Review: My Wife is Missing by D. J. Palmer

cover238592-medium A family vacation turns into a nightmare for Michael Hart when he discovers his wife and two children have disappeared from their New York City hotel room. Horrified, he fears they’ve been kidnapped. Michael’s frantic search to find them takes a shocking turn when he discovers that his wife, Natalie, appears to have left quite willingly, taking their children with her. The police want to know why, and so does Michael. But there may be a reason why Natalie ran, something Michael can’t tell the police — the truth about his past. While untangling his deceptions might be the key to locating Natalie, Michael knows it could also be his undoing. To find his wife, he must now turn to the one person capable of exposing all that he’s been hiding.

Natalie thinks she has Michael all figured out and has hatched a plan to escape from him permanently. One detail, though, threatens to derail her efforts: sleep — or more accurately, the lack of it. Since the moment the shocking revelations about her husband came to light, Natalie’s insomnia has worsened to the point that she now suffers from delusions. Are her fears about Michael valid — or a symptom of her condition? With her children’s lives at risk, the stakes for Natalie could not be higher. On her own, running low on energy and resources, avoiding increasingly close calls with Michael — who is on the hunt and closing in fast — Natalie needs someone to turn to for help. But who can she trust when she can’t even trust herself?

This is my second novel by D. J. Palmer and, true to fashion, he comes at you with all the suspense and twisty turns you can handle.  Just when you think you have it figured out, you’re drawn into another direction and start doubting yourself.  I was completely surprised by the ending, had not expected that reveal.  Honestly, both reveals surprised me, which isn’t all that shocking since I never figure these things out.  The author is very adept at laying out a path that you think is the correct one, only to be fooled at the end.

However, there were things that I didn’t care for, either.  Despite the fact that Natalie and the kids disappear within the first few pages of the book, it took a long time before the story began to engage me.  It wasn’t until we get the first bits of Natalie’s point of view that I became truly interested.  I think that we’re trained to automatically suspect the husband in these things, so I wasn’t particularly amenable to the possible cause of their disappearance, I think.

The two main characters, Michael and Natalie, were interesting both together and alone.  Natalie’s insomnia created all kinds of problems for her and while the effects did help to create a sense of  maybe she’s telling the truth, but maybe she’s just gone over the edge, too.  So, you don’t know for sure if what she’s seeing is real or not.  It certainly adds to the suspense and tension of the scenes.  Michael, on the other hand, starts as a suspect and stays that way.  He is, after all, the one with the most to lose if his secrets get out.

While this wasn’t my favorite of the two D. J. Palmer novels I’ve read, I’ll definitely continue to seek out his books.  The stories are always gripping and full of twists you hadn’t seen coming.  I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

3.5/5

*Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair review.

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