The Serial Killer’s Wife by Blake Crouch and Robert Swartswood

This was an interesting twist to the thriller genre. The serial killer in question is already in custody and in prison having been found guilty for what are being called “The Widower Murders”. The designation comes about because the ring finger and wedding rings from each of the female victims has been removed.

The wife in question, rather than go through the sadness and humiliation of the trial, ran away with their infant son and has been in hiding for the last five or six years. As the story opens, she is working as a teachers assistant at a school. She receives a mysterious phone call threatening the life of her son.

As the story unfolds, the wife has 100 hours to bring the ring fingers and the rings to the voice on the phone or her son will be killed. Each hour she receives a photo of her son laying on a bed, his mouth taped with a C-4 laden collar tied around his neck.

She has to basically backtrack her movements returning to places she hid out in order to receive help from people she has trusted in the past. Many of those who help are at risk and additionally, there are enough shady characters she has had to rely on that the reader is never 100% certain that those she trusts are really there to help or hinder. This adds a level of intrigue to the story that keeps the reader off balance.

It’s a chase and a race against the clock. Others are pulled into the story including an FBI agent who was disgraced after the wife ran away and did not testify. His son is abducted by the same mysterious stranger and also has a C-4 collar on his neck with the threat of death imposed in order to solicit the FBI’s help in retrieving the fingers. Why do they want the fingers and rings?

Ha! That, you will have to read the book to find out. Suffice to say, the reason is surprising as is the outcome of the book. I love a story that you can’t get the ending until its the end and this is one of those. This is truly, a very good thriller. While I can’t say I felt any one way or another for any of the characters, I did enjoy the thrill of the chase. Well worth a read.

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