Desert Isle Keeper
If you’re anything like me, you probably roll your eyes and heave a giant sigh whenever you hear a new book being called ‘the next Gone Girl’. Don’t get me wrong, Gone Girl is fantastic, as are many of the novels that are compared to it, but few of these comparisons actually ring true for me. But Dear Wife, the latest psychological thriller by author Kimberly Belle, happens to be a book that has a definite Gone Girl vibe.
Jeffrey Hardison returns from a business trip to any empty house, and at first, he thinks nothing of it. His wife Sabine is a successful real estate agent, so it’s not uncommon for her to be gone for most of the day. However, when she fails to come home that evening, he begins to worry, and when she still hasn’t shown up by the following morning, his worry turns to outright fear. Sure, he and Sabine have been having a few problems in their marriage, but the idea that she would leave him is something Jeffrey absolutely refuses to consider. Instead, he becomes convinced that something awful has happened to his wife.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, a woman known as Beth Murphy is intent on starting a new life for herself. Walking out on her old life isn’t something she decided to do on the spur of the moment; instead, it’s something she’s been planning for the past year or so. She’s determined never to go home again, so she’s had to come up with ways of keeping herself under the radar. Fortunately, Beth is an extremely intelligent woman with razor-sharp instincts who has had to learn the hard way how to keep herself safe, so it’s highly unlikely she’ll make a stupid mistake.
The story is told in alternating chapters from both Jeffrey’s and Beth’s points of view with a few chapters from the perspective of one of the detectives assigned to investigate Sabine’s disappearance thrown in for good measure. This style of story-telling might make you think you know exactly where the narrative is going, but don’t allow yourself to be deceived. Nothing is as it seems on the surface, and even the characters you’re convinced you can trust are hiding some deadly secrets that won’t be revealed until you reach the final page.
If violence is something you’d rather not encounter in your pleasure reading, Dear Wife may not be the book for you. It’s not that Ms. Belle uses graphic descriptions of physical violence all that often, but it’s clear from the very beginning of the story that certain characters are prone to violent outbursts, and the role these outbursts play in the overall plot is quite significant. I can’t say more without completely ruining the story, so proceed with caution if you think this is something you might find distressing.
There’s not much more I can say about the wondrousness that is Dear Wife without spoiling it for you. This is one of those situations where less is definitely more. So, if you love psychological suspense with mind-boggling twists, do yourself a huge favor and pick this up right away. You absolutely will not be sorry you did.