Saturday, February 2, 2019

Book Review: "The Woman Inside" by E.G. Scott

If you like your thrillers with more twists and turns than a roller coaster, grab your safety harness and pick up a copy of E.G. Scott's new thriller, The Woman Inside! This is a crazy book, one which kept me guessing, kept me racing through the book to see how everything would turn out, and, if I'm honest, made me roll my eyes once or twice, too.

It was love at first sight for Rebecca and Paul. Both were wary of relationships (despite the fact that Paul was married at the time) and both shared dark and painful childhoods marked by tragedy, but they couldn't imagine not being together, almost as if destiny brought them together. They shared a passionate relationship and dreamed of building an amazing home on Long Island, and both contributed—Mark with his contracting business and Rebecca as a successful pharmaceutical sales representative.

Nearly 20 years later their marriage has weathered some serious ups and downs. When Mark lost his job it put a strain on their relationship, and Rebecca found herself more and more in the throes of an opioid addiction—an easy thing to feed when you sell pharmaceuticals. Mark had an affair, and it doesn't take too long for his mistress to want more than he is willing to give her—and that doesn't make her happy. As she grows more unhinged, it threatens to topple Mark and Rebecca's marriage for good, not to mention put them in danger.

"Had we really gotten so far away from each other that I'd stopped looking, and Paul knew I had? Time had passed in the intangible way that it does when you aren't paying attention. I didn't see the tether fraying to such a precarious degree."

When Rebecca discovers Mark's plans for a new life, plans that he hasn't shared with her, she is, at turns, hurt, nervous, worried, and angry. As she becomes more and more dependent on a mixed cocktail of drugs, and her supply dwindles, she can't always think clearly, but she starts to formulate plans of her own, and figure out how to make her husband pay for his betrayal. But there are other elements in play, elements that neither of them can expect.

Whenever I read a thriller, I'm automatically suspicious of everyone and everything. A character comes on the scene, I immediately craft ways they could be responsible. So while that habit is a bit distracting at times, it also takes a lot to surprise me. E.G. Scott definitely kept me guessing in places, and my suspicions weren't always correct. There was one major twist that was surprising, but at the same time I found myself exclaiming, "Really?" (Suspension of disbelief necessary.)

The Woman Inside starts out being narrated by Paul and Rebecca, shifting between the present and their past (everything from the beginning of their relationship to crucial events a few days or weeks earlier), but then Scott opens the narration up to several other characters. I think I would have preferred seeing the story only through their eyes—I found one character fairly one-dimensional, and didn't really enjoy their perspectives even as they were revealing twists.

E.G. Scott is the pseudonym for two writers. They've got a lot of talent between them, and I thought that having Rebecca narrate part of the story while she's in the midst of a drug addiction and dealing with cravings and withdrawals was a great plot device, since she's an entirely different kind of unreliable narrator. Even if I didn't love it, The Woman Inside definitely kept me hooked, and it kept me guessing, so it did a pretty good job.

Thriller fans, you might want to pick this one up!

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