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The Second Husband


The Second Husband

Kate White weaves another tangled web of a thriller in THE SECOND HUSBAND, which is set on the Connecticut shore in Westport.

Emma Hawke suddenly became a widow when her husband, Derrick Rand, was shot and killed in what appeared to be a random street crime. Within weeks of his death, she sold everything and moved to an apartment in New York City. She was thoroughly investigated by the police, and no charges were filed against her or anyone else. The case went cold for years. As she overcame her grief, she met widower Tom Halliday and married him. His stepdaughter, Brittany, is living with them while interning at his company. She and Emma have a strained relationship, which only adds to the latter’s already elevated stress level.

"The suspense ratchets up as the story moves along. Few clues are solvable here, which keeps readers turning each page at a brisk pace."

Emma and Tom have settled into a comfortable life. However, that is interrupted when a detective shows up on their doorstep asking more questions about the murder, which is still unsolved. Emma’s life becomes a nightmare as the investigation probes deeper into her relationships with Derrick, Tom and others. One of the main questions in her mind is how the authorities will interpret the circumstances surrounding her meeting Tom.

Emma hires an attorney to help her through the police inquiry. He advises her to speak to them only if he is present; suggests that Tom get his own lawyer in case he also becomes a suspect; and tells both of them to think about all of their social and business activities that occurred around the time of Derrick’s death. Emma owns a successful business as a forecaster of “generational trends” and has an office in a building on their property. Her employees know nothing of her history or current situation. Tom has his own thriving business, and both are quite busy. But did they ever cross paths before Derrick was killed?

As the narrative unfolds, readers learn that some expensive original art was inherited by Derrick and his siblings, but questions arise about their authenticity. Also, Tom’s chief of staff is murdered, and he discovers that someone has embezzled half a million dollars from his company. This all takes a toll on Emma and her marriage. To make matters worse, she finds three anonymous threatening notes that further shake her up. Who possibly could be responsible for these? Who has such a hatred for her?

The suspense ratchets up as the story moves along. Few clues are solvable here, which keeps readers turning each page at a brisk pace. Kate White has an impeccable talent for straightforward plotting and a writing style that never fails to engage. THE SECOND HUSBAND is a perfect beach read.

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on June 30, 2022

The Second Husband
by Kate White