A good thriller isn't written so much as it's carefully constructed. Out of all the other literary genres - with the exception of romance - a thriller is a constant high-wire act, with the author having to carefully balance the drama on the page against what the reader expects. Not only does a good thriller keeps the reader guessing, but it also keeps the reader WANTING, hanging on every page, until the promise of the book is fulfilled, with the thing in these sorts of books that's always under threat is either saved or brought back to the light.
Thrillers used to be the domain of crime and spy novels, but for the past ten years or so the domestic or psychological thriller has dominated the bestseller lists, proving that the main character doesn't have to be a man with a gun to keep things interesting. Likewise, the thing that's always under threat doesn't have to be nation-shaking information, or a secret weapon, or a hostage. It could be something like a marriage, or a career, or simply the trust that one person has in another. Or, in this particular case, it could be all three of those things at the same time.
Welcome to #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a look at a new book that's hitting the shelves at the library this week. MY DARLING HUSBAND by Kimberly Belle begins with a perfect suburban family - Jade Laskey is married to Cam Laskey, who owns a chain of high-end Atlanta steakhouses, and is the mother of two bright children. But when she comes home one afternoon to find a masked home invader demanding a very large - and oddly specific - amount of money in cash, Jade must put the pieces together of both how to get out of the situation and just what her darling husband might have been hiding from her to cause the situation they're in. Author Belle ratchets up the tension, making sure that the reader knows JUUUUUST enough to keep the thrill ride going and those pages turning, as Jade must be both smart and resourceful to survive both the ordeal at gunpoint and the more emotional betrayal of her seemingly-perfect husband.
Books like these tend to live or die on The Big Twist that you just know is coming that upends everything that you thought you knew about the characters that plunges the plot into new and unexpected directions. MY DARLING HUSBAND chooses a more straight-ahead approach, choosing to avoid any of those types of surprises, knowing that she already has plenty of opportunities for drama in her novel. Place a hold of this one if you're a thriller fan!