Psychological thrillers are growing in popularity nowadays. Everywhere you go, you’re bound to see a new one ready to become the next big thing. The appeal behind this genre is however far from being superficial. The narrator, the characters, the pacing and the twists all come together to form a truly enthralling story. From the bestselling author of The Good Neighbor, A.J. Banner now dives into the story of a marine biologist who, after a dangerous diving expedition that resulted in a traumatic head injury, is now confronted with a severe case of amnesia that took away four long years from her memory. Under the care of her dear husband on a remote island, Kyra Winthrop starts to get flashes of past events, bringing her not only to doubt herself, but to doubt everyone around her. The Twilight Wife takes readers by the hand and carries them along with Kyra as she slowly uncovers her past. While doubt remains her biggest enemy during these tough times, it also transpires as her greatest ally in distinguishing fact from fiction.
The pacing was quick, steady and efficient. As short as the novel was, The Twilight Wife managed to deliver a compelling thriller that has you second-guessing everything that is thrown at you. Having a narrator who’s suffering from amnesia can be tricky if the author doesn’t manage to sell the authenticity of the character’s personality properly. Luckily for us, A.J. Banner does a formidable job in presenting Kyra as an individual troubled by her incapacity of remembering the past and by her consistent need to get more details and answers from others to reconstitute the broken puzzle of her life. Thanks to a well-written prose, the author was also able to keep a high level of suspense thorough the whole novel. Giving us only little drops of truth when you least expect it, The Twilight Wife brings about a desire to find answers as desperately as Kyra. While these urges to reach the ending as soon as possible and to always thread carefully whenever something enigmatic is presented are common among psychological thrillers, this novel does an outstanding job at staying engaging and fresh throughout the story.
The writing is pretty lyrical at times and also gave the novel a distinct smoky vibe. There’s nothing like a story that has you hunting for those lost memories as fiercely as Kyra. Clawing your way through the hazy island mists, it’s also hard not to want to believe in what Kyra believes. Although I was quite wary of everything she saw, felt and heard, the author still manages to deliver an immersive thriller. Contributing to the ability of this story to keep you hooked, the author also succeeds in delivering a tale that has the atmosphere fluctuating to the protagonists mood and behaviors (or maybe its the other way around). Being secluded on an island with very little people does already wonders to suspense in this novel, but feeling that the island itself is hiding something that needs to be unveiled adds so much more tension to Kyra’s story. Her conflicted self that’s being put through an accelerated rush to untangle all the memories that slowly resurface grants readers a character with a truly tormented soul and a vast array of emotions. As the plot thickens and the twists unfolds, you certainly can’t prevent yourself from feeling bad and in awe for the situation she’s in and how things came to be.
A quick and excellent psychological thriller, The Twilight Wife has everything it needs to capture your attention from cover to cover. While the ending was predictable, the execution was still satisfying. The final twist was dealt with pretty quickly and could’ve been stretched out a little more so that readers can really feel the blow. In fact, it would’ve been even more exceptional if the twist was a little more darker and messy. By the end of the book, the story gets neatly wrapped up with a lot of questions left unanswered. Nonetheless, the story of Kyra Winthrop remains riveting and well-conceived. The subjects of trust and doubt were brilliantly explored and offered us the opportunity to indulge a story where nothing ever seems like what it is. Even when you think you know, A.J. Banner makes sure to remind you that you’re just as lost and unsure as Kyra is during her hunt for answers. This is the story of Kyra, where the truth is nothing pretty.