"A little girl has been left for dead and now my husband is missing."
The village of Leavensfield sounded a bit like a Midsomer village I half expected good old Tom Barnaby to come out of retirement to solve this one! However, like all good chocolate box villages, Leavensfield is picture perfect with cosy cottages and beautiful scenery complete with the typical resident busybodies. In this case, they are "power couples" Harriet and Gavin Bunch alongside James and Sarah (whose surname escapes me just now), with Harriet being at the centre of everything. And if she wasn't then she would make sure she was. So unfortunately for Harriet, it's Maddy and Richard that are at the heart of this story in which she merely has a supporting role.
Maddy and Richard lead ordinary everyday lives until something happens to change it, and that of Leavensfield, forever. Twelve year old Alice Pritchard is found laying face down and unconscious in a stream and word gets out that she was last seen getting into Richard's car. So when Richard fails to return home that same evening, all fingers start pointing at him. Maddy keeps frantically calling and texting him but to no avail. And soon she begins to question Richard's innocence...and whether he is still alive.
As his former student, Maddy is Richard's second marriage after his first wife fell from a cliff whilst they were hiking in Scotland. The house in which they live now is the one he shared with India so it's easy to feel as if she has stepped into another woman's shoes. But as Maddy begins to dig, she soon discovers that Richard has been lying to her. A passing comment by a former colleague of his alludes to Richard having a taste for his students...and Maddy begins to wonder if she really knows her husband at all.
In a village that should be sticking together, as villages general go, Maddy is then ostracised as the community then turn against her believing that as Richard must surely be guilty she is therefore guilty by association. Then to contend with Harriet's sudden snubbing, the screaming accusations of Alice's mother Gemma to being called a "paedo" and having a brick thrown through her window, Maddy is well aware of how easily the justice system can fail a person so therefore she has difficulty associating the man she knew with this terrible crime. And all the while her conscience wrestles with a childhood event that left emotional scars...and her questioning the truth behind the assault of little Alice.
But then Maddy receives renewed hope that Richard is alive and well...and in hiding. However in true Richard-form, the answers to the questions she seeks are not forthcoming. So if he is innocent, why is he hiding? What is Richard concealing? Is he really guilty after all?
An intriguing plot with a palpable tension throughout, WHAT MY HUSBAND DID weaves suspense, misdirection and plenty of twists to keep the reader engaged. Kerry's writing style is simplistic but well crafted that makes the storyline flow easily. The dual timeline is a clever tactic presented in a unique way that keeps the suspense coming.
Written mostly in Maddy's present day narrative, the reader is provided with flashbacks into her past which ultimately leads up to a penultimate event in her life. Added to that is, cleverly, the addition of Richard's brief narratives giving new perspective to this terrible crime that rocked the village of Leavensfield.
I honestly had no idea what happened as Kerry's clever writing threw enough red herrings in my path to blind me and yet I still enjoyed the ride. I began to wonder whose husband did what as the truth is disclosed in a surprising twist that didn't just jump out of nowhere but rather revealed itself gradually.
WHAT MY HUSBAND DID is a tangled web of secrets and deception as a village that knows everyone and everything closes ranks on itself. A cleverly told story that builds slowly with an undercurrent of suspense and tapers out a little at the end, WHAT MY HUSBAND DID is Maddy's story - both past and present.
An interesting read that was, for the most part, enjoyable. I wouldn't call it a psychological thriller but it is a suspenseful read that is sure to entertain mystery and thriller fans. Recommended.