In Anthony’s (co-author: Ladykiller, 2010) thriller, a woman who suspects her husband of adultery soon fears that he may be guilty of much worse.
The fourth time was the charm for Helen Goode, a company vice president living in the small town of Benedict, Pennsylvania. The last 10 years with Beau, a local judge and hubby No. 4, has convinced her that this marriage will stick. That is, until she gets news from Beau’s assistant, Louie, who fears Beau may be having an affair with staff member Emily Watson. Helen’s shaken by the mere possibility, and her condition is further aggravated when she hears someone has beaten Emily to death. She believes that Beau is a killer, and his stashing a bundle of bloody clothes in the dryer confirms her suspicions. All of Benedict, meanwhile, is distraught by the murder, and a fatal car accident involving Helen’s co-worker doesn’t help. Nevertheless, Helen puts all of her effort into proving that Beau’s not Emily’s killer. But even if he’s not, Helen might still be in danger from a murderous individual who finds her investigation a bit too meddlesome. Anthony loads her tale with conspiracies: blackmail, death threats, and a stalker-ish state trooper who’s sure Beau is dirty. A political connection to the slain family, and one of Beau’s friends, brings in both the FBI and Beau; the latter initiates a personal investigation that parallels and may converge with Helen’s own. Anthony excels at keeping tensions high. Mystery, in contrast, is sparse; pertinent info often comes from people spilling details with very little prompting—including at least one confession. Likewise, a crucial piece of evidence is later negated by someone with intimate knowledge of the murderer’s deed. The resolution, however, is clever and thorough, with a wickedly funny coda.
An astute protagonist and her maybe-homicidal partner propel a conventional albeit diverting mystery.