Kerry Hammond reviews Susan Crawford's The Pocket Wife which comes out today in hardback.
The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford is a well written, exciting, wild ride of a book. Dana Catrell finds out that her neighbor Celia has been brutally murdered in her home right down the street from Dana’s own. The troubling thing is that Dana has snippets of memory from the last 24 hours, which include getting drunk on Sangria at Celia’s house and arguing with her. Much of the evening is lost to her, but Dana fears that she may have had something to do with Celia’s death. Dana’s missing memory is only part of her problem. She has bipolar disorder but refuses to take medication. She has had periods of time in the past where she feels herself slowly slip into her mania. She is experiencing one of those episodes and feels that if she doesn’t figure out what her role in Celia’s murder was before she slips, she will be lost forever. As the police detective handling the case continues to question Dana to try and figure out what she’s hiding, Dana realizes that her husband hasn’t been entirely honest with her. Piecing together which facts are real, and which are created by her disorder, becomes increasingly harder as Dana’s mind fights to hold onto reality.
This book was a nail biter and I couldn’t put it down. I was not only drawn into the mystery surrounding Celia’s death, but the mental anguish that Dana was experiencing as she fought to contain her bipolar disorder. Her manic thoughts were extremely well written and I found it exciting to be a part of her inner turmoil. I can think of no higher praise than to say that this book was a deeply disturbing ride along in Dana’s troubled mind. The solution to the mystery was a surprise to me, which is a bonus I love to see when reading a mystery. I enjoyed the book immensely and can’t wait to see what this author might write next.