A married mother of three young children enjoys a state of domestic bliss until she begins to suspect her husband is trying to poison her in Niederhoffer's (Love and Happiness, 2013, etc.) latest.
Cass Connor, 40, a college journalism professor, has survived the death of her first husband, who was the father of her two oldest children, Alice and Pete. Cass is now remarried to Ryan, an architect and the father of her third child, Sam. The family lives in a two-story, four-bedroom Victorian home near Seattle. It's clear early on that Cass is addicted to her sexy husband, who likes to fall asleep to the "sporadic moans and shrieks" of violent zombie film clips. Cass forgives Ryan for all sorts of minor transgressions, but she soon begins to suspect that he's being unfaithful. She makes excuses for his manipulative and abusive behavior and overlooks his stated fantasies about killing her—but when she becomes ill, she starts to think his fantasies may be more than mere words. As her sicknesses pile up, it's not clear whether she's crazy or right to suspect Ryan. A too-perfect-to-be-true nanny, too-friendly-to-be-genuine neighbor, and assorted disbelieving attorneys, doctors, and police officers add to the creepy twists and turns. Apart from her obsessive passion for Ryan, Cass is a strong, take-charge sort of woman who's protective of her three children in all the right ways.
The novel is ominous from Page 1, and with its slow-burn peril—both psychological and physical—building nicely, the suspense is sustained until the very end.