It’s hard to describe this book as there’s a twist midway through that changes everything. Sure it enhances the plot but I was kinda saddened, and in some ways felt a little cheated by it.
I’m sure others however, will be delighted by the turn things take.
The Other Mrs Miller
by Allison Dickson
Published by Sphere
on July 23rd 2019
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Once a darling of Chicago's social scene, Phoebe Miller fears she's become irrelevant and cliché: just another miserably unfulfilled housewife who drowns her sorrows in Chardonnay and ice cream and barely leaves her house.
Maybe it's her dark thoughts and fertile imagination that lead her to believe the worst about everything she spies going on in the exclusive suburban cul de sac she calls home. But surely that rusty blue sedan that keeps idling by her driveway is a sign that she's being watched.
And that new family that just moved in across the street--Dr. Ron Napier, his vivacious wife, Vicki, and their handsome college-bound son, Jake--can't be as perfect as they appear. Especially not with the bruises on Vicki's arms and the fear in Jake's eyes.
When a chance introduction to the exuberant Vicki--and a forbidden encounter with Jake--draws her out of her shell and deeper into the Napiers' orbit, Phoebe's life finally gets the infusion of excitement she's been missing. But when anonymous threatening notes begin landing on her doorstep, she'll have to ask herself just how well anyone can truly know their neighbors...and how close to home unforeseen danger sometimes lies.
The book unfolds from a few points of view. There’s that of Phoebe who’s become somewhat of a recluse since her father’s death. Although not close (he was a bully) he’s drawn attention since his passing for his sexual harassment (assault) of many women who felt they couldn’t previously accuse the powerful and wealthy man.
And then there’s the person watching Phoebe, who she believes to be a woman. The watcher has become a bit of an obsession for Phoebe who’s monitoring their movements (as she believes they’re monitoring hers) though after her initial concern takes no action as it’s a distraction… a “blip in her otherwise flat line of a day”.
Her day which she normally spends drinking wine by the pool and reading.
It’d be easy to dislike Phoebe and it’s initially tempting. But it’s obvious she’s ‘damaged’ (to use a technical term!!!), tarnished by life and recent events. She’s battle-weary in many ways: from life with her father; her marriage; her inability to fall pregnant; and the events after her father’s death.
People are burdensome beasts, always prepared to lump their expectations onto you. p 4
Her marriage to psychologist Wyatt isn’t a happy one and he’s startlingly unsympathetic when it comes to her concern about the person watching the house.
Phoebe’s sidetracked by the arrival of new neighbours and soon finds herself getting involved in their lives – despite having kept herself isolated from others in the neighbourhood.
Phoebe is amazed at how easy this has been so far. It’s nice to play a well-adjusted human again, like stretching her legs after an overly long sit. p 43
They’re a distraction for Phoebe, though their relationship/s grow complicated very quickly.
And then things change. There’s a murder. And we have a limited suspect pool. There’s a bit of an Agatha Christie-esque moving finger thing happening for a while as our players try to work out who might have been involved. And why.
Several of our characters have secrets. Some obviously so, though it takes a while for readers to learn what they are.
I liked Dickson’s writing – it had an easy and eloquent flow and was delightfully droll in parts which suited the initially arch Phoebe.
I was pretty happy with how this ultimately played out, though (like I said) wasn’t entirely delighted about our victim as they were one character I actually liked. I suspect the suspicious and untrustworthy nature of the players in this novel made me engage (with them and ‘it’) a little less than I would have liked, but it’s an interesting plot and intriguing mystery.
The Other Mrs Miller by Allison Dickson was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.