ASA Harrison’s stunning novel, The Silent Wife, will leave you questioning your own morals, motives, and ultimately, what any person pushed too far is really capable of.
Jodi Brett is rich, beautiful, and intelligent. As a psychotherapist, she has made it her career to help others get their lives in order. As Harrison’s novel opens, the audience is shown the tragic irony of her life: Jodi is “deeply unaware that her life is now peaking…that a few short months are all it will take to make a killer of her.”
This isn’t a detective novel: we know that Jodi is going to transform into a killer from the beginning. The most thrillingly terrifying aspect of Harrison’s story isn’t who killed who or why the crime was committed: it’s the utter relatability that the reader feels for the main character. There isn’t a climactic moment in which she makes her decision: it’s a lifetime of small, but important, miscommunications. It’s the missed moments that make her decision for her. It’s the passively aggressive words that cut a bit deeper than they’re meant to. It’s the words left unsaid.
The Silent Wife is sadly both Harrison’s first and last novel. She died at the age of 65, shortly after the book’s release. It’s a story that begs to be compared to Gillian Fynn’s sensational hit, Gone Girl, and while the dark plots revolving around wronged wives are similar, the stories themselves are told in vastly different ways. Harrison’s book is cold and less dramatic in a way that makes it a frighteningly possible portrait of a marriage, of how a relationship can be pushed so far without anyone recognizing it. The story paints a picture of how murder can slowly begin to seem like the best, or terrifyingly only, option. It’s a novel that will leave you wondering, What would you do?
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