Tuesday, November 14, 2023

My Wife is Missing

My Wife is Missing
  My Wife is Missing
Author:  DJ Palmer
Publication Information:  St. Martin's Press. 2022. 384 pages.
ISBN:  1250267889 / 978-1250267887

Rating:  ★★★

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "As Michael Hart rounded the corner to his hotel room, he saw a small, lifeless shape lying on the floor of the hallway."

Favorite Quote:  "She was the one person her children depended on to keep them safe. What if her instincts couldn't be trusted?"

Natalie and the children disappear on the first evening of a family trip to the city. Michael does not know what has happened. Natalie has suffered from insomnia for a while. Perhaps that is the cause. Perhaps, something terrible has happened. What if something terrible does happen?

So begins this thriller based on marital trust and distrust. Turns out Natalie has not gone missing. Nothing terrible has happened to Natalie. Natalie has taken her two young children and run away.

Why? That question is the crux of this book for both Natalie and Michael. It is also the subject of the investigation. The investigator thinks he knows why, but does he? Are his suppositions and conclusions correct?

Everyone has secrets - Natalie, Michael, the investigator, the victim, the friend. Everyone! The secrets from the past and the present all collide together in a dramatic conclusion. Getting there is an entertaining read.

The book is narrated from the alternating perspectives of Natalie and Michael. Neither one is a reliable narrator. Natalie may not may not suffer from delusions due to her insomnia. What she believes may or may not be true. Michael may or may not have secrets he wishes to keep hidden - from the distant past and the near past.

In the present lies the disappearance of a family and the death of a young woman. In the past is the unsolved murder of another young woman.

Some concerns about the believability of the plot. Natalie's insomnia, her logic, and the resulting conclusions she reaches are ... well ... a reach. Her outlook at the end also seems rather sudden. The dramatic ending about the past seems to emerge with no real relevance to the present. The solution to the mystery of the present is less surprising. The book keeps you guessing, but, with a rather small cast of characters, there are only so many choices. 

The book does attempt to add some additional mystery by the multiple timelines - after Natalie runs, the months and days leading up to Natalie's escape, and times from Michael's past which seem to contribute to his current predicament.  The final few chapters tie the pieces together. However, the lead up of the rest of the book does get repetitious in Natalie's worries, Michael's angst, and the hardcore detective's detections. For that reason, the book also seems long at times.

Suspending disbelief, the book provides quickly read, albeit forgettable, entertainment.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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