Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Review: Alafair Burke’s The Wife builds suspense with depth

The Wife
Alafair Burke

Alafair Burke's 12th book is a stand-alone novel of psychological suspense and is well into the category reserved for Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Burke's book is better than either one and that's because she builds her suspense on characters with depth, and her twists, when they come, are both wily and logical and, in this case, built on a story as topical as the daily news.

Angela Powell is the wife of Jason Powell, a charismatic and brilliant economist who has become a global celebrity thanks to a book on equality as an economic tool. When Angela married him, six years before, he was a star professor with tenure and a solid career path. But his book has made him wealthy and a TV star. So when a student accuses him of sexual harassment, it's front-page news. It's also the beginning of a time of torture and misery for the Wife. Angela has a past that she dreads being dug up and publicized. Jason's actions also create problems for Angela's 13-year-old son.

Attempts to control the situation don't seem to help. Then another woman comes forward, this one claiming rape. Angela's fear and terror escalate with each daily dose of Facebook, Instagram and Google news. Soon, her own sad past rises and then, murder – and the plot moves from "he said, … she said," to how far a person will go to protect the people he or she loves. Great plot and characters and don't read the last chapter first.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles as we switch to a new provider. We are behind schedule, but we are still working hard to bring you a new commenting system as soon as possible. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to