1. The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison
“Distance doesn’t separate people, silence does.” This quote by Jeff Hood perfectly recapitulates this dark, psychological thriller about a broken marriage told by disillusioned spouses in alternating chapters. Does this sound familiar? I could be writing a synopsis for the number one bestselling thriller, “Gone Girl”. If years later you’re still recovering (or reeling) from the thorny ride that “Gone Girl” took you on, or you are hankering for a similar slice of drama, then you will welcome the slow, methodical approach that “The Silent Wife” narrative provides. The magic of this novel is the terrifyingly plausible plot. Where “Gone Girl” offers you plot twists akin to fireworks going off on the 4th of July, “The Silent Wife” keeps things a bit more contained – like watching a toaster, just waiting for it to pop, and when it finally does, your heart skips a beat. However, with these differences aside, “The Silent Wife” is every bit as good as “Gone Girl”.
The story unfolds with an introduction to Jodi, a beautiful 45-year old Chicagoan who lives in a desirable condo with Todd, her common-law husband of over 30 years. The childless couple shows us, as the reader, the demise of a seemingly perfect relationship, told by both sides of the ill-fated union. The author’s use of language is elegant and precise. The character development is complex and compelling, and if this novel serves as anything, it would be a cautionary tale for couples who never share how they feel but assume the other one should miraculously know.
2. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Her debut thriller was a phenomenon, which then translated into a scintillating film starring Emily Blunt. Naturally, after this first-time success, the expectations for Paula Hawkins’ second novel were set high. “Into the Water” is undoubtedly the most eagerly awaited novel of the year. The opening of “Into the Water” is shocking and offers you high hopes for what is to come. However, ‘the water’ which we’re submerging ourselves into is murky and muddled. The story is narrated by eleven separate voices and by the fourth page, I was left feeling frustrated and unsure of where the story was going. This ultimately became a three-ring circus of characters and plots twisted into a pretzel of befuddlement. The novel is set in an English village, where a riverbank cliff and the “drowning pool” beneath make for a popular suicide spot. Is there some kind of curse hanging over the fairer sex in this northern England town? What exactly is happening?