There’s a certain kind of novel where expectations are set up at the very beginning that are then subverted by the subsequent narrative. Sometimes, even, the relationship between the reader and their perception of what is going on can be as important to the novel as the story itself.
This kind of novel is very difficult to talk about without spoilers, and it applies in part to all of my books. No more so than with the current one, Her Husband’s Lover (out on 27 January 2017, published by Headline). It really is impossible to say much about it.
What I can say is this: it starts with a horrific car crash in which the main character Louisa loses her husband Sam (who is the cause of the accident) and her two young children. She eventually recovers from her trauma and terrible injuries then sets about starting a new life, helped only by the fact that her widowhood leaves her more than comfortably off. The only problem is Sophie – the eponymous husband’s lover – who, pregnant with Sam’s child, is out to get what she believes Louisa owes her. It seems that Sophie will stop at nothing to achieve her aim.
I can also say that the central theme is how hard it is to erase the past. This is explored not only through the lives of the characters, but also the landscape they inhabit – a part of South-East London undergoing rapid, developer-led gentrification and social cleansing.
There is a lot more to it, but I cannot allow myself to say anything else.
I’ve read recently that some readers don’t like to be told that a novel is full of twists, that to do so mars their enjoyment, because they are always trying to second-guess what is going to turn around and hit them in the face. But I think with domestic noir – my sub-genre of crime fiction – a twist is almost taken as read, if you’ll excuse the pun. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if your definition of a plot twist is that it’s something that is entirely plausible within the confines of the plot, but which the reader doesn’t see coming, then all crime fiction relies to some extent on the device.
Therefore, it is with no apology that I say that Her Husband’s Lover is full of twists. Some are slow burning realisations, and some sudden. There’s even one that made Erin Kelly drop her advance copy. They were enormous fun to write, and I hope they will be fun to read, too.
The only downer is that it is impossible to say any more.
I’m tempted, but….
No, hush, now.
This post is brought to you by Julia Crouch.