Judith D Collins
Her Husband's Secret
By: Emily Shiner
Publisher: Inkubator Books
Publication Date: 05/21/2023
My Rating: 5 Stars
A cheating husband. A vengeful wife. And a plan that goes terribly wrong.
When Eloise discovers her husband Jared has fathered a son with another woman, Tina, there’s no way she’s forgiving him. But divorce will leave her with nothing, thanks to a prenup.
Instead, she takes her time plotting a murderous revenge with the help of her loyal cousin Ricky. Her plan is simple – she’ll kill Jared and set Tina up to take the fall.
That way she'll stay free to inherit what she really loves: Jared's money. And with Ricky's help, it all seems possible.
What Eloise hasn't counted on is Ricky's unpredictable state of mind. Driven by a dangerous obsession with Tina, he’s slowly disconnecting from reality. Instead of following Eloise's plan, he thinks up one of his own. One that leaves Eloise in a place she never thought possible, even in her worst nightmares.
Her Husband’s Secret – the stunning psychological thriller perfect for fans of Teresa Driscoll, Freida McFadden, Daniel Hurst.
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About the Author
Emily Shiner grew up in Western North Carolina, and after going to college in Charlotte, returned to her beloved mountains to write novels that keep you up at night. She lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, menagerie of chickens, and tens of thousands of bees. When not writing, she’s reading, hiking, or drinking copious amounts of tea while daydreaming about fall.
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Q&A with Bestselling Author
Behind the Book & The Author
Exceptional Authors. Standout Books. Elevator Talk.
INTRIGUING QUESTIONS. INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW
Welcome to June 2023 #AuthorElevatorSeries —where we go behind the scenes of the book and the author. We are super excited to have with us for the first time, a favorite — the bestselling author Emily Shiner with her sixteenth novel—a twisty must-read domestic suspense thriller, HER HUSBAND'S SECRET. Out Now!
Let’s dive in.
Q. Give us your best ELEVATOR PITCH for HER HUSBAND’S SECRET.
EMILY: HER HUSBAND’S SECRET focuses on Eloise, a woman wronged by her husband who decides to take matters of revenge into her own hands. The only thing standing in the way of her getting exactly what she wants is a pre-nup that will leave her penniless if she and her husband, Jared, divorce.
Enter: Ricky. The cousin everyone has somewhere in their family tree but nobody invites to Thanksgiving dinner. He’s completely unhinged, and no matter how hard Eloise tries to control him, he has his own agenda.
Eloise’s problems escalate when Tina, the other woman, and her son, Luke, move across the road. Although that had been part of Eloise’s plan for revenge, what happens next is out of her control.
Q. DESCRIBE your novel in three words or less.
EMILY: Revenge gone wrong.
Q. INSPIRATION: The spark that ignited the novel? Where were you when the idea came to you?
EMILY: I do the majority of my plotting and scheming on the go, whether that’s taking my daughter to her piano lesson or hiking with friends. HER HUSBAND’S SECRET came to me while sitting in the piano teacher’s living room. I was scribbling as fast as possible to get everything down when I heard their lesson drawing to a close!
JC: The character, Ricky (the cousin) is one you would NOT want to share an elevator with, for sure. He was a total riot! The most unhinged, creepy, witty, and delusional character, ever. You never know what to expect from him.
Q. Emily, you really get into Ricky’s mind. How much fun was it creating this character? Please, do tell us more.
EMILY: I adore Ricky, I honestly do. He’s probably my favorite character I’ve ever written, and part of that is because I just allowed my mind to wander and stream-of-consciousness to flow while writing him. He’s so desperate to do the right thing and is fiercely loyal when he wants to be.
At the heart of it, Ricky is not a bad guy. He needs help, he’s manipulated by his cousin, Eloise, and he makes poor choices, but I honestly believe he’s doing his best.
As we say in the south, bless his heart.
Q. WRITING: Do you have a favorite chapter or scene in the novel you enjoyed writing the most?
EMILY: I’m sure this will be concerning to some readers, but there is one chapter from Ricky’s POV towards the end of the book that I wrote in a hurry, almost like I had to get it out of me before I lost it, and then it was this huge relief to have it completed. I sat back, almost exhausted, then made my husband read it to tell me what he thought. He read it, gave me a side-eye, then went outside to work in the yard (probably just to get away from me). It’s so dark but I think it perfectly encapsulates Ricky and really shows his struggles.
Q. NOVELS: You just keep getting better and surprising us. You crank out a lot of novels. Tell us a little about your journey.
EMILY: Oh, geez, thank you! I feel like every book I write is my best one. Along the way I’ve learned how to better plot out what’s going on, how to give my characters more depth, and I think I’ve really found my voice. In addition, I work with two incredible editors and read a ton when I’m not writing. We all know reading is key to writing and that it’s good to read outside your genre. I love fantasy novels, a little bit of horror, and romance as well as thrillers.
