Book Reviews

The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner

I purchased The Perfect Husband on a 2nd & Charles haul a few years ago. In fact, my mom made a note of how many “husband-themed” books I had purchased that day. This was before I really knew Lisa Gardner and fell in love with her books, so it was just happenstance that I picked it up. I will say that she has gotten more talented over time.

The Story

Tess was only eighteen when she married Jim Beckett, a decorated police officer. Having grown up in an abusive household, she thought she’d found her savior in Jim. But he quickly showed a dark, controlling side and an explosive rage that, unbeknownst to Tess, resulted in his committing multiple murders. When Tess finally put the pieces together, she helped the police capture Jim. But now two y ears later, he’s escaped from prison, and Tess knows he’s going after her.Tess isn’t about to sit still and be turned into a victim once more. Leaving her daughter in the protective custody of the police, she travels to Arizona where she intends to hire the infamous mercenary J.T. Dillon to teach her how to protect herself. J.T. has had enough of life, having lost too many of his personal battles, and is content is drink himself into oblivion. But Tess refuses to go away, and J.T. realizes that she’s his one chance to redeem himself.

Meanwhile, the police are on a manhunt for Jim, who has started killing again. Finally, everyone realizes that the only way to capture the elusive Jim is to set Tess up as a bait, leading to a breath-stealing climax.

My Thoughts

To put it in perspective, The Perfect Husband was published in 1999. It’s very clear that this book is pre-MeToo, and before all of the moves for female equality, as well as before all of the movements for equality for all. I’ve read a few of those in the last few years, and they always just sit wrong with me.

I’m glad that The Perfect Husband wasn’t my first Lisa Gardner book. I don’t think that I would have liked her as much. This book did go into my running “to be donated or sold to 2nd & Charles” box. Here’s why…

I’m not a fan of forced romance, and the relationship between J.T. and Tess was just way too forced. Not only was it forced, it was sexually aggressive too. Their interactions were just uncomfortable. She comes in as this terrified woman, and he’s this big aggressive assassin, and it just didn’t work for me.

Beyond the sexually explicitness, the rest of the book was fairly clean. (Especially if you compare it to False Witness!) It’s a domestic dispute, but the husband is a crazy serial killer who gets caught, then breaks out of prison, and then kills more people. It’s quite suspenseful, when you aren’t being annoyed by the most unrealistic love story.

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