The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft
Publishing Date: 25th January 2018
Source: Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 320
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Suspense
WIFE. MISTRESS. MURDERER.
If you were being framed for murder, how far would you go to clear your name?
The debut psychological thriller that reads as Apple Tree Yard meets Behind Closed Doors, by way of Double Jeopardy.
I’m not guilty of murder.
Bethany Reston is happily married. But she’s also having an affair with a famous client.
And no one can ever know.
But that doesn’t make me innocent.
When Bethany’s lover is brutally murdered, she has to hide her grief from everyone.
But someone knows her secret. And then one day the threats begin.
With an ever-growing pile of evidence pointing to her as the murderer, the only way she can protect her secrets is to prove her innocence. And that means tracking down a killer.
An incredibly taut, tense game of cat and mouse – with a twist you’ll never see coming.
In “The Guilty Wife” we meet Bethany Reston. She has a very happy marriage and she loves her husband Jason but she also loves her lover, a married millionaire businessman Calum. Bethany also runs her own business, she’s a photographer, and is doing rather well, and this is how she got to know Calum – through work. Bethany loves both men and she’s torn, she doesn’t want to hurt Jason, and Calum… well, he isn’t planning on leaving his wife, they lead an open marriage and it satisfies both him and his wife. But then Calum is stabbed to death and here is when Bethany’s trauma starts – she knows she’d be a primes suspect as his mistress when this knowledge comes to light, so she decides to hide away from the police. For how long? And who has really killed Calum? And why?
There were not many characters introduced to us in this story but thanks to that we were able to know them better and it made the whole novel even more gripping as we knew that the killer is among them. They were unreliable and good liars and you could trust no one. The whole story was told from Bethany’s point of view and yes, a few times it crossed my mind that maybe she IS the killer, and is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. She spends the whole story trying to prove her innocence and well, I think it’s impossible to not to fell for her at some point, even though she was a little egoistic liar and full of herself. I don’t think she has brought this all upon herself by having the affair, though of course I am not justifying the affair, it was obvious she’s being framed and honestly this knowledge awoke all kind of emotions in me – I was angry on her behalf, scared, furious… you name it, I probably felt it. And then this final twist… Urgh, guys…! SO ANNOYING!
It was fascinating to watch how the web around Bethany is closing and how she can’t trust anybody. As she knows she’s innocent, she tries to investigate on her own and starts to suspect everybody closest to her and those who were around Calum. I really didn’t know whom to trust as well, to be honest. It looked as if her life started to spiral out of control by itself, and there were things happening, such as dead flowers, photographs or items being left in her house without forced entry, her hacked social media accounts and it was not a wonder that Bethany was feeling paranoid – in my opinion she was really strong and remained sane for all the time, while I would probably break apart in the first second. The killer knew everything about her, and the only comfort is the love and support of her husband and her best friend Alex.
Altogether “The Guilty Wife” was a relative slow – burner but there was tension and mystery and the author has delivered a truly great psychological thriller. And this end, guys. This end. I can’t remember a story that would make me complain so loud as this one, and honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it. Such a case of duplicity… There were not many characters in this story so the suspects pool was narrowed, and the author kept hinting or messing and I really didn’t know, till the very end, who and – most importantly – why. But I’ll be honest with you, I’m not so sure about this end. It didn’t sit with me. I know, it’s controversial and thought – provoking and I so appreciate that Elle Croft didn’t chose the easiest path here but still, I think I personally would be more happy with a different end. Nevertheless, there were so many situations when the author took the story in unexpected directions. There were some – but not much – plot holes and there were moments that the book jumped quickly in times when we didn’t know what has happened in between (it was not significant, we didn’t have to know this, it’s just my own likes and dislikes and I just don’t like such jumping in time) but overall it was an original, unique and fresh read. “The Guilty Wife” was a compelling and gripping novel and I desperately wanted to know the outcome. The plot was complex and tightly woven and the author has messed with my mind all the time. Sure, the real culprit crossed my mind, I though about them but I still didn’t know about their motivations so it really took me by surprise. Recommended!