The First WifeThe First Wife by Erica Spindler

My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

“Do you believe in fate, Bailey Browne?” he asked. “That two people can be destined to meet?”

“Yes, I believe it,” she said, voice husky. “What about you, Logan Abbott?”

He hesitated, a hint of vulnerability coming into his expression. “I didn’t. Not until…”

Tonight. Until you. The words hung unspoken in the air between them. Heady. Tantalizing

Ergh! *Gag*

Yes, that is an actual quote from this book. Shudder.

I struggled with how to rate this one. On the one hand–> top notch mystery/suspense. On the other hand–> nauseating and unrealistic interpersonal relationships, really flat, one -dimensional characters, and a total disregard for time and space {building.}

Considering the whole point of this story derives from the relationship the MC has with her husband and his relationships with those around him… 1.5 stars. Because….shudder…

Okay. Backing up. Normally I pick up Erica Spindler when I want a quickly read suspense laden with psychological thrills and heavy in the gruesome mystery. This was not that book.

What we have here is a messed (seriously this guy is a whack-a-doodle) up local Chief of Police with a grudge, an OVERLY innocent girl who has the emotional development of a 12 year old, a husband with secrets, an effed in the head family cast, and a whole bunch of missing women. A whole bunch.

“Death follows him. It follows that family.”

Logan and Bailey meet on a vacation. They decide that a couple weeks of bliss means marriage. However as Bailey is riding to her new home fresh from a quickie wedding, she realizes that she knows NOTHING about her husband. He managed to direct the ‘get to know each other’ talks so that he knew everything about her and she knew nothing about him. And what she finds out is nothing short of tragic.

“… something had changed between them today. And in her. Because of Billy Ray. The things he’d said about Logan. And because of those other two women.”

Billy Ray is the local Chief who is convinced that Logan Abbott is a killer. Hardened and hurting from his own past with the first Mrs. Abbott, this is personal and he means to prove that Logan killed his wife and the evermounting number of missing women from their tiny town of 700+ people.

“Do you think I’m a monster, too?”

With the growing number of coincidences, the increasingly erratic behavior of the Abbott family, and a police officer with a grudge, it is up to Bailey to figure out what is really going on in this tiny southern town…and with her husband.

Do not let yourself be deceived by the plot.

Bailey is a wimp. She constantly goes back and forth believing in her husband and thinking he is a murderer. And her indecisive behavior is not based on logic or alternative evidence. Nope. She does not want anything to interfere with her
“Happily ever after.
I kid you not. She made me hate that phrase after the dozens of times she mentally swooned it to us.

“He’d kept so much from her. Deliberately. His choice. If she stripped it down, took away all the romance, the sex and sunrises, he had deceived her. Manipulated her, stolen her right to make an informed decision about marriage to him.”

Logan is an overly dramatic, manipulative jerk. He purposefully did not tell Bailey anything about his family or the town so that she would not back out of the marriage. And when she asks to know more about him or what is going on? He turns the tables (and she lets him) and pulls the ole ‘how can you not trust me…your husband’ gag. AND SHE FALLS FOR IT!

“An explanation. He always had a logical explanation”
“I didn’t hurt True. Or anybody else. But I can’t make you believe that. You trust me or you don’t, Bailey.”

The family are all psychotic. From the twisted sister who seems to hate Bailey to the overly intense and self destructive horse trainer everyone has a seceret connection with the missing women and the family’s run of deaths.

And to add to this family extravaganza, weeks upon weeks pass and we never learn what Logan does for a living, how Bailey spends her days, why Raine (the sister) is always around even though she supposedly teaches art, what exactly Paul (a family friend who is always around and works in the barn) does for the family…none of it. What these well to do people with a bivy of horses hanging around are actually like we gave no idea. The book just transverses from one emotionally charged scene to the next – from one tragedy to the next.

And the plot holes… Jesú but the plot holes

By the end of the book I found myself wishing that the killer would take care of Bailey and the whole cast and crew for good measure. Drama city for these weirdos.

Ultimately I am glad that I had enjoyed other books by this author first because this was a mess. Hopefully this was just a bad-day sort of novel for her.