📚The Innocent Wife (Josie Quinn Series Book 16) By Lisa Regan

When Denton’s most loved TV presenter returns home to find his wife dead at the dining table, it shatters the close-knit community. Beautiful and absolutely besotted with each other, Beau and Claudia Collins were idolized for being the perfect couple. But the devastating scene Detective Josie Quinn finds in their remote hideaway has her asking what dark secrets lurk beneath the surface of this seemingly flawless marriage?

Beau is grief-stricken by the loss of his kind-hearted wife who gave so much to others as a therapist, but Josie needs to know the significance of the small wooden puzzle box found clutched in Claudia’s hand. A prop in a popular game Beau played with his viewers to test the strength of their relationships, is it a twisted calling card, or a challenge from the killer? The broken body of one of Beau and Claudia’s assistants is found the next day, a matching little box left in the dirt beside her. It’s clear that if Beau doesn’t start telling the truth about the flaws in his marriage, those dearest to him will die.

Caught in a cat and mouse chase with disturbing revelations and a mounting body count at every turn, Josie and her team work night and day to keep Beau’s loved ones safe. What kind of calculating monster would do this? A faded newspaper article about a tragic accident is the break Josie desperately needs. But she may already be too late, an innocent child is in danger…

345pg | 57 Chapters | 6hrs over 3 days

It’s been a stressful week at work and because of that my down time hasn’t been reading. So, I didn’t get to read this in the one sitting that I wanted to. However, I managed to finish it on this gloomy Sunday afternoon with a headache and a nap.

This is the 16th book in the Josie Quinn series and as I’ve mentioned before this is the longest series of books I own. Josie Quinn has become a safe place for me. A home escape from reality. I know these characters inside and out and still they surprise me.

In this book, we are confronted by a murderer who is playing a game. There is a web being sown throughout the book and it really did keep my on my toes trying to guess the culprit.

We also see a little more of Luke, a character who has been absent from the series for quite a time. Luke was at one point Josie’s Fiancé. It was strange to see him back again and I definitely felt the same way as Noah while his presence remained.

This book is centered around secrets and lies and really how many of those can one person hold. As it turns out, A LOT. In a way, the book plays with perceptions as it focuses a lot of what the outside world sees versus what is going on behind the scenes. It was deceptive in the way it was written because as the reader, I didn’t see the full scope of all the lies/secrets until the point of reveal.

I was definitely kept guessing in this book. The little extra chapters built a picture that was hard to unravel. I couldn’t work out who the extra chapters were about or why they were important. I only dawned on me during the reveal how clever Regan had been to write this story the way she had. The structure of the plot did a great job of playing characters off one another and keeping me guessing in a loop that never gave an answer.

In this book I would say that Josie is stronger and more resilient. I think the last of her grief for her grandmother has finally been worked through and she has made it to the other side will all things intact. Her relationship with Noah is incredibly strong and knowing the characters and where they started versus where they are now, I couldn’t think of a more compatible paring.

This was a case that kept much of the team working in shifts to get it done. It wasn’t just that the killer was playing a game but also that victims were being killed in a short window. It was very much a puzzle without the last piece.

Historically, this series has always had a lot of chapters. However, they work well with the structure of the plot. What I mean is that the chapters flow with what is happening in the plot and the chapters are spaced correctly. I can’t stand books where each chapter is 1-2 pages long! In inserted chapters came at important point where I thought I was close to figuring things out only to be knocked back at new unknown information.

One of Josie’s biggest fears – and this isn’t spoiling anything as it’s been mentioned throughout the series – is the possibility of having children. She believes that due to her traumatic upbringing she would be a terrible mother and she won’t risk bringing a child into this world knowing that she could fail her.

I think one of the most certain things of this series is how wonderful Josie would be as a mother. Through the series, watching her interact with children, whether they’re witnesses, victims, or even Harrison, have showed what a strong maternal figure she is. I don’t know whether bringing up the question of children in this book means that it might be on the cards for the future or not, but if ever there was an opportunity for character development, this would be it for Josie.

This book gives us 2 chapters styled as epilogues and honestly, they were needed. This is just a dense plot with so many aspects coming to light that it needed more than just a generic HAE moment. I have no idea what direction the series will move in next, I just know that I am most definitely strapped in for the ride.

I give this book:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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