The Dead Ex by Jane Corry
HE CHEATED. HE LIED. HE DIED.
Vicki’s husband David once promised to love her in sickness and in health. But after a brutal attack left her suffering with epilepsy, he ran away with his mistress.
So when Vicki gets a call one day to say that he’s missing, her first thought is ‘good riddance’. But then the police find evidence suggesting that David is dead. And they think Vicki had something to do with it.
What really happened on the night of David’s disappearance?
And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself?
The Dead Ex, is a cleverly weaved psychological thriller that keeps you on your toes. There are multiple narratives and I was unsure how they would all fit together. But when the truth is finally revealed it is makes for a dramatic finale.
We follow Vicki an aromatherapist from Cornwall, who comes under police suspicion when her ex-husband goes missing.
What is Vicki’s story? Why is she so evasive with the truth?
‘I love aromatherapy. Its magic is both distracting and calming’
The second narrative is that of Scarlet, a young child. Scarlet’s narrative is written from 2007. We become aware she is living with her mother and that the circumstances aren’t healthy for such a young child. When her mother is arrested, Scarlet enters the foster care system. It is a system that will come to shape her entire existence and being.
The novel jumps between Vicki and Scarlet’s stories. We learn that Vicki’s marriage was one of disaster, married to a cold and distant man. When Vicki is viciously attacked at her workplace, she develops epilepsy. Which calls an abrupt end to her marriage. Her ex, clearly not to big on the whole ‘in sickness and in health’ vow. Scarlet enters the foster care system and we become aware of the wide-range of placements that exist. From abusive and overcrowded to loving and caring. Scarlet rejects all forms of help, her tie to her mother too strong to let go of.
Vicki is an unreliable narrator due to her personal feelings of vengeance towards her husband. You never fully feel comfortable trusting that she is as innocent as she makes out.
Scarlet is an unreliable narrator due to the emotional manipulation she has sustained over her childhood. After all, a child that has emotionally abused, will only grow-up to replicate that behaviour.
The author has done an outstanding job of weaving the two stories and keeping the reader guessing throughout. 4*
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