I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
SYNOPSIS: Twenty years ago Dennis Danson was arrested for the brutal murder of Holly Michaels in Florida’s Red River County. Now he’s the subject of a Making a Murderer-style true crime documentary that’s taking the world by storm – the filmmakers are whipping up a frenzy of coverage to uncover the truth and free the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice.
Samantha may be thousands of miles away in Britain, but she is as invested in Dennis’s case as any of his lawyers. Perhaps even more so, as her letters to the convicted killer grow ever more intimate. Soon she is leaving her life behind to marry Danson and campaign, as his wife, for his release.
But when the campaign is successful, and Dennis is freed, events begin to suggest that he may not be so innocent after all. How many girls went missing in Red River, and what does Dennis really know? – via Goodreads
Obviously this premise was going to speak to me. I am fascinated with the whole death row thing, as well as the women who marry these men there. Surreal, crazy stuff. I very briefly skimmed this synopsis and gave it a shot, and I have no regrets.
The Innocent Wife is an extremely absorbing read. It gets cracking really quickly, and doesn’t waste your time. The plot pacing is a little all over the show because it starts with a bang, and while it remains engrossing, the middle section feels a little all over the show. That does not hurt the read though, as it is engaging and a super fast read. I really enjoyed the premise of this one (I mean we have all watched documentaries about convicted murderers/wrongfully convicted folks and everyone has an opinion on the death penalty), and felt at times it was a little predictable, but not too often, so it makes for a super immersive read.
Sam is a character who initially comes across as insipid and weak, and then when you see later is actually a hot mess in life. She is a particular brand of strange, because she pushes people away, has a super mean streak that bubbles to the surface from time to time, is super jealous and she lives in her head and shuts out the world. She also made Dennis her life, her whole world, and that is just sad. The relationship between Dennis and Sam is an odd one, and he is a cruel bastard to her at times, but she, too, is just weird. They are not particularly well suited for one another, and yet you want to read all there is to read about their twisted romance.
I did like the way that the book was structured, skipping between a book that was written about Dennis Danson and the accusations levelled against him, as well as letters between him and Sam, and then to what is going on between them in real life. It definitely works to keep up suspense. The book is really well written and lingers with you when you (sadly) have to go about your day to day (read: job that pays your bills) activities. I just wanted to read!
I am impressed that The Innocent Wife is Amy Lloyd’s first novel, and will most certainly be keeping my eyes peeled to see what else she comes up with in the future. I would say that this book is well worth the read!