Title: The Marriage Lie
Author: Kimberly Belle
Genre: Mystery & Suspense Thriller
What it’s About: Iris and Will have the perfect marriage, with an amazing home in a good neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. They both have exciting careers, and are trying for their first baby after several years of marriage. The love-making session on the fateful morning delays Iris’ arrival to her job, and has Will running for the airport in order to make his flight to Orlando, Florida for a conference.
That morning, a flight on its way to Seattle, Washington goes down, taking the lives of all those on-board. Amongst the first passengers’ names to be released are those of the school sports team in a nearby jurisdiction, Iris’ employer, a school, does a grief counseling session. Upon her return to her office, Iris finds out through the news station that Will was on the flight to Seattle, and is one of the individuals who perished on the flight.
This leads Iris into a depression, and to have a breakdown. Grief-stricken, Iris is convinced down to her core, that this is all a misunderstanding. When months pass, and Will does not make a miraculous appearance, Iris reluctantly accepts that he may just be gone. She accepts help from Will’s friend, Cal, who reportedly met Will in the gym, and who had promised Will to look out for her in the event that something would happen to him. At the same time, Will’s employer makes it clear to Iris that Will was the person who embezzled millions of dollars from their accounts, and that they will come after her as well. As a result, she employs the assistant of a lawyer whose family also perished in the flight.
Still, Will’s name on the flight to Seattle and the embezzled money leaves gnawing questions to which Iris needs answers. So she sets off with her brother to Seattle, and finds out the truth behind Will’s past, including that he may have been at the center of an arson case as a teenager that left his mother and two kids dead. She continues to receive strange messages from two unknown numbers, one of which threatens her life to the point that she sets up an alarm system in her house.
As the truth slowly unravels that Will and Cal were behind the missing millions from the accounts of Will’s company, and that Cal is the man from Will’s childhood, who actually set the projects in which they lived on fire that killed Will’s mother and the two children, it becomes clear that Will was in over his head with deep problems. And when Cal threatens Iris, holding her hostage, to get the money from Will, Will comes to her rescue, getting to Atlanta and killing Cal during a police raid of Will and Iris’ house, thanks to the lawyer. It turns out that Cal was manipulating the two numbers that gave Iris hope, and the one that threatened her, in hopes of getting her to give up Will’s location and the location of the embezzled money. In turn, Will planted the embezzled funds in Cal’s computer, implicating his friend; however, questions remain that will leave Will on the run.
After the hostage ordeal, Iris is about to sell her home and move on with her life. She had been pregnant for a short while with Will’s child, but due to the stress, lost the pregnancy. As she re-enters the house after saying goodbye to the lawyer, she finds Will, who tells her the truth of what had actually happened with the fire. He also explains to her that the embezzled funds were a plan that he and Cal had hatched years ago, prior to his meeting Iris, but that she changed his outlook in life. At that time, he was in too deep to go back, but wanted to do the right things. He concedes that they will not be able to have a life together now, because he will have to be on the run from the law, as the police is looking for him for embezzlement and fraud (he faked his death). Yet, neither of them can deny their attraction for one another, so they have another love-making session as a final goodbye. During a critical moment of their time together, Iris pulls the alarms.
My Verdict: This book was an interesting read because it’s a thriller and really does raise the question of whether you can truly know anyone. This is the first thriller that I’ve read this year that actually made me root for Will, who is supposedly a bad guy, to come out on top, because I could feel the love that Iris had for him. I honestly believed that he was set up by someone else, and went into hiding in order to help right whatever wrongs someone else did to him, so it was an unexpected plot twist when it turns out that he was in it originally but then wanted to get out of it because of Iris.
The book was well written, and the author dropped the right clues at the right time throughout the book. It was plenty to keep me guessing, and sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what will happen next. At the same time, it kept the story going forward, and gave crucial pieces of the puzzle that helps you put together the whole picture of what is going on.
Overall, I would recommend this book to read during your flights or commute.