Book Title: The Innocent Wife
Author: Amy Lloyd
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction
Pub Date: 10/06/17
Twenty years ago Dennis Danson was arrested for the brutal murder of Holly Michaels in Florida’s Red River County. Now he’s the subject of a Making a Murderer-style true crime documentary that’s taking the world by storm – the filmmakers are whipping up a frenzy of coverage to uncover the truth and free the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice.
Samantha may be thousands of miles away in Britain, but she is as invested in Dennis’s case as any of his lawyers. Perhaps even more so, as her letters to the convicted killer grow ever more intimate. Soon she is leaving her life behind to marry Danson and campaign, as his wife, for his release.
But when the campaign is successful, and Dennis is freed, events begin to suggest that he may not be so innocent after all. How many girls went missing in Red River, and what does Dennis really know?
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t jump on this blog tour because of the hype I’ve seen surrounding this book; The Innocent Wife has pretty much taken over my Goodreads and Twitter feeds, and for good reason. Bloggers have been finding this story addictive, compulsive, and twisted-all reasons that made me want to pick this one up. This new collection of crime fiction novels that are formatted as documentaries (or mock-umentaries) are extremely popular and it is a format I have become rather fond of, which is how I knew I’d enjoy this story before even picking it up. It gave me some serious Ted Bundy vibes as we have a young, handsome man accused of murder on Florida death row who develops a relationship with a meek schoolteacher in England, and we all know that Ted Bundy married his wife while imprisoned as well. After the initial part of the story though is where our similarities end.
You. Yes you. Come a little closer; I need to tell you a secret. I love reading about dysfunctional relationships. Ok, so that’s not really a secret, but I almost felt a little weirded out by how into Sam and Dennis’s initial, budding relationship I was. There was the subtle, sexy appeal to the desperation behind their attraction and I ate it up.
There, I said it out loud and now you can judge away! But seriously, this was a fantastic portrayal of how one person can slowly tighten their grip of control over another. These types of monsters prey on those with low self esteem, the lonely, and the isolated. Between this aspect unfolding and the back and forth of Dennis’s past and his and Sam’s future, I was HOOKED. I could not get enough I tell you!
The only minor issue I had with this one was in the conclusion. I don’t want to give out any spoilers so I’ll keep this vague, but the entire course of the book was a slow and steady building suspense, so when the final 15 pages were jammed packed with explosive action it felt a bit rushed and off. It was exciting, no doubt, but I did feel it was a bit unrealistic, so those who are bothered by those endings may not find this as enjoyable as I did. Other than that, this book was perfection. Highly recommended to those who enjoy shows such as Mindhunter and Making A Murderer on Netflix; this definitely filled that need in myself and I can’t wait to see what else Ms. Lloyd conjures up in her writing.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.