‘Domestic suspense’ is not a new genre, it’s been around at least since WW 2 but lately there have been quite a few thrillers coming out in this category and the term has become more in vogue. I think ‘psychological thriller’ may also be correct but it wouldn’t necessarily be set in the home.
Domestic suspense takes an ordinary marriage or family relationship and begins to reveal that all may not be well. Hairline cracks appear that reveal a darkness and the reader becomes aware that there is evil at work. A sinister reality begins to emerge. The terror lies in the fact that this is no random crime in a dark distant alley, this wicked situation finds itself right under your own roof and there is no escape!
I judge these types of books on three things, 1) good writing and character development, 2) the ability to build suspense, and 3) the inclusion of enticing twists and turns. It is usually skillful small reveals that best drive suspense, but a few gasp inducing surprises are just delicious in this type of work.
The publishers’ hype of this novel (advertising blurbs, cover language) all lead one to believe that this is a domestic suspense novel along the lines of ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn, but I don’t think it is. The story did not build suspense and there were not enough compelling twists. The psychological element was very well explored, so I would call it more of a psychological study. The dog’s name is Freud, so I guess that should have been my first clue. The story line is about a relationship that suffers for a number of reasons and at the outset you already know that she will kill him, you’re just waiting to find out when and how. I did enjoy reading it, mostly because I felt fascinated by the behaviour of the main character Jodi when her “marriage” to philanderer Todd dissolves and things begin to fall apart. Her silence is the most chilling thing in the book. It contributes to her undoing, but also oddly to her pardon.
There are three other domestic suspense books I have posted on in recent years. Here are the links: