Readers who liked Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson will enjoy The Perfect Wife, JP Delaney’s futuristic twist on the story of an amnesiac wife with a secretive husband. Abbie wakes with no memory of how she ended up in a hospital bed. Tim, her husband, is beside her, crying with joy; a Silicon Valley genius, he explains to her that she’s “artificial. Intelligent, conscious… but manmade” – a companion robot, or cobot, created five years after Abbie’s death.
Delaney’s third offering is an intriguing novel of ideas that draws on Frankenstein and the Pygmalion-Galatea myth, and plays with its themes (from AI and art to autism) just as absorbingly as recent literary fiction with similar preoccupations. However, it lacks a key thriller element: as Abbie 1 is dead and Abbie 2 is inanimate, you’re not emotionally invested in their stories and there is no suspense.
With every thriller must come a dizzying plot twist and an unforeseeable denouement, as is definitely the case here. Some readers might wish Abbie’s story had a slightly different ending, but regardless, everything about The Perfect Wife feels earned and satisfying. Thrillers, after all, are more about the journey than they are about the destination – and this journey is a captivating, deeply engrossing one.