealed, go ahead and skip down to the next cover image or to another post. Somehow this book manages to be a domestic thriller with all off the usual trappings and something else entirely.

Abbie, who was in a terrible accident five years ago and just woke up with gaping holes in her memory, is a robot. Her tech genius husband has developed an artificial intelligence, fed it with all of the real Abbie's social media posts and texts and re-created his wife with a few holes in her encyclopedic knowledge. Some fill themselves in as her mind reaches out to the cloud for answers. Others remain stubbornly empty, like the details of how the real Abbie died.

I struggled with this one at first because Abbie wasn't actually Abbie. I can get attached to fictional characters, but apparently not if they're machines pretending to be someone else. The chapters alternate between the new Abbie in the present and the first days of flesh and blood Abbie's relationship with her husband, all of it told in second person. It took a couple of chapters, but before long I was completely caught up in it. The robot isn't the same as the woman, but that works because she's a separate being with her own fears and problems.

I'm very glad I read it even though something at the climax left me completely and utterly confused.

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

This is another one where the book's description didn't give me any idea what I was in for. A reclusive novelist has been missing for a year, presumed dead. Her heirs are instructed to go to her house and read her last manuscript. In its pages, they'll find the password they need to claim their inheritance. It's told in second person, which works because the author is speaking to her niece and nephew, predicting their movements and reactions.

This has to be one of the darkest domestic thrillers I've ever read, even when it's only hinting at what might have really happened behind the events the narrator describes. Like Little Darlings, it includes a fantasy element that may or may not be real. This time, I don't want to think too hard about what the real events behind the narrator's supernatural explanation might be because it's just too uncomfortable. I loved the book and I highly recommend it, but only if you're in the mood for something dark and emotionally challenging.

The Happy Couple by Samantha Hayes

Jo's husband has been missing for a year. He left the house one morning and was just gone without a trace. Except for the fact that Jo keeps seeing visions of him everywhere and having conversations with him. She's definitely an unreliable narrator and doesn't let us in on the fact that there actually is a reason Will might have run off until well into the book. It's hinted at on the back cover, but I almost never reread the description before starting the book.

After a friend convinces her that she needs to get away for a while and signs her up for a house sitting service, Jo sees a listing with pictures of her missing husband on the mantle. There's no question that the pictures are of Will. She took them herself.

The plot of this one twists and turns and despite a hard to accept coincidence or two, it was pretty entertaining.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

Nice mix of reads! always makes for interesting reading.


Related Posts with Thumbnails