Monday, January 22, 2018

A love letter to Alafair Burke, author of The Wife

Dear Alafair,

I am so excited The Wife is making its way into the world this week. It was one of my favorite books of 2017, and I've been impatiently waiting to talk about it since I read it over Thanksgiving.

You're in my Hall of Fame, and I've read and enjoyed all of your books, from the Samantha Kincaid series to the Ellie Hatcher series, all of the standalones, and even the Under Suspicion series you write with Mary Higgins Clark. But, let's be honest, the books you write yourself are the best. And The WIfe is your best book yet.

Not only is The Wife your best book yet, it's unbelievably timely. The titular wife, Angela, finds herself in a situation that has become all-too-familiar in recent months: her husband, Jason, an NYU economist who has found relative fame after a book that helped launch a media career, is accused of sexual harassment by an intern. Soon, an allegation of rape from a colleague follows. This novel offers sobering, and often depressing, context about the legal nature of sexual harassment claims:
"So is there no way to prove such a thing?" she asked, her voice jumping an octave. "Instead of pulling back, I should have waited until he raped me so I'd have scientific evidence?'
Corinne had to admit, the woman had a point. In a world where DNA evidence could make or break a case, sex offenders could grab and grope and grind and gratify, as long as they didn't leave behind physical evidence.
It makes perfect sense, of course, but it provides such essential context to the stream of accusations and the #metoo movement. Of course it has to happen publicly and collectively; there is no real legal recourse.

Aside from the astute political and legal exploration of sexual harassment, this book is a bona fide thriller. On the surface, the mystery is deceptively simple: did Jason do it or didn't he? Of course, it's not that simple, and I loved seeing this story unfold through the eyes of so many dynamic (and mostly female) characters.

Alafair, I love this book for so many reasons. I read it compulsively in a day. It made me think about politics, sexual harassment, power, crime, loyalty, and honesty. I read to not only find out what happened but how. I read to discover the hidden secrets and to see when and how the other characters would learn what the reader knows. Through all that, you did what few authors can pull off: an epic twist when I didn't think there were any more twists to come. You flipped this book on its head in the most satisfying way, and it left me breathless with my mouth agape. That's not hyperbole: as I finished this book in the presence of my spouse, brother, and sister-in-law on the night before Thanksgiving, they all said, "so I guess you would recommend this book to all of us?" Emphatically yes. And also to everyone else.

Happy publication week, Alafair. I'll be doing all I can to spread the word about The Wife.


Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 352 pages
Publication date: January 23, 2018
Source: publisher

Want to read for yourself? Buy The Wife from Amazon (Kindle edition.) Xe Sands, one of my favorite narrators, narrates the audiobook.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

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