THE TWILIGHT WIFE by A.J. Banner; on-sale 12/27/16
CBTB Rating: 3/5
The Verdict: light crime fiction; good for genre newcomers
THE TWILIGHT WIFE first caught my eye with its undeniably gorgeous cover. Billed as a "breath of fresh air" within the psychological thriller genre, this crime book is aimed at fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. (I know, I know - those comparisons are getting old! But bear with me here.) I had very mixed feelings about this book, and sadly didn't find it nearly as suspenseful as the other "girl" books that it's trying to compete with. That being said, if you're a newcomer to the crime fiction genre, this might still be a good choice for a gentle introduction to domestic suspense and psychological thrillers.
THE TWILIGHT WIFE introduces readers to Kyra Winthrop, a marine biologist who suffers from amnesia in the aftermath of a diving accident. With absolutely no memory of the accident, her time in the hospital, and the last few years of her life, Kyra struggles to piece together her past and move forward with her life. Under the care of her doting husband, Kyra works to recover her memories - and soon discovers that the world she thought she knew might come crumbling down around her.
I always love a good domestic thriller, and THE TWILIGHT WIFE certainly has a compelling plot. There's just something so intriguing about ordinary people with dark secrets, and I had high hopes for this story's suspense factor. Unfortunately, I guessed quite literally all of the book's plot twists within its first 75 or so pages, and found the book lacking in general suspense and chills. In my experience, it's very possible to guess a book's plot twists but still be hooked on the book's storyline, but unfortunately I did not feel that way about THE TWILIGHT WIFE. After guessing the plot twists, I found myself breezing through the book without much emotional investment in its characters and central mystery.
If you're a seasoned crime reader who loves to be shocked and surprised by a crime book, I would be hesitant to recommend this book to you. It's not a bad read by any means, but it's just not up to par with domestic thrillers like the "girl" books (THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, GONE GIRL) and more recent domestic thrillers like BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR.
However, if you're a newcomer to the crime fiction genre or a reader looking for a lighter crime read, this might be the perfect choice for you. Even though this book didn't fulfill what I was looking for and expecting from it, I still enjoyed its atmosphere and fast pacing. This story is set on a remote island, and I loved the imagery and atmosphere that A.J. Banner conjures up. The atmosphere of THE TWILIGHT WIFE reminded me a lot of the atmosphere in THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn - both feature a remote location, a couple with secrets, and a brooding atmosphere. The difference? THE BIRD TRIBUNAL is a more hypnotic, sophisticated novel of suspense, while THE TWILIGHT WIFE relies heavily on predictable plot turns. On the plus side, THE TWILIGHT WIFE is undeniably fast-paced - I read it in less than 24 hours. It's not particularly violent or scary, so it's still a good choice if you're looking for a lighter suspense novel.
Overall, THE TWILIGHT WIFE was a bit of a disappointment for me. I do think this book will be very popular with the right audience, but I'm just not it. For me, this book was simply too predictable, and didn't have that driving force and darkness that defines a great psychological thriller. I didn't hate the book by any means, but I would be hesitant to recommend it when there are so many other truly standout psychological thrillers being published all the time.
THE TWILIGHT WIFE by A.J. Banner; on sale 12/27/16