The Other Widow: A Novel by Susan H. Crawford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Dorrie is embroiled in an affair with her boss, Joe, which ends abruptly one cold and snowy night when Joe picks her up. He tells her the affair is over, that "it isn't safe," and then moments after, their car skids on the ice and crashes into a tree. Joe dies at the scene, but Dorrie's airbag deploys and she makes a split moment decision to walk away from the crash (undetected). But she's haunted by that evening and Joe's death. Further, what did Joe mean that it wasn't safe? Why didn't Joe's airbag deploy like Dorrie's? Did Dorrie really see someone near the car moments after the crash?
Meanwhile, Joe's wife Karen is left reeling from his death as well. Also wrapped up in Joe's passing is insurance investigator Maggie Devlin. A former cop, Maggie is suspicious about the circumstances of Joe's death--and the women involved in his life. But can she put together the pieces of what really happened? And are Karen and Dorrie truly in danger?
This novel was interesting and suspenseful, though it didn't fully grab me. Still, I read it in about two days, so it was certainly a fast read with a captivating plot. For me, I liked Dorrie and Karen well enough, but I wasn't deeply pulled into either of their lives. Neither character was fully drawn enough for me to fully relate to them. In fact, I really liked Maggie the best, but we learn the least about her. I could almost see Maggie getting a sequel--she was a very intriguing and likable character.
Crawford's novel is well-written, but seems to suffer a little bit from "who am I" syndrome... in some ways it's a thriller, but in other ways, it's purely psychological women's fiction. As such, the mystery seems to take a backseat to the women's lives, at times, and becomes convoluted and confusing by the end. There's a backstory with Joe's business that I almost couldn't fully tell you what happened, because it's not given complete attention, even though it's supposed to propel so much of the action. That duality was tough, because the book never really focused on either the thriller aspect, or the women, and you felt like you were left hanging on both plot points by the end.
Overall, this was a quick read, with an original plot, but seemed confusing and pulled in a few directions: 3 stars.
I received an ARC of this novel from Edelweiss (thank you!); it is available for publication on 4/26/16.
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