The First Wife by Erica Spindler

the-first-wifeGenre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: February 2015

Bailey Browne dreams of being swept off her feet by a handsome stranger who will save her from her ordinary life. But everyone knows those are the things of fairy tales, not real life. Then, while on vacation, Logan Abbott appears. Despite their ten-year age difference and opposite backgrounds, they are instantly drawn to each other, and Bailey begins to wonder if Prince Charmings and Knights in Shining Armor really do exist. Before long, she accepts his marriage proposal and moves to his large horse farm in Louisiana.

But not all that glitters is gold, and soon Bailey’s visions of happily ever after start to crumble. A tragic family past, a missing first wife, and rumors of women disappearing from the area all point toward her husband and the possibility that he’s not the man she thought he was. When yet another woman vanishes, Bailey is forced to choose between listening to the rumors or standing by her husband — a choice that could cost her life.

I absolutely loved Erica Spindler’s Justice For Sara, and couldn’t wait to read her latest book. Unfortunately, The First Wife didn’t live up to the caliber of the previous novel. It was intriguing, but the riveting tension found in the former, lacked from this plot, probably in part due to the fact that its characters felt more like caricatures playing a part than 3D, flesh and bone characters.

Though Bailey is sympathetic in the role of the distraught wife who discovers her new husband’s dark history, her unwavering belief in his innocence comes across more as naivety than loyalty because at the end of the day they are two virtual strangers who married after a whirlwind romance. To be honest, Logan doesn’t give her too many reasons to trust him either.

With plenty of characters with both motive and opportunity to commit the various crimes, I definitely enjoyed piecing together the mystery. While the identity of the killer didn’t come as a shock, Spindler kept me jumping from one suspect to another until the very end, even tossing a few twists along the way. The killer’s motives, however, proved anti-climactic and flimsy at best. After the constant buildup, I definitely expected more.

I did really enjoy the set up of the novel. The book opens in the middle (with Bailey in the hospital for some unknown reason), travels back in time to how everything started, making its way to the present and then continues with Bailey trying to piece together the events that landed her in the hospital and consequently leads her to the killer.

All in all, The First Wife provides an enjoyable read even if it had a lot of untapped potential.

Review copy provided by publisher. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Life is Story.

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