Book Review: The Pocket Wife

Dana has been over at her neighbor’s house, and they’ve been drinking. Dana stumbles home and falls asleep. Then she hears sirens. She looks out her door, and they’re all lined up at her friend’s house. So she rushes over. 

Someone has killed her friend. There is her petite body right there on the floor. Someone has hit her in the head with a heavy object and left her there to die.

Dana, who is bipolar and not very good about taking meds, wonders if she could have done it. She doesn’t remember much of anything at all. Is she a murderer? How will she find out?

This novel is about a woman who has slipped in and out of madness since her teens. (Bipolar patients, by the way, seem to be infamous for not wanting to take their meds. Those highs are, I’ve heard, quite addictive.)

It is about a husband she may or may not really know.

And a detective named Jack, who hasn’t scored so well in the marriage department himself. But who has been given this case to solve. 

Who would have had reason to kill the teacher in the quiet little neighborhood on Ashby Lane?

This book takes twists and turns as we finally find out what really happened that day. While Dana stews and frets over her possible culpability. 

Her memories of the day are like steam that a train has left behind. She simply cannot hold onto enough of what happened there to put the pieces together. 

So the two protagonists are Dana and Jack the detective. The author fleshes out their personalities and quirks and mannerisms quite well. Till you feel like you really know these two people. 

And that is what kind of writing talent I look for in an author. If a writer can manage to make two people who don’t exist except in her head, seem like real people to me, then they have captured me as a reader.

If the author can make her characters’ actions, while somewhat eccentric and seemingly implausible, seem altogether plausible to me, then they have captured me as a reader. 

This book is a first novel, which impresses me even more.

Susan Crawford delves into the world of mental illness with deftness and emotion. Letting us know what it is quite possibly like to find yourself between two worlds. A tiny sliver of light that separates reality from madness.

Susan grew up in Miami, Florida, where she spent her childhood adoring her older sister, reading mysteries in a hammock strung between two Banyan trees, and collecting lizards, baby skunks, and other odd, exotic creatures.
She later moved to NYC and then to Boston before settling in Atlanta to raise three amazing daughters, and to teach in various adult education settings. A member of The Atlanta Writers Club and The Village Writers, Susan works for the Department of Technical and Adult education and is a member of her local planning commission.
She lives in Atlanta with her husband and a trio of rescue cats, where she enjoys reading books, writing books, rainy days, and spending time with the people she loves.

Susan’s first novel is The Pocket Wife.I was given this book for review by William Morrow/Harper Collins Publishing Company. I was not compensated other than being given a free copy of the book to read. 


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  1. Sounds like a good plot. What about bad language? I don't do well with profanity in books (or tv, or movies, etc.).

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