The Exes Revenge by Jo Jakeman

A satisfyingly noir tale of three abused women seeking their revenge against one man. 

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Phillip Rochester is one of the cruelest, most manipulative, abusive men that these three women could imagine but they didn’t have to imagine him. He was their reality. When his current wife, Imogen, is told that she must move out of her house – which they own together – or face consequences, Imogen is well aware of what those consequences might entail. She has a son by this man and he is threatening to take away their child – not because of love, but because he seeks revenge on anyone he perceives as wronging him. Imogen snaps and does something incredibly rash not realizing that her actions ultimately will involve the other women in Phillip’s life.

I will admit that I found The Exes Revenge incredibly satisfying. It begins with Phillip’s funeral so we know from the start that he dies – thankfully. The story, told in present and past revelations, imparts the sequences of events leading to his death. As it unfolds we realize that every person who has had contact with Phillip has, in some way, been abused by him. In the era of the #metoo movement, this book is perfect as each person, from his wives to his lovers, in-laws and his own child, has been abused by him.

This isn’t “just” a story about abuse, however. It has some wickedly humorous moments and these three women most certainly do not start out as anything other than enemies: the ex-wife who is still in love with Phillip, the current wife who has been left for the third, much younger and prettier lover. How they interact with one another is quite rich.

The vengeful ex-wife story has been told repeatedly in literature, however, The Exes Revenge is a fresh, very honest and candid look at the lives of women who are abused. I either have been that woman or knew them. They are your neighbors, sisters, daughters and friends. There simply are too many women who have been verbally, physically, sexually or psychologically battered for the story ever to grow old. The ending, how Phillip actually dies, is priceless. I could read and re-read that chapter over and over again. Perhaps I’m just in a very cynical mood lately, but endings like this one provide immense gratification, as does the entire book. It is a fast paced page-turner that I highly recommend.

Many thanks to the author for an advanced copy of this debut thriller and also to Berkley Publishing Group for my physical copy of the book. Much love!

 

 

 

 

Our House – Murder and Mayhem Monday

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There is nothing that I love more than a good noir read and Our House, by Louise Candlish, is domestic noir at its finest.

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Fiona “Fi,” arrives home from a trip to find her house is being occupied by a new couple and her kids are missing! Immediately one would think the worst – home invasion, kidnapping…. but no, this couple claims to have purchased Fi’s home from Fi and her husband, Bram. After this foundation is laid, the book continues the story of Fi and Bram told retrospectively: Fi tells her woeful tale via a podcast and Bram tells his version of events via a suicide note. This method of storytelling actually works and is an interesting way of presenting both sides of story.

Fi and Bram’s lives are so convoluted that, at times, it made it difficult to connect with the characters. On the other hand, Candlish created a character, in Bram, who was so well developed that I came to despise the man. It has been a while since I have felt so strongly about a book character. In the end, there is a twist – not one for the sake of twisting – but something we, as readers, should have figured out from the clues but I suspect most, like me, do not and will not see this coming. And then there is the ENDING. The last paragraphs of the book were brilliance. Nope, never ever would I have suspected that ending but, again, it was perfection.

Yes, I am being somewhat vague regarding the plot and storyline. There are too many reviews out there with subtle spoilers and this book is better read blindly with no preconceived ideas of the storyline. I am not going to be the reviewer that ruins the noir element for you.  Our House is one fabulous book for readers of noir fiction, especially if you like a darker domestic tale.

I am so appreciative of the book that I received from the Berkley Publishing Group and Louise Candlish.