A book review: The Serial Killer’s Wife (ARC)

TITLE: The Serial Killer’s Wife

AUTHOR: Alice Hunter

PUBLISHED: 27th May 2021

GENRE: Mystery/Thriller

MY RATING: 2.5/5

I received an eARC copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. My thanks goes to NetGalley and the publisher Avon Books UK for the opportunity to review this book.

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*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*

They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part…

I was approached by the publisher through NetGalley with an invitation to read this one, and I was so pleased because reading the synopsis I thought this book would be perfect for me. As you’ll have seen from my rating, I was wrong unfortunately. The book wasn’t bad, far from it, but it just wasn’t for me. There were bits that I did enjoy, but overall there were just too many elements along the way that were disappointing.

Usually I start with what I liked, so to switch it up a bit I’ll begin with what put me off, and this primarily was the characters. If I’m honest I actually struggled with all of them. Beth was so unlikeable, quite ‘me me me’ overall, and she really rubbed me up the wrong way. I feel as though I was supposed to sympathise with her – after all her life has just been turned upside down with her husband facing a murder charge, and yet I just really didn’t like her. I had this overwhelming sense that she just wasn’t a good person. Tom I thought was well constructed but not afforded enough time. I’m conscious of not wanting to give anything away, but let me just say I would’ve liked to have seen some more depth to him. What was presented was intriguing but not enough to explain the reasons behind the choices that he made. Tom is an integral part of the plot and yet a completely unremarkable character. The supporting characters were all pretty lacklustre also, for example I’ve forgotten the names of a couple of them already, and I’m struggling to remember anything of value which is a shame.

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There were elements of the plot that seemed a little far-fetched also. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoil anything, but whilst I’m more than willing to suspend belief for a good storyline, this book did, in places, expect too much of the reader I thought.

Now for the positives – yes there actually are some, I suspect you had lost hope at this point. I thought the smaller twist right at the end of the book was brilliant. It was unexpected and drew the storyline to a neat close. It also laid foundations for a follow up book so it will be interesting to see if the author does write another. I’m conflicted as to whether I would read a follow up, I would be keen to hopefully see a different side of Beth (one that I would enjoy), but the fear of it ending up a DNF makes me uncertain.

I also thought the writing style was great. Putting aside the issues that I mentioned above, I found the way in which Hunter writes to be compelling, and even though I was frustrated at times, the flow of the novel left me eager to keep reading.

Ultimately, I must be honest and say there are better books of this type out there. However, this one does still have enough redeeming features that I feel it will appeal to many. From what I see on NetGalley it’s generating mixed reviews at the moment, so perhaps it’ll end up one of those marmite reads. Unfortunately it just wasn’t for me.

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Now it’s your turn, what do you think about this one? Does it sound like something you would enjoy? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!

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Until the next time…Jess x

9 thoughts on “A book review: The Serial Killer’s Wife (ARC)

  1. Almost certainly not for me – intriguing, but there’s so much to read, so much bookshop and library time lost, and I started thinking of two real life crimes – the Wests – and the Shipmans – How could his wife claim to know nothing ? Alternatively, a book about someone wrongly charged – yet their local community still believe in their guilt? Maybe you saw Innocent – ITV – reviewed by Hugo Rifkind. ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Initially, it looked like something I might read but having read your review, I’m not so sure. Like they say, you can’t read a book by its cover. But from the sound of it, you liked the synopsis enough to carry on reading but it sounds like that was misleading?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To be honest, I was put off by the title, as I am a bit fed up with all these novels with a female central character who’s most important feature seems to be a relationship with a man. This trope has become quite tired now I think, and hope it will be used less often. Too bad the characterisation wasn’t great in this one also. If done well, the psychology of a serial killer can be quite compelling in a way, so it is a shame this particular one fell flat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, it is a pretty tired trope at this point. I was hoping to see a side of her outside of her role as wife, but it didn’t happen unfortunately. I agree, the psyche of a serial killer can be a fascinating read, and it could’ve been here but for some reason the author didn’t explore it at all which was so frustrating!


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