The Pocket Wife

Morrow. Mar. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780062362858. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062362872. F
After teacher Celia Steinhauser is found murdered in her home, Dana Catrell learns she was the last person to see her neighbor alive. Dana remembers arguing at Celia's house that day over a compromising photograph Celia had taken of Dana's husband. Unfortunately, they also drank too much sangria, and she can't remember anything else about the afternoon. As Dana investigates, she finds disturbing notes and other clues that cause her to question her own memory and suspect that she herself may have killed Celia. She is simultaneously consumed by building mania owing to her bipolar disorder. The captivating narration reflects Celia's progressively elated and fractured thoughts as she moves from energetic clarity to sleeplessness and self-destructive chaos. Alternating chapters follow diligent police detective Jack Moss as he navigates the many suspects (including his own son, a student of Celia's). In the final confrontation, the killer's confession comes a bit too easily, but the resolution is surprising, neat, and satisfying.
VERDICT Descriptive, lyrical prose creates an intimate and visceral read that is both a solid mystery and a fast-paced psychological thriller. Try this first novel as a read-alike for Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind. [See Prepub Alert, 9/15/14.]
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