WOW! J.A. Schneider has done it again – another psychological thriller I couldn’t put down!
Beth Kemp is a writer living in NYC with her husband, Brad, an attorney-turned-writer. They haven’t been married long and, unfortunately, the relationship is beginning to sour. Brad, whose novels were successful when they met, is having a bad patch – his last two books tanked. Beth, unhappy and fed up with his moody, sullen behavior decides that she’ll give the marriage just one more chance. She and Brad also share the same literary agent, Annie, but while Beth is happy with that relationship, Brad wants to terminate his contract. The tension between the couple is almost palpable. In an attempt to placate Brad, Beth asks him to join her and Annie for drinks, but he declines.
On her way to meet Annie, Beth witnesses the unfortunate death of a homeless man and that triggers an asthmatic attack to which she almost succumbs, finding her inhaler just in the nick of time. She pulls herself together and meets with Annie, who is also having marital problems.
Later that evening, Beth finds out that Annie was shot on her way home by an unknown assailant dressed in black, wearing a mask. The motive is believed to be robbery. This is not the first tragedy to befall Beth – her famous-writer father was also a murder victim. Both of these crimes remain unsolved.
Thus, begins Beth’s descent into what seems to be a web of paranoia. On the evening of Annie’s death, Beth finds a shard of glass in a just-laundered article of clothing. Is it a sliver from the windshield of Annie’s car? And, if it is, how did it get into their laundry? It was Brad who started the load. Did he have something to do with Annie’s murder? The logical killer would be Tyler, Annie’s husband, but he has an alibi. Maybe Brad killed Annie for Tyler? And, if he did, what will Tyler do in return?
The questions abound as Beth tries to reconcile her fears with reality and common sense. Always in the background is her asthma and the knowledge that an attack could prove fatal. The couple decide to leave NY and go to Sheffield, CT house-hunting where Beth discovers the realtor, Cori, is a woman from Brad’s past. Brad also knows her now husband, Peter, and Beth starts thinking of Brad, Tyler, and Peter as “the boys club” – all men with wealthy wives they’d like to be rid of. But does this assumption have roots in reality or is it just a figment of Beth’s over-active imagination?
The Wife List is a fast-paced, hard-to-put-down read. The pages just flew by as I wondered whether Beth’s musing were symptoms of paranoia or if she were seeing something everyone else was simply blind to. This is not my first J.A. Schneider novel (Cry to Me; Girl Watching You) and, like the others, it did not disappoint. The Wife List is highly recommended for lovers of psychological thrillers, mysteries, and high suspense. An absolute page-turner. Loved every minute of it! It would make one terrific movie!