Domestic noirs always satisfy my thirst for healthy voyeurism… Don’t look at me this way, you are no better! 🤣 The Missing Wife did its job and gave me a hot shot of noir!
Huge thanks to Sabah for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this novel.
Title: The Missing Wife
Author: Sam Carrington
Date of publication: 27 June 2019
Format: physical proof
Number of pages: 400
Imagine turning up to your own party, and recognising no one. Your best friend has just created your worst nightmare.
Louisa is an exhausted, sleep-deprived new mother and, approaching her fortieth birthday, the very last thing she wants to do is celebrate.
But when her best friend Tiff organises a surprise party, inviting the entire list of Lou’s Facebook friends, she’s faced with a new source of anxiety altogether: a room full of old college classmates who she hasn’t spoken to in twenty years. And one person in particular she never expected to see again is there – her ex-boyfriend from college, the handsome and charismatic Oliver Dunmore.
When Oliver’s wife Melissa goes missing after the party, everyone remembers what happened that night differently. It could be the alcohol, but it seems more than one person has something to hide.
Louisa is determined to find the truth about what happened to Melissa. But just how far does she need to look…?
One simple Facebook invitation unfolds into something both tragic and monstrous; a story of obsessive love, breath-taking deception and masterful manipulation.
What would it take to destroy your family?
Sleep-deprived doesn’t begin to describe Louisa’s state as she faces the joys of being a mom for the second time around her forties. With a teenager in the house, a busy husband, and a little boy to take care of, she is exhausted and living one day at a time. They say late pregnancies are more common every year, but they don’t say it is easy, and with a huge gap between her two kids, Louise is struggling to meet everyone’s demands. She doesn’t get much help from her better half, Brian, glued to his phone. I quickly realised no one seemed to understand the extent of Louisa’s tiredness. Memory loss and hallucinations don’t appear out of nowhere, and I felt bad for her as she put her baby and her herself in danger. The signs were not picked up and I wished for someone to open their eyes and simply get help!
This leads me to an important detail about this book. None of the characters were really likeable. Louisa whined a lot, Brian was blind to what was happening in his house and playing games I didn’t enjoy, her best friend Tiff could not have won the BFF award. With a world that had reduced to so few faces, I thought I’d be able to connect to someone, but it never happened. Yet, it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the novel, with a detached look and an itching urge to yell ‘Can someone stop making the worst decisions ever????’
Decisions… They are the spark that lights the novel on fire. With her birthday coming up, Tiff and Brian decide to organise a surprise party. Now, you see what I mean when I say no one truly paid enough attention to see that all Louisa needed was sleep instead of having to dress up and smile an entire evening? Worse, Tiff thought it would be nice to invite Louisa’s Facebook friends, including her ex-boyfriend… What kind of best friend does that? If mine ever even just thought of doing this, I’d kick them out of my life! I’ve never met half my Facebook friends! I enjoy chatting to people, but imagine finding yourself in a room full of old acquaintances? Horror!
The uneasiness which strikes Louisa when she comes face to face with Oliver, the man who broke her heart years ago, never leaves the pages. It only grows stronger as chapters go by. When Oliver’s wife Melissa goes missing, Louisa is forced to deal with Oliver, despite having no recollection of her party night. With her previous memory loss and hints that something happened in her past that her mind won’t let her remember, I realised Louisa is one of the most unreliable characters I’ve met. She was not willingly hiding things, but I had the feeling she couldn’t be honest with herself, or even with those around her.
From then on, Louisa gets trapped in a game of deceit, lies, and appearances. Determined to get to the bottom of things and get rid of Oliver, Louisa discovers her world is not in a better shape than she is! I really enjoyed watching each character play their part in this domestic noir. Why couldn’t Louisa remember her past, or even recall falling asleep? Where was Oliver’s wife? What had happened between them? It was as if I were reading the daily paper, devouring article after article describing the life of people who could be living next to me. Circumstances make it easy for life to hang threats above our heads, and Louisa gets a deadly reminder!
Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist.