Title: “The Marriage Lie”
Author: Kimberly Belle
Genre: Psychological thriller, domestic suspense
Publication Date: Dec. 27, 2016 (Mira)
My Rating: ★★★★☆
I was counting down the days until I could get my hands on this one — it’s everything I want in a plot. We meet Iris, a 30-something in Atlanta, and her devoted husband Will the morning after their seventh wedding anniversary, as he gives her a too-expensive-for-them Cartier infinity ring — three colors, for her, him and the baby they just started working on creating. (“Give me a little girl who looks just like you.”)
One last romp and Will is off to the airport to catch a flight to too-hot Orlando, where he’s the keynote speaker at a tech conference. (This guy’s good. He thumbs through the Weather app on his phone and whines about the Florida temperatures before heading out.) A few hours later, a plane crashes en route to Seattle from Atlanta. Have you guessed where this is going? Correct: Iris gets the call that Will was aboard the plane to Seattle and is among the crash’s victims.
The new widow’s grief, of course, is compounded by the fact that Will wasn’t going where he said he was going. Some quick digging and she learns that the conference, for which he produced a convincing flyer, never existed, and he told his office the two were off to a Mexican vacation. As Iris slides into deep investigating-while-mourning mode, the lies are revealed fast, knocking her over again and again as she realizes her husband was virtually a stranger.
Iris’ twin brother, Dave, a sassy gay man, lights up the scenes as the two travel to Seattle to find Will’s “something else.” The two have a great dynamic and realistic banter. (He goes home and isn’t a big part of the final section of the book, and I missed him.) Another character highlight: Evan, a well-known defense attorney who lost his wife and baby daughter in the plane crash. Iris turns to Evan for help, and you find yourself rooting for the two to turn into much more than a legal/friend-to-friend connection. (I reached Down With Will-ville much earlier than Iris.)
It’s a compelling, twisty ride, and you won’t want to put it down as Iris uncovers Will’s layers of deception. The ending is satisfying, too; all storylines wrap up nicely. It’s not a book you read for the writing (it’s just fine, but not anything special) — it’s a book you read entirely for the plot. And sometimes, there’s no need for more. Enjoy!