For the past few years, the domestic suspense genre has had a plethora of fantastic titles that have explore the complex relationships within families, but the ones that are most chilling are the thrillers involving marriage. From dramatic divorces to murderous spouses, here are some of the most sadistic stories that prove marriage isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
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The War of the Roses by Warren Adler
The War of the Roses is the novel that began my love for domestic suspense weaving together elements of dark comedy in with a plot that is unlike any other and characters that carry the story brilliantly. After a blissful eighteen years of marriage begins to fall apart, Barbara and Oliver Rose’s divorce becomes intense, as material items such as their beautiful home become the catalyst in a shocking battle between husband and wife.
Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
Feeney taunts her readers with wondering who you should really trust and what will be left of husband and wife, this is one that will make you question everything you’ve read by the brutal finale. Adam and Amelia Wright win a weekend getaway at the perfect time – their marriage is in shambles. Adam has dealt with face blindness all his life; he has never recognized anyone, including his wife. For every anniversary for the past ten years, Amelia has written Adam a letter that she never lets him read, until now. After ten years of marriage and secrets, this weekend could end up costing them more than their marriage.
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My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
In this alarmingly addictive tale, Samantha Downing does a brilliant job of taking the marriage story trope where a couple trying something new to improve their relationship takes a deadly turn that turns domestic suspense upside down and crafts it into a savvy story. After falling in love, having children, and moving to the suburbs, a couple grows bored and with boredom comes the desire to spice things up to keep the marriage exciting. The secret to success in this marriage is simple: murder.
Finding Tessa by Jaime Lynn Hendricks
Hendricks’ Tessa makes Gone Girl look like a fairytale in this noir novel that is jam-packed with suspense, secrets and reveals that will leave you enthralled in her masterful prose. Jace Montgomery is really down on his luck. After returning from a business meeting he finds that his wife Tessa is missing, and the cops have him as their prime suspect after finding her blood and clumps of her hair in the house. When a coworker he is accused of having an affair with also goes missing, the police really narrow in on Jace. Meanwhile, Tessa is safe and sound after setting up her husband. With a friend helping her with her new life and Tessa running from her past, it’s only a matter of time before both Jace and Tessa’s secrets and lies catch up with them.
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
The ultimate cat and mouse game between husband and wife in this silent thriller that is exceptionally written with a blazing plot and gasp-worthy moments, The Silent Wife is one to guarantee a breakup with your bookmark. Jodi and Todd seem to have it all, including the beautiful waterfront condo, but Todd is a serial cheater and Jodi is in denial. With nothing to lose, the couple head toward a deadly showdown as Todd’s infidelity and Jodi’s desire for revenge marks him as the victim and her as a killer.
Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane
If the beginning of Pretty Little Wife doesn’t put you in a dizzying chokehold then nothing will. Darby Kane takes everything you know about domestic suspense and sends her reader into a shocking and compelling story about a dead husband who won’t stay dead. Lila is a woman who lives in a small college town where a student vanished months ago. When Lila’s husband goes missing, the police end up connecting his disappearance to the student, and the whole town is praying for the beloved teacher’s return. Everyone except for Lila, that is: the last time she saw her husband was when she was staring at his dead body.
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The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose
Jeneva Rose made herself into a TikTok sensation with promoting this book. But what is between the pages of this addictive and scandalous story of how far a woman will go to protect the man she loves—or loved—is even more impressive. Sarah Morgan is a powerful defense attorney and partner at her firm. While Sarah is happy with her success, her husband Adam is a struggling author who has not had the same luck. Drowning in his sorrows, Adam begins an affair with a woman named Kelly Summers at the couple’s lake house. When Kelly is found brutally murdered in the home he shares with Sarah, Sarah takes on her most difficult case yet – defending her husband when he is accused of Kelly’s murder.
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