True or False? With the Best Swindlers, One Can Never Tell
Bestselling author Karen Hamilton takes readers into the art of the scam and its dangerous consequences in her most recent thriller, THE EX-HUSBAND.
A text from an unknown number lights up Charlotte’s phone: “I know what you both did.” Even though Charlotte’s six-month-old venture is legitimate—an event-and-travel-planning business tailoring luxury European destinations or seaside escapes to the rich—she can’t seem to escape her past. Charlotte used to “have the Midas touch.” Now she has no control. She’s been kidding herself “thinking that she could turn over the proverbial new leaf without fully exorcising the past.”
Charlotte “imagines the words truthfully or untruthfully being automatically placed at the end of her sentences, like a comic strip. True or untrue. No middle ground.”
Four years before, Sam and Charlotte met on a Caribbean cruise—she a travel consultant and he a blackjack dealer in the ship’s casino. Sam was suave, handsome, and mesmerizing; Charlotte fell for him completely. Being with him, she’d developed a hunger for the finer things in life; they made her feel special. That’s why she’d been seduced by him.
Together, they scammed wealthy cruise passengers for money and jewelry. But Charlotte always justified it with her belief that they only targeted those who had a sense of superiority and had money to spare. She thought Sam operated by the same rules—they were his, after all—but she was wrong.
Eighteen months ago, Charlotte and Sam’s partnership ended in Barbados when they disembarked from a cruise ship. Sam left her in the hands of customs agents while he escaped with their money. Charlotte vowed to get her share of their spoils back, along with a divorce.
Now, as Charlotte hosts an event for the uber-rich on a private superyacht in the Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad, and Tobago, someone—a person she’s dubbed “Whoever It Is”—stalks her every move as if they’re watching her. They demand “blood money.” Sam had tried to contact her, but she didn’t answer her phone. Now he’s not responding. It terrifies Charlotte that someone is confronting her for her past wrongdoings.
As the blackmailer continues to hound her, even leaving clues on her pillow in her cabin, Charlotte tries to figure out who is out to get her and why. Soon, accidents happen. She’s certain that Whoever It Is not only wants revenge, but also wants her dead.
Read the rest of my review and interview with Karen Hamilton in The Big Thrill.