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Tuesday 14 February 2017

‘Her Husband's Lover’ by Julia Crouch.

Published by Headline,
26 January 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-67220-667-1 (TPB)

How far would you go if you suspected your husband was having an affair?

Her Husband's Lover tells the story of a complicated love triangle, of Louisa and Sophie - the wronged wife and the mistress and Sam, the husband.

The book opens with an horrific car accident in which Sam is killed. Louisa’s two children are also victims of the crash. Months later, Louisa is recovering and wants to make a fresh start.

Sam said she would never get away from him, that he would hound her to death if she tried to get away from him. Louisa never thought he would want to harm the children though. Then again, she never thought he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.

And now Sophie is desperate for revenge. She wants to take what Louisa has left. She wants to destroy Louisa’s reputation and take what she thinks is owed to her - the life she would have had if Sam had lived, the life she feels she was entitled to.

My, what a twisty-turny and addictive psychological thriller this is from the author who is credited with first using the phrase Domestic Noir for this sub-genre of psychological thrillers.

The story goes back and forth between the points of view of Louisa, Sophie, and occasionally Adam, Louisa’s new boyfriend. But Louisa suffers from memory-loss from the accident, so we can't rely on her version of events, and Sophie is portrayed as a vengeful ex-addict and a shallow former model. So who can we trust? Can we trust either of them? Nothing is as it seems. The action weaves past with present and gradually as their lives unfold, the layers of the characters are peeled away and we begin to find out what each of them thinks and why they act the way they do. And then there is that explosive ending...

Julia Crouch's writing is strong and well-paced, and she is excellent at making sure we don't know where the truth lies. The screwed-up minds of Louisa and Sophie are portrayed with great skill and as readers our emotions and sympathies are buffeted to and fro in this wonderfully dark thriller.

Her Husband's Lover is a cut above many of the psychological thrillers out there, and I can't wait for her next.
Reviewer: Mary-Jane Riley

Julia Crouch grew up in Cambridge and studied Drama at Bristol University. She spent ten years working as a theatre director and playwright, then, after a spell of teaching, she became a successful graphic and website designer, a career she followed for another decade while raising her three children. An MA in sequential illustration re-awoke her love of narrative and a couple of Open University creative writing courses brought it to the fore. Cuckoo, her first novel, emerged as a very rough draft during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2008. A year's editing got it ready for submission to an agent and within a couple of months she had a book deal with Headline and had given up the day job. Every Vow You Break, her second novel, was published in March 2012, Tarnished, her third, came out in 2013, followed by Every Vow You Break in 2014 and Her Husband's Lover in 2017. She is also published in Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Brazil and China. Unable to find a sub-genre of crime writing that neatly described her work, she came up with the term Domestic Noir, which is now widely accepted as the label for one of the most popular crime genres today. She has even written a foreword to a book of academic essays on the subject. She works in a shed at the bottom of the Brighton house she shares with her husband, the actor and playwright Tim Crouch, their three children.

Mary-Jane Riley wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades.
Then, in true journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message across using their life stories. Now she is writing psychological suspense, drawing on her experiences in journalism.
The Bad Things by Mary-Jane Riley was published by Harper Collins/Killer Reads. Her second book, After She Fell, also published by Killer Reads, is out on April 28th.

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