“How quickly things can change. In an instant, your path can take a sharp turn and lead you somewhere you never anticipated.
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Avon in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
I never seem to be able to resist a story with a serial killer angle, and as soon as I first discovered The Serial Killer’s Wife I immediately knew I wanted to read it. I mean, having a main character that is the wife of an (until then) undiscovered serial killer? That is one hook, line and sinker kind of blurb! I’ve been excited to read it ever since it appeared on my kindle… And I kind of wonder if I simply set my expectations too high or that I was expecting a different kind of story, but unfortunately I did end up having mixed thoughts. I’ll try to explain why briefly below.
First of all I have to say that I still like the premise of The Serial Killer’s Wife. Having the story focus on a serial killer that has been able to escape justice until now as well as on his wife definitely gives this debut a fascinating angle. It was also interesting to see how the sudden involvement in the murder investigation had an impact on both characters. That said, somehow I expected more of this story? More suspense, more action or at least more focus on the crimes themselves… Instead, The Serial Killer’s Wife can be seen as a slow-paced psychological thriller that mostly focuses on Tom’s wife Beth and what happens to her. Not the story I expected to find, and I felt that the plot dragged considerably especially in the first half and only got more interesting once more details of the murder investigation were revealed. This is probably just a personal reaction though as more domestic psychological thrillers and me somehow don’t really get along lately.
That said, I also had issues with the main characters themselves. The Serial Killer’s Wife uses a multiple POV structure, where we mainly focus on Beth and Tom in the present, but also have flashbacks to eight years ago with Katie as well as other ‘mystery’ scenes. Beth seems to be the most important character and POV, as we see quite a lot of her… And the fact is: I REALLY didn’t like her. I found her to be quite self-centered and bland and the constant worrying about what others will think and how to protect Poppy really got old fast. Tom seemed a bit bland as well, and that is strange considering he is a serial killer. I just felt that he wasn’t properly developed and lacked real motivation; the whole remorse and ‘I’m innocent‘ repetitions didn’t feel credible for his character. Likewise, I wasn’t a fan of how the unreliable narrator technique was used, and the whole cheating angle was a bit of a let down for me as well.
Like I said before, the pace in The Serial Killer’s Wife is considerably slow and this story is more a character-driven domestic/psychological thriller with a serial killer angle than a full blown crime thriller. The main focus is on the wife Beth and her daily life after her husband Tom is first arrested, and while there are some twists, secrets and reveals, the story doesn’t really reveal much until well into the second half. In this case, it ment that it took me a long time to warm up to the story and it was a long haul to get to the more exciting part. The fact that I guessed part of the final twist didn’t really help either… Although if you don’t spot the signs it is quite a clever way to end the story.
As a whole, sadly I ended up having mixed thoughts, but don’t give up on The Serial Killer’s Wife on my account as most people do seem to love it. Make sure to prepare yourself for a slower paced and character-driven psychological thriller though!