The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane

The Replacement WifeThe Replacement Wife by Darby Kane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Elisa is suffering from the trauma of a workplace shooting a few months ago. She suffers from dizziness and nausea. The author does everything he can to make us consider her the now-trendy-in-novels “unreliable narrator.” She is convinced that her brother-in-law Josh killed his first wife and probably his second, Abby, who is now missing. Josh insists Abby left him. Her husband, Harris, takes Josh’s side and tells Elisa she needs therapy. Then we find out there was yet another wife for Josh before the “first” one. That’s the set-up.

Is she paranoid? I won’t spoil it. Elisa does some illogical things and clearly isn’t thinking straight, but she is frustrated at Harris’s disloyalty to her and is convinced she being gaslighted by Josh. Oh, yes, gaslighting is another trendy shtick in thrillers, especially in these dime-a-dozen unreliable narrator books. The author uses a lot of tricks to stretch things out, like Elisa getting interrupted every time she’s on the brink of something – reading a key text or telling Harris about a key incident. The reader is kept waiting so often you’ll be tempted to just skip to the last chapter to see how it all comes out.

The writing is fluid enough, even if it uses a lot of cheap tricks, and the plot no worse than others that came before it and which it shamelessly copies. It passed the time well enough that I can squeeze out three stars, although I can’t really recommend it.

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