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      A.S.A. Harrison - The Silent Wife

      A.S.A. Harrison - The Silent Wife

      A psychological thriller told from two very different perspectives, A.S.A. Harrison’s debut novel, The Silent Wife, takes elements of TV smash hit The Good Wife and Gillian Flynn’s superb Gone Girl, adds her own special ingenuity, style and wit and delivers a true winner.

      Todd Gilbert and Jodie Brett are in a bad place in their relationship. They've been together for twenty-eight years, and with no children to worry about there has been little to disrupt their affluent Chicago lifestyle. But there has also been little to hold it together, and beneath the surface lie ever-widening cracks. HE is a committed cheater. SHE lives and breathes denial. HE exists in dual worlds. SHE likes to settle scores. HE decides to play for keeps. SHE has nothing left to lose. When it becomes clear that their precarious world could disintegrate at any moment, Jodie knows she stands to lose everything. It's only now she will discover just how much she's truly capable of.

      It is Harrison’s economy of word-per-impact ratio that truly stands out. The manner in which each, lurid incident is so subtly portrayed makes readers want to scream and cheer simultaneously.

      Then there are the characters, who are so eminently unlikeable / likeable by degrees that it is all but impossible to take sides, with Todd being so self-obsessed and Jodie being so compliant you feel as though they deserve each other.

      The descriptive prose are poetic, the dialogue snappy, laced with realism and so natural it is almost as though readers are in the same room, overhearing a conversation.

      In short – rather like Gone Girl – this should be earmarked as one of the must read books of the year.

      CHRIS HIGH ||


      Canadian writer A.S.A. Harrison died from cancer on Sunday 14th April at the age of 65, just weeks before the release of her debut novel. Harrison was the author of four non-fiction books in Canada and the US, but it is for her debut novel, The Silent Wife - due for worldwide release on 25th June - that she will be remembered in the UK.

      Susan Harrison came to prominence in Toronto’s art world in the late 1960s when she participated as a performance artist and collaborator with Margaret Dragu, and courted the lifestyle and dynamics of Toronto’s internationally known art collective General Idea. In 1974, she published Orgasms, a pioneering collection of interviews with women, under the pen name A.S.A. Harrison. Harrison collaborated with Dragu on Revelations , a book of essays on striptease, and with Elly Roselle on a series of case studies in psychotherapy titled Changing the Mind, Healing the Body . She also blended her interest in personality and the occult in a humorous book on cat astrology, Zodicat Speaks, and belonged to several community groups that helped make better lives for animals.

      The Silent Wife, due to be published in the UK by Headline, took a little under a decade to complete and has received a huge amount of advance praise from crime writer heavyweights on both sides of the Atlantic, including Kate Atkinson, Tess Gerritsen, SJ Watson, Elizabeth George and Sophie Hannah. Gerritsen gave the debut novel her ‘highest recommendation’, while Sophie Hannah said: ‘As a novel about the dark side of marriage and relationships, it’s better than Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.’

      Harrison was also invited to July’s Harrogate Festival of Crime Writing by festival chair Val McDermid to take part in the Scottish crime writer’s annual ‘New Blood’ panel event, which each year showcases the best new talent in international crime writing. 'We're very saddened to hear of this news, particularly in the light of such a terrific debut novel,’ the Wire in the Blood author commented.

      Harrison’s UK editor, Headline Publishing Group’s Marion Donaldson said: ‘I was very shocked to hear the terrible news of Susan’s death. She was a hugely gifted writer, and it was a great pleasure to work with her in the run-up to our publication of The Silent Wife and we are all deeply saddened at the loss.’