Publication Date: 06 September 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Author via Audible (In exchange for an honest Review)
Audio or Book: Audiobook
Length: 9 hrs 16 mins
Narrator: Mark Torres
In this explosive psychological thriller, Allen and Cynthia Hunt are a well-educated, upper middle-class San Francisco couple who experience the ultimate domestic nightmare. A deranged, seedy truck driver barges into their lives, blackmailing Cynthia into becoming his "drive-by" wife. Billy has led a lonely, bleak existence on the road and has always dreamed of “having him a beautiful, lovin’ woman to come home to.” Unable to go to the police, Allen and Cynthia desperately try to fight off the twisted stalker, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But the two have serious problems of their own. The story spirals into a tangle of deceit, deception, and murder. Can Allen and Cynthia unite and defeat the diabolical maniac from the hills, or will he destroy them both?
Previous reviews by Author:
Lust, Money & Murder
When Mike contacted me to review this book I was so excited because I absolutely loved his previous audio book I reviewed, and have been a fan of his work since. Mike's LLM audio book was also my first audio book that I received for review and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Drive-by wife was a great listen. Mike starts off with an intriguing captivating scene that gets you intrigued and keeps you listening from the word go.
Mark has a very nice voice to listen too. His flow was steady while reading but I found his transitions to be a bit rough - sometimes within the same chapter. I could hear when it was a different recording as his voice a different pitch when he started the next sentence / paragraph. I think he got more into character as the book went a long. My favourite character he perfomed was Billy, probably because he really differentiated his voice so well compared to Alan and Cynthia.
As I have come to expect from Mike, he starts off with a great hook to kick off the book.
The characters are well rounded, each with their own ways which makes them interesting. I enjoyed the character development throughout the book, as Mike peeled away the layers of each character in different ways.
Cynthia & Alan - What an interesting couple. Cynthia is sweet, caring and smart, and Alan just got on my nerves for the first half of the book. I just wanted to smack him over the head and tell him to wake up and see what a gorgeous amazing smart wife he had. The whole mess began because Alan was a workaholic and neglected his wife which led her to be somewhere she should not have been and ended up getting attacked. I think for me, Alan had the most development throughout the story and I really warmed up to him by the end. Cynthia I connected to really easily and her love of books and working in a book store made her that much more awesome to me. Overall Watching them grow as individuals and a couple was an enjoyable journey.
Billy - I actually really liked Billy in the beginning. I felt so sorry for him initially (even though what he was doing was wrong). Over the course of the story you see how messed up he really is as his true colours started showing. It was quite an emotional roller coaster as I liked him, loathed him, was disgusted by him and then ended up feeling really sorry for him all over again. All in all BIlly is a great and entertaining characters.
Plot & Pace: 3.5/5
Mike writes romantic suspense quite well and keeps you guessing where the story might go - with a great twist in the last third of the book that I did not see coming. I enjoyed the last 3rd of the book the most. I am not sure if the pace was slow of if Mark just read slowly but I notched up the speed on my audible app to x1.5. The plot was good. I really enjoyed how the story came together at the end and we start to get answers about Billy.
Cover talk: 2/5
The cover is OK. I can see the connection to the story elements not after I have listened to the book but it wouldn't initially grab me.
The Drive-by Wife was an enjoyable listen, although I preferred Lust, Money & Murder. This is a great book for people who enjoy suspense with a dash of romance.
Other books by this Author:
Mike Wells is an American bestselling author of over 20 "unputdownable" thriller and suspense novels, including Lust, Money & Murder and Passion, Power & Sin. He is also known for his young adult books, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer, The Wrong Side of the Tracks, and Wild Child, which are used by English teachers in high schools and colleges worldwide. Formerly a screenwriter, Wells has a fast-paced, cinematic writing style. His work is often compared to that of the late Sidney Sheldon, with strong and inspiring female heroes, tightly-written scenes, engaging action/dialogue, and numerous plot twists. He currently lives in Europe and teaches part-time in the Creative Writing program at the University of Oxford.