Book review: The Murderess by Ivan Jenson

This author was new to me but the premise had me intrigued, so I couldn’t wait to dive in.

30% of murders in the US go unsolved.
Becca Garner hopes her lover’s is one of them.
Because she found him.
He bequeathed her a million dollars.
She’s married.
And so is he.

It’s clear from the first page that Becca is no angel. As she puts it “Sleeping with my husband’s best friend was the wickedest thing I’d done up to this point.” Her Tinder date with a Sugar Grandpa isn’t a one-off and her behaviour can’t be blamed entirely on the drink and drugs. She’s lost count of how many men she’s slept with, and accepts she might be going mad.

“For me it was always the game.”

She is in her words “a washed-up, 39-year-old blonde”, loud and unashamed, “impulsive and manic”, the polar opposite of her calm, patient husband, Jerry. She despises the town where she lives, which is “full of young mothers and churches and zero nightlife” and embarrasses her teenage daughters by dirty-dancing in the grocery store. But what a character!

She’s easy to empathise with, partly because she’s so aware of her flaws and failings. Her daughters are always glued to their laptops, sharing jokes she can’t understand and posting glamorous, touched-up selfies on social media, and her husband is always working. She might appear superficial but as the story progresses we get hints that there’s a reason for the way she behaves.

What starts as a game takes the darkest turn when she finds the Sugar Grandpa dead in the hotel bath. How on earth is she going to get out of this situation?

You’ll have to read the book to find out. All I will say is that it’s exquisitely dark and and entertaining, and I was thoroughly caught up in it.

It’s a fresh, thrilling and unputdownable rollercoaster of a domestic suspense propelled by a fascinatingly flawed character.

I’d recommend it to fans of Gone Girl or The Woman in the Window.

The Murderess will be published by Dark Edge Press on 1 June and is available here.

My thanks to the publisher for inviting me to read an advance copy.


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