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Review: It's Always the Husband

Review: It's Always the Husband

I’m a fan of stories that center around people, women in particular, who share the bond of school years spent together in a setting of privilege (whether that be high school or college) who then have to navigate life and what those friendships look like as adults. Maybe it’s because as an adult I’m surprised by what I different person I am from the person I was in school, or because this kind of narrative provides a fertile starting point for some nefarious plotting.

Publisher’s Description “It’s Always the Husband”:
Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

I started reading this book on a plane, while having a plugged ears from a cold, and this did a great job of distracting me from my discomfort. 

None of the main characters in the book are particularly likeable, but their desperate wants and needs are so sharp and vulnerable that I couldn’t help but root for them even as I shook my head at their terrible decisions.

As you read the first half of the book you’re wondering which of the ladies in the story is going to end up dead. Once you learn who the victim is, you’ll spend the rest of the book trying to piece together who’s guilty of the crime, assuming there is one (the possibility of suicide is a subplot of a lot of the story.)

As you learn more and more about Kate, Aubrey, Jenny, and their families and friends it quickly becomes clear that almost everyone is guilty of something shameful, and it’s that guilt that is often more powerful in keeping people bonded than any time at school together.

I’ll admit to being a reader who likes some revenge, and I enjoyed when one of the characters was trying to decide if she could plot a murder without getting caught- thinking about homicidal possibilities while doing mundane things. As a writer, a reader, and just a curious person, there have been more than a few times I’m glad people can’t read my mind as I ponder strange things! And for some reason this made this character's experience all the more entertaining for me.

(Mild spoiler)

The only aspect of the story that felt just a little off to me was the Chief of Police, who allowed a single evening with the victim to color his entire investigation. I understand why it helped the ultimate untangling of some of the aspects of the “whodunnit,” but it was borderline implausible in mind. Maybe I just get annoyed by yet another man who is so dazzled by female beauty that he puts aside common sense and justice. I'm beyond disappointed in the idea of that happening in real life. 

That aside, this was a fun ride, one that kept me guessing, and by time I was certain I had this case buttoned up, things got turned upside down once more- which is always a fun thrill.

Have you read “It’s Always the Husband?” What did you think?
Any other summer thrillers you’d recommend?

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