The Innocent Wife is Amy Lloyd’s debut novel, and it’s an absolute cracker. If you’ve enjoyed the Netflix series Making A Murderer or Mindhunters, you’ll be absolutely riveted by this fictional tale of a lonely woman who begins writing to a man on Death Row she firmly believes to be innocent.
After watching a TV series about Dennis Danson, Samantha becomes just one of many convinced he was innocent of the horrible murder of a young girl of which he was convicted. There are too many gaps in the evidence, and she joins in an online campaign to get a retrial. Eventually she begins writing to Dennis, and falls in love with him through their correspondence. Taking a trip to the States to meet him, she is caught up in a new documentary being made, and eventually decides to marry him.
Dennis’ sudden release catches everyone by surprise, nobody more so than Samantha. After being on Death Row for 21 years, Dennis has a lot to do to catch up with the modern world, and she wants only to help him. He definitely didn’t kill that little girl, she knows that now… but what about the six other girls who disappeared and were never found?
I was never quite sure whether Samantha was going to turn out to be an unreliable narrator or not. There were several hints dropped through the book that she might not be quite as innocent as she initially appeared. I won’t spoil the ending for you - you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens - but I will say that I was surprised and at first a little frustrated by where the author left the story. After thinking about it for a while, though, I realised it was exactly the right spot to end on; it leaves the reader to make their mind up on exactly what happens next.
This is a cracking read. How much insight it gives into the minds of those who fall in love with dangerous killers behind bars, I couldn’t say, but for the enjoyment I received from it, I’d definitely give it 5 stars - and say it would make a superb film or TV series itself one day!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.