When one of her best friends dies, a suburban wife and mother suspects murder.
Paige Atwell’s gracious home in Denver, her loyal husband, healthy kids and weekly coffee klatch with neighboring moms all add up to the American dream. Well, maybe somebody’s American dream, but lately Paige has begun to feel something’s missing. Things get worse when her friend Karen confesses to Paige that she is having an affair with the Latino model from her life-drawing class. Paige is at first shocked and then slightly unmoored by the recurrent fantasies that fill her head of Karen and her Latin lover. The chronic round of errands and pick-up times for her children’s soccer matches, dance lessons, play-dates, doctors’ appointments—and her husband’s increasing last-minute calls to say he won’t be home for dinner—only exacerbate Paige’s obsession with the lack of passion in her life. She finally mentions her frustration to another friend, Jane, who tells Paige she needs to “resexualize” her marriage. Paige is game . . . but several attempts to be spontaneous with her husband end disastrously. Then comes the news that Karen has been found dead in her garage. Paige’s imagination goes into overdrive: Did Karen’s husband discover the affair and kill her in a jealous rage? What about Karen’s mysterious lover? Out of loyalty to Karen, Paige tells no one about the affair—even when the police come around to ask some routine questions. They seem to think it was just an unfortunate accident. When Paige suggests otherwise, her friends tell her she has she been watching too many episodes of CSI, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. Harding (The Journal of Mortifying Moments, 2004) has a breezy, headlong style, but Paige’s ham-handed attempts at being a private eye so mortifyingly misfire that they have no chance of being funny.
Desperate Housewives with a high cringe quotient.