“When Erica’s husband Joel dies in a tragic accident nobody suspects she had anything to do with it. But appearances can be deceptive.
Erica describes her successful, lawyer husband as handsome and charismatic when she recounts their whirlwind marriage. But nothing is what it seems.
What is Erica hiding?
Was Joel’s death really an accident?
Sometimes the truth can be ugly.”
I’m loving all the “Domestic Noir” books that seem to be popular just now, and this book was no exception, another lesson on how you never really know what’s going on behind closed doors.
Right from the beginning we know that femme fatale Erica has murdered her husband. This is no secret, and who can blame her? Told in alternating chapters from both Erica and Joel’s point of view, this book tells the tale of domestic abuse from both the victim and abuser’s perspective.
Joel is a horrible man, controlling and manipulative with a penchant for violence. He is the archetypal domestic abuser. With a decade of an age gap Joel preys on young, single and carefree Erica, sweeping her off her feet quickly and solidifying their relationship within months. He starts to shape her and mould her into what he sees a woman should be, and when Erica steps out of line he punishes her. No one else can see what Joel is really like, from the outside he is a charismatic lawyer that only wants to look after his wife.
This is not an easy read as the book does contain violence, sexual violence and coercive control, situations that are only too real for many women out there. It was impossible not to empathise with Erica, even though there were warning signs at the start of the relationship she just didn’t want to see them.
The style of writing is engaging, it makes you want to keep reading as you flip between chapter. There is a dark undercurrent and a plot twist that changes how you view everything. It was fascinating being able to see things through the eyes of the abuser, and how their cold and cunning mind worked, how the more submissive Erica became the more excited he became. These parts left me feeling dirty and almost violated, and I needed a shower to wash Joel’s poison from my skin.
I would recommend this book, although warn there are some upsetting scenes. Sometimes the story needs to be told in black and white, and this one was. Overall rating four fabulous stars. Thanks to Bloodhound Books and Louise Mullins for my copy of Beautiful Liar.