Monday, July 1, 2019

"Dear Wife"

Kimberly Belle is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of novels of suspense. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she worked in marketing and nonprofit fundraising before turning to writing fiction. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Belle applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Dear Wife, and reported the following:
From page 69:

This case, I handle by the book.

I start at the show house, walking the grounds and studying the dirt for imprints—both shoes and tires. I press my face to the windows and peer into all the rooms. This place is a “show house” all right, every room packed with complicated, flashy furniture, every horizontal surface crammed with bowls and candles and crap. I try the doors, the latches on the windows, but the place is locked up tight. No sign anyone but a decorator has been here.

From there, I go to the office for a face-to-face with Sabine’s boss, Lisa, a perfumed blonde in a ruby-red suit with lips to match. According to her, not only was Sabine a no-show for last night’s showing, she also missed a company-wide training yesterday afternoon, where she was supposed to present on building a social media platform.

“You don’t understand,” Lisa tells me, a frown pulling on her Botoxed brow. “Sabine is my hardest worker, and she’s always on time for everything, especially showings. Honestly, Detective, this is very worrisome. This isn’t like her at all.”
This isn’t the first time we meet Marcus, the detective tasked with finding the missing Sabine, but it’s the first time we hear from his point of view. We already know he’s smart and he’s a hustler, but we learn he’s skating on thin ice at work. Thanks to an overly demanding family, he’s being pulled in a thousand different directions, and his boss has noticed. With Sabine’s case, Marcus is definitely feeling the pressure to get things right.

But the more he digs into her disappearance, the more convoluted it becomes. It doesn’t help that Sabine left almost no clues, or that there was trouble at home, something her husband Jeffrey is trying very hard to hide. We also get a peek inside Jeffrey’s head and into his marriage to Sabine, which has been falling apart for a while now. Financially and perhaps emotionally, he’d be better off with her gone.

But at its heart, Dear Wife is the story of Beth, a woman on the run from her controlling and abusive husband. For months now she’s been planning her escape—saving grocery money, thinking through the various strategies, coming up with a plan. One day when her husband is at work, she finds her chance. She steers her car westward to leave a trail of clues, then doubles back and disappears into Atlanta.

Is Beth Sabine? And what is Jeffrey hiding? As the stories progress, it becomes clear that somebody is lying.
Visit Kimberly Belle's website.

--Marshal Zeringue