Women protagonists are becoming more and more common these days in thrillers, proof of which is three new thrillers at The Field Library, all of which turn on women’s secrets, in very different ways.
Dear Wife, by Kimberly Bell, takes two familiar tropes and brings them together to create suspense. The one trope is the abused woman leaving her husband and changing her identity; in this case, it’s Beth Murphy, who has been planning her escape for a year, working out all the details of her new life before she actually leaves her abusive husband. The most important thing in the world for her is to make sure he can’t possibly find her. On the other end of the spectrum is Sabine Hardison, who just disappears altogether while her husband is away on a business trip. The police investigating the matter find only her abandoned car, and some signs of possible foul play, but as they dig deeper, more secrets emerge: evidence there could have been trouble between the husband and wife, and the suggestion that he might be better off without her. What actually happened to Sabine, and what does her disappearance have to do with Beth’s escape? The two women are more closely connected than they seem at first, and the truth will out, no matter who wants to keep it secret.
Rachel Gaston, the protagonist of Lisa Jackson’s new book, Paranoid, is in a different situation. When she was a teenager, she shot her half brother to death. It was an accident, she insisted; someone had changed the air gun she thought she was carrying that night for a real weapon and she didn’t realize it until after she’d shot it at Luke when he surprised her. She didn’t mean to kill him, but his death and her role in it has haunted her ever since, ruining her marriage and filling her nights with nightmares. Now she’s approaching her high school reunion, and naturally she finds herself remembering Luke’s death, but also noticing other strange things around her: objects being moved when she’s not looking, strange cologne wafting through the air, the feeling of being watched, her car being tailed. Is she losing it? Or is the person who was really responsible for Luke’s death still around, still killing, keeping track of her for sinister reasons of his or her own?
Kelley Armstrong’s new thriller, Wherever She Goes, starts with a bang, figuratively: single mother Aubrey Finch sees a little boy being taken away from a public playground against his will. Like any good citizen, she reports this to the police, expecting an immediate response. Instead, she’s met with skepticism: the child’s mother can’t be found, there was no report of any missing child, and kidnappings are the sorts of crimes people report immediately. People start wondering about Aubrey herself, why she’s insisting on this kidnapping that doesn’t seem to have happened. She is, after all, a stay at home mother who’s lost custody of her child, which indicates to most people that there must be something seriously wrong with her, and she herself knows she has secrets she’s been keeping from everyone around her, including those nearest and dearest to her. She’s sure about what she witnessed, and she realizes she’s the only person who has any chance of saving that child, but can she act as she should, considering all the skeletons in her closet which could come out and destroy her?
Disappearing women, accidental killers, kidnappings that might or might not be: take your pick and check out the new thrillers while they’re hot.