After working on Capitol Hill, a career as an attorney in Washington, DC, and writing more than 40 romance novels, bestselling author Darby Kane now gives readers her second psychological thriller, THE REPLACEMENT WIFE.
Elisa and Harris Wright have worked hard to provide a loving home for their son, Nathan. They want Nathan to have an idyllic childhood—Harris supported and raised his younger brother, Josh, after their alcoholic parents died in a car crash. Now, Josh eats dinner with them almost every night and spends weekends hanging out with Nathan.
Josh’s wife died in a freak accident years before, and his fiancée, Abby, vanished seven months ago. Elisa has tried hard to include Josh in their close family, supporting him through his grief. But that changes when Elisa stumbles across something hidden in a closet in Josh’s home as she looks for the vacuum.
Now, she just wants Josh out of their house and out of their lives. Even being around him makes her ill, and Harris can’t understand her change in attitude.
Elisa wishes she could tell Harris what she’s found that might prove Josh is a murderer, but she’s not sure he’ll believe her. Since a shooting at her workplace 11 months before, she’s suffered symptoms of PTSD. She’s anxious and fragile, still taking meds to take the edge off. Everyone considers her unstable.
When Josh brings a new girlfriend home to meet them, Elisa can’t believe he’s dating when Abby is still missing. Although Josh insists Abby left him, Elisa knows she wouldn’t have disappeared without saying goodbye—they’d become close friends. And how many “terrible tragedies” can one man have?
Now, Josh and his girlfriend, Rachel, seem to always be at Elisa’s house, letting themselves in without even knocking on the door. Rachel is quick to act like Elisa’s ally, but then strange things happen that unsettle Elisa. She doesn’t know if Rachel is a friend or foe.
Elisa knows she’s not crazy, but everyone else is not so sure. What she doesn’t know is that her family is on a predetermined course for implosion. Can Elisa prove that Josh is not who he seems before another of his women turns up dead?
Kane writes the narrative from Elisa’s point of view, but tantalizingly inserts chapters by an anonymous character who’s biding their time to commit the perfect crime. Here, she talks with The Big Thrill about her inspiration, how her prior career as a DC attorney informs her novels, and writing thrillers besides writing romance.
Read the rest of my review and interview in The Big Thrill.