Also by this author: The Girl Before, Believe Me
Published by Ballantine Books on August 6, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
THE PERFECT WIFE Review
J. P. Delaney has become one of my go-to authors when I’m in the mood for a suspenseful psychological thriller with a unique storyline. I really enjoyed his previous novels The Girl Before and Believe Me for this reason and he’s done it again with his latest effort, The Perfect Wife.
The Perfect Wife follows Abbie, who as the story opens, wakes up not knowing who she is or where she is. Tim, the man who is with her when she wakes up, says that he is her husband and begins to fill in some of the gaps in her memory, telling her that she is an artist and a mother. What he tells her next is rather unsettling. Tim, a giant in the Silicon Valley tech industry, informs Abbie that she was in a horrific accident five years ago that took her from him. Through the magic of a technological breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence, he has managed to bring her back from the dead. The Abbie we are following in the story is actually an AI robot that is basically a clone of Tim’s real wife.
The technology is such that even many of Abbie’s memories were able to be uploaded into the AI unit. What starts to happen, however, is that the more AI Abbie pieces together about the real life relationship between her alter ego and Tim, the more she questions what Tim’s motives really are and his version of the accident that took Abbie from him. Is he really just a sad guy who misses his wife and wants to preserve her memory (in a slightly creepy way) or is there more to it?
I really enjoyed the many twists and turns of the story as AI Abbie gets closer and closer to unraveling the mystery of what happened to the real Abbie and what Tim’s role in it was. There’s plenty of suspense and I just loved the sci fi twist, especially having the story told from the perspective of the AI so that we can see her piecing together all of the key details needed to solve the mystery. The AI tech speak was interesting too, even if I didn’t necessarily understand all of it or wholly buy into the idea of being able to upload memories into an AI unit. It was still fascinating to even consider the possibility. I also liked the exploration of the moral implications – would such a thing even be considered ethical since you’re basically artificially cloning a person without his or her consent?
I also liked that in addition to the science fiction angle and the mystery/psychological thriller angle, the story has even more layers that deal with marriage and family. The author does an especially nice job of realistically depicting all of the challenges that come with raising a child who is on the autism spectrum.
The only real downside for me with The Perfect Wife is that I didn’t really connect much with any of the characters. I felt like an outsider observing them in a clinical way. My preference is always for characters that I find relatable or that I feel something for, so in that sense, the read was a little off for me. Even so, it was still a very solid read for me.
If a psychological thriller with a sci fi twist and a wholly original plot sounds like something you would enjoy, J. P. Delaney’s The Perfect Wife should be on your must-read list.
The perfect life. The perfect love. The perfect lie. From the bestselling author of The Girl Before comes a gripping new psychological thriller. . . .
Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.
She is a miracle of science.
But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?
Beware the man who calls you . . .