The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton | Book Review | #TheExHusband #CrimeThriller

Publisher: Wildfire
Format: Ebook, Audio, Hardback (19 August 2021) | Paperback (9 December 2021)
Page Count: 368
Source: Review copy


He’s missing, presumed dead. But she still can’t escape.

Charlotte and Sam were partners. In life, and in crime. They never stole from anyone who couldn’t afford it. Wealthy clients, luxury cruise ships. It was easy money, and harmless. At least, that’s what Charlotte told herself, until the world caved in on her.

But now, years after she tried to put that past life behind her, it comes rushing back when her estranged ex-husband Sam suddenly goes missing – and someone threatens to expose what they did.

Desperate to escape whoever is tormenting her, Charlotte takes a job as events planner for an engagement party onboard a superyacht in the Caribbean. For a while, her plan seems to have worked, nothing but open ocean and clear skies ahead. Until it becomes clear that she’s no longer a thousand miles away from harm.

Because whoever is behind it all is onboard too. And now there’s nowhere left to run.


My thanks to Rosie at Headline for sending a proof copy. As a cruise lover, I love a book with a cruise theme, especially if there is crime involved, and this was one I definitely wanted to read having read Karen Hamilton’s two previous books The Perfect Girlfriend and The Last Wife, both reviewed here.

In chapters alternating between Then and Now, the story is told in the first person voice of Charlotte. Sam and Charlotte once seemed the perfect couple, he a professional croupier and con-man and she taking jobs on ships wherever they could be together. They honed their craft, raked in the money – conditions were not always perfect, long hours, sharing cramped crew quarters but the luxurious lifestyle and connections they made offshore kind of made up for that – all funded by scamming wealthy cruise passengers. But it all went sour and now Charlotte is on her own working as an events planner. However it seems you can’t escape your past after all. Sam is missing and someone is after her.

This was one pacy read that kept the suspense up all the way through. Sam and Charlotte tried to justify their scamming by only picking people who could afford it but even so they were both pretty awful people although she did have a bit more of a conscience than him. Their actions harmed so many people that any one could be out for revenge and Charlotte had her work cut out in trying to find out who was targeting her. I do enjoy books with that “locked room” vibe, especially on a boat, where there is no escape, other than to take a long swim!

I really didn’t have any clues as to the ‘Whoever It Is’ until someway through the book and then a throwaway line made me suspicious. There was something a bit off about most of her fellow passengers and more than one had secrets of their own they were hiding. It’s probably a bit evil of me but I actually quite enjoyed seeing Charlotte being tormented and under pressure – karma! Although having read 3 of this author’s books now, she has mastered the art of creating unlikeable characters that you can’t help but feel some sympathy for.

The setting of the luxurious yacht and the vividly described Caribbean settings made me yearn for a holiday – well at the moment, an armchair holiday is the next best thing. I raced through this intriguing twisty read and thoroughly enjoyed it.


Karen Hamilton author picture

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy and, having now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband, she satisfies her wanderlust by exploring the world through her writing. Karen’s first novel, The Perfect Girlfriend, was a Sunday Times bestseller. The Last Wife was her second novel and The Ex-Husband her latest.

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