A Good Marriage: A Novel
“an alluring psychological legal thriller that is jammed packed with layers of emotionally charged sexual revelations and suspense.”
Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they would be easier to take if Lizzie were there voluntarily. Until recently, she had been an underpaid but fairly happy federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she had ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.
No. That is a lie. It was not sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was good at averting her eyes. The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach is the primary suspect.
As Lizzie is drawn into the dark circles of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda were not what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be harboring disturbing secrets of their own. In the end, she is left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.
A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight is an alluring psychological legal thriller that is jammed packed with layers of emotionally charged sexual revelations and suspense. McCreight is the New York Times bestselling author of several critically acclaimed works of fiction that include Reconstructing Amelia (2013), Where They Found Her (2015), and the YA trilogy series The Outliers. McCreight’s newest thriller basically revolves around four couples all of whom have their own personal problems and marriage woes. Three of them seem to be happy but looks are deceiving. They all appear to have the world at their fingertips when all hell breaks loose. One of the wife’s is killed and another, an attorney/ former college classmate defends the accused husband. All of their lives begin to intersect, and dark secrets come to light that none of which anyone saw coming.
“From the corner of Prospect Park West and First Street, Amanda could already hear giddy laughter and music floating up from Maude and Sebe’s backyard and filling the summer night. She closed her eyes for a moment and breathed in the distant sounds of joy . . . With that Zach continued on up the stairs. And Amanda was left standing there alone . . . thinking about all the things a husband might have said at the moment to a wife when faced with the prospect of entering a sex party…They could have giggled together. They could have wondered. They could have been two people who shared in everything…but not Amanda and Zach . . . Because there was no they. There never had been. And there never would be.”
Most of the characters are likable and there is something about each that is relatable. The main character Lizzie tries in vain to keep her marriage together while battling and often denying her husband’s excessive drinking habits. Because of his self-destructive behavior, his lucrative writing career has floundered. This has put a financial and emotional strain on their marriage, and Lizzie is forced to work long hours at a law firm she hates just to keep their heads above water.
One evening while working late, she receives a collect call from Rikers Island. A college acquaintance has been arrested and accused of killing his wife and asks Lizzie to represent him. On the surface there appears to be no motive for the murder, but the New York City press sees things differently. Salacious details of unsavory sexual exploits of parents of an elite Brooklyn day care center are leaked to the press. It is discovered that the murder victim, Amanda and her accused husband Zach had attended a wife swap party the night of the murder. It quickly becomes apparent that their life was much darker and more complex than first realized.
A Good Marriage is an intelligently written suspense filled thriller that is loaded with tantalizing tidbits of information that keep the reader guessing to the very end. McCreight does an exceptional job of releasing just the right amount of information about certain characters at just the right moment to keep the reader involved. This tactic of intentional deception works marvelously by widening the scope of suspects to the crime. And unlike many other domestic thrillers of the genre which are often filled with cliché storylines, McCreight has created a unique hook that demands attention from start to finish. Her characters are fresh and believable, and the novel is loaded with plenty of twists and turns.