The Dead Ex by Jane Corry | Book Review

 

Published by Penguin

Available in ebook and paperback (28 June 2018)

432 pages

Source: ARC from publisher for review



|   About the Book   |

 

Vicki’s husband David once promised to love her in sickness and in health. But after a brutal attack left her suffering with epilepsy, he ran away with his mistress.

So when Vicki gets a call one day to say that he’s missing, her first thought is ‘good riddance’. But then the police find evidence suggesting that David is dead. And they think Vicki had something to do with it.

What really happened on the night of David’s disappearance?
And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself?

 

|   My Thoughts  |

 

Having enjoyed both of Jane’s previous books, My Husband’s Wife and Blood Sisters (reviewed here), I was delighted to receive a review copy of the latest, The Dead Ex.

The Dead Ex is an intriguing and absorbing read; told from the first and third person perspectives of 3 characters over 2 timelines, the different narrators have their own story to tell (some of which makes for difficult reading) and although I wondered at the beginning how they were connected, all did become clear. Each chapter is clearly headed with the character name and date so there is no confusion.

Vicki Goudman is one of those characters who hasn’t had an easy life and when things go wrong, they go wrong spectacularly. Bruised by previous experiences, she has rather a nomadic life, lives quietly and simply, working from home as an aromatheraperist. Her ex-husband David, is missing, presumed dead and Vicki appears to be the number one suspect. Her problem is that no-one, especially the police, seem to believe her innocence. Indeed, Vicki herself is unsure, the medication she takes for her epilepsy causes some memory issues. Could she have killed him and if so, why can’t she remember anything at all about it.

David Goudman is one of those characters that it is REALLY difficult to feel any sympathy for. He can turn on the charm and give the appearance of being solicitous and thoughtful but under the surface is actually rather unpleasant, a little part of me, (perhaps rather cruelly), hoped that he had met an untimely end!

I felt much sympathy for Vicki, but I also felt frustrated with her. I wanted to believe her innocence but when you feel that a character is deliberately holding something back and not disclosing information, there is that feeling of uncertainty and I didn’t entirely trust her.

The story starts slowly, whilst it builds the characters and backstory but then moves on at a pace. There are some diverse characters – some are very unpleasant indeed but skilled plotting across timelines, together with perhaps a touch of misdirection (it certainly seemed that way to me at times) bring everything together to form a suspenseful story which keeps the reader guessing.  What I particularly enjoy about Jane’s books are her complex characters. As with real life, none are perfect, and its their vulnerabilities which make them feel realistic. Quite a bit of a story here takes place in a prison with the dramas and traumas faced by both staff and inmates.   The author has experience in this field which adds a level of authenticity. As you would expect, there are twists in the tale and surprises and although I had correctly worked out part of the conclusion, there was one aspect that I was completely unprepared for.

Another very enjoyable read from Jane Corry. Three books in, she has cemented her place in my list of ‘must read’ authors.  My thanks to Hannah of Penguin for the review copy and for the tour invite.

 

The Dead Ex can currently be downloaded from Amazon UK for 99p

 

 

|   Author Bio   |

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist who has spent time working as the writer in residence of a high security prison for men – an experience that helped inspire her Sunday Times bestsellers ‘My Husband’s Wife’ and ‘Blood Sisters’. Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. Many of her ideas strike during morning dog-jogs along the beach followed by a dip in the sea – no matter how cold it is!

 

 

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