It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
Published by St. Martin’s Press on May 16, 2017 (expected)
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense
Format & Length: e-book, 320
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Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.
How did things come to this?
As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I found the premise to be intriguing, but in the end, the execution left me wanting.
To start with, there were quite a few typos and formatting issues, which could be because I had a digital arc and I assume will be fixed for the final release, but there were so many that it made for a confusing reading experience that set a negative tone right away. Then, after a short first chapter that enticed me to keep reading, the entire first half of the book slowed down to a nearly glacial pace. The second half picked up speed again, but the ending was so abrupt and anticlimactic, I finished it thinking, “Wait, what just happened here?”
Every single character in this book was unlikable and manipulative, which in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they were all caricatures. No one had enough depth to make me invested in their stories or their outcomes. And I simply could not understand what it was about Kate that had everyone so crazy for her. We kept hearing that she was so carefree and charming that no one could resist her, but all I could see was a self-indulgent manipulative narcissist.
To top it all off, the writing itself didn’t quite cut it for me. There was entirely too much info dumping and dialogue that didn’t feel natural. Frankly, I find this all to be quite unfortunate as I really loved the idea that Campbell had. This clearly just wasn’t for me, but I would like to see what she does with more practice in future novels.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.