It took me about a week to read A Perfect Husband by Douglas Wickard. I was sent the novel by the author to review, and I want to thank him for allowing me to read this book and review it.
I have to preface this review by saying that I tend to dislike books that are written in present tense. Some will argue that it’s the modern way to write or it’s a style, and I have to say that I agree it’s a style. However, just as some painters have their own style that is difficult to imitate by other artists, writing in present tense is difficult to do well in a full-length novel. Not to say that Wickard isn’t a good writer; he is a very good writer. I just feel that this book fell short of the mark. It would have read better in past tense, in my opinion.
I can see why he might try to write in present tense, to keep you in the moment, unsure of what’s happening next. However, I have a hard time reading present tense. Somehow a few authors manage it. Suzanne Collins is a famous example of someone who can do it, and I had no trouble reading The Hunger Games and liking it even with the present tense. Still, I think present tense is better left to the short stories and poems, where it can’t overwhelm or underwhelm you. There were a few times I had to go back and reread in order to really catch what was going on, especially when it went back and forth between past and present tense as the characters had flashbacks.
But I digress.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story. A recently divorced woman decides to leave the City (New York City, that is) and move out into the country to a cabin that her father had built long ago. It’s been abandoned for several years, and during that time, a serial killer – whose psychosis makes him kill women as his “brides” – has taken up the cabin and the surrounding woods as his killing ground. You get to be inside the heads of the protagonist, antagonist, the antagonist’s wife, a couple of the murdered girls, and a couple other characters as well during the telling of the story. It was interesting, to say the least. As someone who enjoys Criminal Minds and other psychological crime shows, as well as having studied psychology, the antagonist was a great character. In fact, I really wanted to know more about him than I did about even the main character.
The protagonist had her faults, and I couldn’t completely sympathize with her – our personalities are very different, I think – but I was still rooting for her towards the end of the book. That’s a point for the author, in my book. (No pun intended.)
All in all, I would recommend this book if you like suspense, mysteries and crime novels of this kind. As long as you don’t mind the present tense – and I know many people who don’t care for them – this book is definitely a good read.
WOW!! Thank you so much for your great review! I understand the first person thing and quite frankly…the only reason I chose ‘it’ versus third person reflective was that I wanted that ‘there, there’ quality to the action… some readers have loved it and others… have not! The question is…do I complete the sequel the same as the first? You are most gracious, and I so appreciate your point of view! Many thanks for taking the time!! Douglas Wickard
My first instinct is that you wrote the first book in first person, so any sequel would also have to be in first person. Otherwise it would feel off, in my opinion. However, these our your books; do what feels right to you. While you’re supposed to take into account your readers – and you should – it is still your story to tell. Tell it the way you feel it should be told.
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