Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Book Review: The Exes’ Revenge

By Jami Deise

I read a lot of domestic thrillers and watch a fair amount of crime TV. One thing I’ve learned from those two media is never marry a cop. If you do, he will become abusive and since he’s buddies with everyone on the force, he can beat you up without worrying he’ll get arrested.

Sadly, no one gave this advice to the women of Jo Jakeman’s debut thriller, The Exes’ Revenge. Protagonist Imogene (the current estranged wife), veterinarian Ruby (the first wife), and former foster child Naomi (the live-in girlfriend) all have their own horror stories when it comes to dealing with the man they have in common, Philip. But Imogene has the most to lose—Philip torments their son, Alistair, and when he threatens to kick her out of the house and sue for custody of Philip, Imogene knows she has to do something drastic.

Since the book starts with the three women at Philip’s funeral, the reader knows Imogene will be successful. This narrative choice dissipates the tension of the conflict between Philip and his women, instead leaving open the questions of who was responsible for the accident years ago that killed Imogene’s baby; what happened to Ruby’s dogs, and where is Naomi’s mother. As the three work together to keep Philip contained, Imogene wonders if she can really trust the women who came before and after her.

Philip is a cartoon villain, and as such, some of the moments that should be scary come across as comical, while others are genuinely frightening. The cat-and-mouse antics between Philip and his women are the best part of the book, as Philip continues to escape impossible situations and constantly ups the ante. I also enjoyed seeing the three women bond and learn to trust each other.

Knowing that Philip ends up in a coffin, though, keeps the reader from believing that the women were in any real jeopardy. Honestly, the ending is a bit of a let-down, with fate stepping in and secrets revealed that were not surprising. But it’s a quick-paced, engaging read, even if it’s more about the how than the why.

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

The Book Sage said...

I basically agree with your assessment. It wasn't the best mystery I've read. But it was good. I gave it a 3/4.