The campaign to free the handsome and misunderstood Dennis from a US prison has become Samantha’s life crusade and there seems to be no one discouraging her. The brakes of good sense are simply never applied and before she can blink, Samantha is married to a convicted felon, having convinced herself that she is the only one able to make such a troubled and beautiful soul truly happy. Joining up with a tv production team keen to continue the public’s fascination with the young and attractive murderer, Samantha’s new relationship is played out in real time and online to thousands of followers.
Dennis on the outside is vastly different to the man first met by Samantha when he was in prison restraints. The eyes of the world won’t be on him forever though and young Samantha feels she has proven her commitment, uprooting her whole life in the UK to support the man she has fallen for and believes innocent of the murder of a young girl. Surely it should be Samantha’s greatest wish, to be alone with the man who has given her life new direction and purpose?
THE INNOCENT WIFE plays out largely as a detached relation of one woman’s desperate need to belong and be part of something larger. It is possible to read the entirety of this book and not find a single character that you care enough about to wish a happy outcome. That’s quite a feat. Perhaps this lack of soft focus was intentional, to create a work where the reader is driven forward for reasons other than a sustained emotional investment.
Depicting without apology the train wreck that our modern culture has become, THE INNOCENT WIFE is an uneasy read of shame and loneliness. Killers are feted as visionaries, the public is relentlessly hungry for salacious content, and our constant connectivity has resulted in the plague that is social media. We are ourselves to blame for what we have become. For what we accept as normal.
The pacing of this interesting thriller prepares us for the inevitable, which is a collision somewhere soon around the corner. That feeling of voyeurism pervades throughout as Samantha attempts to validate herself with her connection to Dennis, who is both entirely and not at all what he seems. THE INNOCENT WIFE is a conceivable nightmare with nothing to cushion the inevitable fall. If you’re in the mood for some harsh lighting in your crime reading, THE INNOCENT WIFE will deliver.