Publication Date: 16th July 2019
I do love a thriller every now and again folks! If you know me at all, you’ll know my usual favoured genre would be dark, gothic historical fiction, however sometimes a pacy thriller is the perfect antidote to all the darkness.
The Other Mrs Miller by Allison Dickson tells the story of Phoebe Miller, a reclusive wealthy woman who likes to while away her days by her swimming pool, self medicating with glass after glass of wine. Her marriage is faltering over the subject of children, Phoebe is against the idea of starting a family whereas her husband Mark is hoping to do everything in his power to persuade her otherwise.
Also, Phoebe’s high profile businessman father has become embroiled in very public controversy surrounding his conduct around women. Phoebe is rightly mortified about her father’s behaviour and the subsequent spotlight it has thrown on other areas of his life, mainly her. This is why she chooses to stay indoors, away from prying eyes.
But how safe is she behind the walls of her secure home? Just recently she has noticed a blue car parked outside her house, daily. She cannot see who the slight figure is inside the vehicle but she keeps a notebook logging the times the car arrives, how long it stays and the time it leaves.
When a new family move in across the street, Phoebe’s mind is taken off the car and it’s mysterious driver for a while. Vicki and her doctor husband Roy arrive in the neighbourhood with their son Jake and Phoebe suddenly has a reason to leave the house again. A tentative friendship with Vicki during which they share their woes surrounding their respective marriage troubles, and a clandestine relationship with Jake added to the mix.
But just why did the family choose this exact neighbourhood? Why did they have to leave their previous home so quickly? and why do they appear to have money worries? Phoebe feels that there is a lot more going on behind closed doors than Vicki cares to let on.
When an explosive event occurs, everyone’s lives are changed forever, not least the mysterious stalker who has had eyes on Phoebe all along.
I have to be entirely honest with you, as I always am. I very nearly gave up and put this book down a little way into part 2. Now don’t get me wrong, part 2 starts with an absolute jaw-dropping bang! I was NOT expecting that opening. After a fairly gentle first part, I was surprised and excited by the turn of events going into part 2. However, things took a little unbelievable turn which pushed the boundaries of credibility and I did a little eye-roll.
BUT ……here’s the thing. Despite plans being formulated which WOULD NEVER WORK IN A MILLION YEARS, I was still wholly invested in this book and desperate to see what the hell was going to happen! What did it matter if the realms of possibility were in question? I was thoroughly enjoying this book!
I even took to Goodreads to see what other folk were saying and was heartened to see that I wasn’t the only one shouting ‘Oh come on!’ It’s always nice when your thoughts are validated and you don’t feel so ‘out there’ on a limb, alone.
So the upshot of this is I continued to read the book. Of course I did. I NEEDED to know if this madcap scheme would pay off!
The other thing I felt slightly uncomfortable about was that I was finding certain parts quite lighthearted and amusing despite them featuring some really grim content……I rooted out the press information that came with the book and was relieved to see it described as ‘darkly humorous’.
HUZZAH! I wasn’t a complete sicko after all!
The front of the book does say that it is soon to be turned into a TV series and I can totally see why. I’m getting slight Fargo/Santa Clarita Diet vibes in terms of style. I hope so anyway!
I think this is a book that could potentially divide opinion but in a buzz creating way. The second part flies at a pace, with characters mistrustful of each other, trying to trip each other up and discover the truth. There is a particularly well constructed, awkward dinner party scene where the characters are all sitting around the table knowing each others dark secrets and knowing that the others know they know each others dark secrets! Crikey!
I had read some reviews which said that the ending was questionable but I really don’t agree. I thoroughly enjoyed it and think that it played out in a very satisfying way.
To sum up, I don’t think this book will be for everyone, but I would urge you to give it a try anyway. Suspend your disbelief for a wee while and just go with it!
Thank you as always to the publisher for my review copy.
See you all soon.
Amanda – Bookish Chat xx