Review: The Wife by Alafair Burke

Title: The Wife by Alafair Burke
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


His Scandal
Her Secret

From New York Times bestselling author Alafair Burke, a stunning domestic thriller in the vein of Behind Closed Doors and The Woman in Cabin 10—in which a woman must make the impossible choice between defending her husband and saving herself.

When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.

Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.

This much-anticipated follow-up to Burke’s Edgar-nominated The Ex asks how far a wife will go to protect the man she loves: Will she stand by his side, even if he drags her down with him?


Part police procedural and part domestic drama, The Wife by Alafair Burke is an engrossing, twist-filled mystery.

Angela Powell is a happily married stay at home mom to thirteen year old Spencer. Her husband,Jason, is an economics professor whose bestselling book about socially conscious investing has resulted in a lucrative consulting business and guest spots on news programs. Angela eschews the limelight and works hard to maintain a well-ordered, structured life for her family. Their domestic bliss slowly begins to unravel when Jason’s intern, Rachel Sutton, accuses him of sexual harassment. But what really rocks the foundation of their life is an allegation from a client, Kerry Lynch, that soon leads to Jason’s arrest. Determined to stand by her husband, Angela is stunned by numerous revelations about her husband. When Kerry goes missing, Jason is the prime suspect in her disappearance and SVU Detective Corrine Duncan is asking Angela some very hard questions about the night Kerry vanished.

Angela grew up in a blue-collar family who resides in a playground of the rich and famous.  She and her best friend, Trisha Faulkner, ran a little wild and had a few brushes with the law.  But Angela moved past her rather troubled past and when she met Jason, she was running a successful catering business. Not really looking for love, Jason nonetheless won her over and they have been happily married for six years when trouble strikes. Angela has worked very hard to maintain a low profile and although Jason is well-aware of her past, no one else has stumbled onto her secrets. As Jason’s very public problems thrust them into the media spotlight, one of Angela’s biggest fears is her past will be uncovered.

Corrine is a tenacious investigator who is not jaded by the sexual assault cases she works so hard to solve. She is genuinely concerned that Angela is putting Jason’s interests before her own. No matter how worried she about Angela, Corrine has no reason to doubt that Kerry is telling the truth about Jason and she works hard to find the evidence she needs to solidify her case. After Kerry vanishes, she is not officially assigned to the case, but Corrine cannot remain on the sidelines during the investigation.

The Wife is an intricately plotted and very clever mystery that is mostly written from Angela’s perspective. She is a  complex character whose tragic past makes her a sympathetic and credible narrator. Her continued loyalty to Jason is admirable but might be misplaced as the truth about her husband slowly begins to emerge.  Savvy readers might surmise some of the upcoming twists, but Alafair Burke brilliantly saves the most shocking revelations for the novel’s jaw-dropping, stunning conclusion.

1 Comment

Filed under Alafair Burke, Contemporary, Harper, Mystery, Review, Suspense, The Wife

One Response to Review: The Wife by Alafair Burke

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kathy