Tuesday, January 19, 2016
THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford
How is this for a compelling mystery? The neighbor of Dana Cantrell who has Bipolar Disorder is found brutally murdered - leaving Dana to struggle between memory and sanity as she tries to piece together that horrific afternoon. And, Dana is a bit of a struggle for the reader as one tries to follow her thoughts and words wondering whether her interpretation of events can be relied upon or not.
The Pocket Wife is both a tense mystery and confounding psychological thriller. Dana finds little sympathy for her disorder at home - she lives with a self-centered, philandering attorney husband who does little to help her save for telling her to call the doctor. Their son, Jamie, is in his first year of college in Boston, and Dana longs for the days when he was young and at home. She also remembers fondly her college days and romance with a fellow called the Poet. (Now, what the introduction of this character has to do with the ongoing plot is a puzzle for this reader.)
In addition to trying to sort things out in her mind Dana has a tendency to just take off in her car often ending up at a diner where a sympathetic waitress listens to her and offers advice. The murder inquiry is headed by Detective Jack Moss whose wife has recently left him with a ton of emotional baggage to carry around. At times one is given to hope for at least one unburdened likable character but it doesn’t happen.
Nonetheless, while for this reader it is at times a disjointed tale Susan Crawford’s debut is a promising one and we look forward to more from this author.