New Fiction: The Pocket Wife – Susan Crawford

I’m all about sub-genres this week. The hot new one in suspense seems to be “memory-impairment mysteries.” The key element is an unreliable narrator who can’t trust her own mind and is fighting herself to understand what’s happening. Examples? Before I Go to Sleep, Turn of Mind and Elizabeth is Missing. (And of course Julianne Moore raised the profile for this kind of story with her performance in Still Alice, from a book which, while not suspense, offers some of the same fascination.)

Susan Crawford offers a new addition to the pack with this story of a woman in the throes of a bipolar mania struggling to understand the murder of her neighbor and wrestling with the suspicion that she herself might be the murderer.

[A] quirkily endearing debut….Though suburban homemaker Dana doesn’t believe herself capable of murder, she can’t be sure since she stopped taking meds for her bipolar disorder….As Dana continues to spiral out of control, her accelerating mania clouding her perceptions, Crawford manages for the most part to sidestep cliché and preserve her leading lady’s spunk, humor, and dignity.”
Publisher Weekly

“Because the tale is told primarily from Dana’s sharp but manic perspective, suspense develops around her possibly unreliable interpretation of events. This is a gripping, character-driven mystery that would pair well with Sophie Hannah’s The Truth-Teller’s Lie.”
Booklist

“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.”
   — Library Journal

The Pocket Wife (9780062362858) by Susan Crawford.  $25.99 hardcover. 3/17/15 on sale.

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