Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting.

We get two different points of view on Samatha Downing’s debut thriller, My Lovely Wife. On one hand we have Jed, who approaches the story with a sharp eye and digs through it for horror beyond what the premise offers; and on the other we have Jody, a thriller-newbie who wouldn’t go near murder stories before, but is now willing to dip her toes in the genre. Read their thoughts below.

An Unusual Couple

Jed says: There really are no admirable characters in My Lovely Wife in the traditional sense. The main character is petty and inconsistent and unfaithful to his wife Millicent. She, in turn, is a manipulative control freak who can amplify the slightest breach of trust into an armageddon of biblical proportions.

Jody says: We meet the husband, [a man] who loves his wife dearly—always eager to please her, and afraid to anger her. He works as a tennis teacher for the wealthy residents of their town and tries his best to be a good dad. His wife Millicent, on the other hand, is the picture of a strong independent woman. She lays down the law at home while working day in and out to help provide for her family as a real estate agent.

Beyond the Horror

Jed says: Killing people is a shocking topic, but the most disturbing things are the horrors that hit closer to home: paranoia, domestic abuse, suicide, and the indifferent, unstoppable force that is modern media. My Lovely Wife quietly flips a switch partway into its story and shifts the focus from smug would-be serial killers to an intimate examination of how the community reacts to the murders.

Jody says: Apart from a chilling suspense, the novel is a clear picture of the husband’s psychological meanderings. Downing gives insight into a man who finds pleasure in killing, but also struggles to be a good father to his children. It’s this internal struggle that I find most intriguing about the book. We’re made to ask what exactly makes a person “evil” or “good” and examine how people deal with these two opposing but integral parts of what make us human.

The Verdict

Jed says: Despite some clichéd elements, it’s still a worthwhile read. My Lovely Wife is worth the attention of horror and thriller fans alike for the unique experience of seeing this strange, low-key societal breakdown through the eyes of characters who simply and truly deserve the worst of what they’ve got coming to them.

Jody says: For readers into exciting books filled with suspense, this psychological thriller is definitely worth your time. It’s a novel that keeps you guessing and wondering what’s lying in wait for you (dead body, sensual kiss, missing person, eye drops, bloody knife) after you turn the next page.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing is available at Fully Booked branches and Fully Booked Online.

Jed has worked as an animator, web designer, and college instructor, but he continues to dream of writing for a living.
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Jody is currently an undergraduate student taking up Education and is discovering everyday the greatest bits about reading and learning that fuel our thinking.
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[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]

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