Q. FAVORITE THING: What is your favorite thing about HER HUSBAND’S SECRET?
EMILY: Oh, how it ends, for sure! I don’t want to give it away for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. But if you read HER HUSBAND’S SECRET and get to the final chapter, you’ll definitely see who I was rooting for.
JC: Readers, you are going to love the ending!
Now for more up close and personal with Emily, below!
FAVORITE THING ABOUT WHERE YOU RESIDE?
The mountains, for sure! If you follow me on Instagram you can sometimes see pictures from when I’ve been hiking.
Daffodils! To the point I carried them in my wedding. When I was really little, my mom told me to pluck all the heads off the dandelions to keep them from spreading in the yard. Imagine her surprise when I got the flowers confused and brought her over one hundred daffodil blooms. We had pans of flowers in every room of the house!
Tea. Any and all, hot or cold. Preferably with honey.
Morning! I get pretty grumpy past eight pm. By 4:30-5:00 am I’ve got a cup of tea and I’m already writing.
FAVORITE HOLIDAY OR SEASON?
The fall, for sure. I love it all—the gorgeous leaves, soups and stews because it’s chilly outside, doing lots of baking, and the last harvest from the garden.
WHEN YOU RECEIVE A SPARK OF INSPIRATION FOR A BOOK:
If I don’t have time to hop right over to my computer and start writing then I’ll jot down a few notes to make sure I don’t forget anything. But if I’m home and not too busy, I immediately start typing. When inspiration hits like that it really gets me in the flow!
DESCRIBE ONE THING ON YOUR DESK, CURRENTLY.
Four Funko Pop! figures. I have a weeping angel from Dr. Who, Suzanne Warren from Orange is the New Black, Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, and Groot.
WHICH DO YOU ENJOY WRITING MORE: DIALOGUE OR INTERNAL THOUGHTS?
Internal thoughts, for sure. I love that train-of-thought writing.
DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE WRITING?
Not usually because I get distracted singing along. Sometimes I will turn on thunderstorm sounds from myNoise.
YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM? (Or would you prefer none of them)?
I’m not great at social media, but I’m trying to be better because that’s the best way to connect with readers! I’m most active on Instagram, although I did just set up a reader group on Facebook, so let’s hang out. We can share pictures of our pets and talk about our favorite books!
A FAVORITE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE?
Malaprops in Asheville, NC.
THE LAST BOOK YOU RAVED ABOUT?
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.
WISE MESSAGE OR ADVICE FROM YOUR GRANDPARENTS (OR ELDERS)
Every day above ground is a good day.
COULD YOU RECOMMEND ANY BOOKS THAT YOU HAVE READ RECENTLY AND LOVED?
The Foster Family by Nicole Trope. In addition to being suspenseful, Gordon reminded me a lot of my grandfather.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON TODAY?
I’m finalizing edits for my second book with Bookouture. I think you’re going to love it!
BEST PART OF BEING AN AUTHOR?
Connecting with readers.
AT WHAT AGE DID YOU CONSIDER BECOMING A WRITER?
Ever since I was a little kid! I just didn’t know it was something I could actually do until recently.
AT WHAT AGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO BACK FOR A REDO?
Oh, gosh, nope, I don’t want to go back. I think life just keeps getting better.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO SPEND A RAINY AFTERNOON?
Reading, doing puzzles, maybe watching The Great British Baking Show with my daughter.
A SMELL YOU LOVE?
WHAT ARE YOU FREAKISHLY BAD AT?
Remembering the words to songs—but trust me, I will make up my own.
IF YOU WERE NOT A WRITER, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL CAREER?
Owning a bakery! I love getting bread in the oven early in the morning and am always dropping baked goods off with my friends.
WHEN THINGS BREAK, DO YOU PREFER TO FIX THEM OR REPLACE THEM?
Replace them. My dad taught me to be pretty confident that I can fix most anything with a little time and effort, and it’s held pretty true.
FAVORITE TYPE OF WORKOUT?
Pilates and hiking.
THANK YOU, Emily, for spending time with us today!
Readers, be sure and pick up HER HUSBAND'S SECRET. Cannot wait to hear your thoughts.
Available now in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.
Emily Shiner, the queen of revenge plots, returns following You Can't Hide (5 stars) with her latest knockout, highly addictive thriller, HER HUSBAND'S SECRET. A revenge plan goes wrong in this dangerous twisted game. Who will come out standing in this intense competition?
Ricky is one of the creepiest characters you will ever meet! Superb! A fast-paced, surprise-packed treat.
Jared: A wealthy cheating husband.
Eloise: Realtor. A vengeful, greedy wife.
Ricky: Eloise's unhinged, creepy, delusional—not-so-bright cousin.
Tina: Single great mom. Works at a daycare—sweet, poor, naïve.
Luke: Her adorable three-year-old son.
Eloise is a scheming wife. Her husband, Jared, owns a large PR firm. They live in a mega house, and she has everything anyone would want. Eloise is a successful realtor and sells million-dollar homes. Her husband finances her projects and her wardrobe. But she does not need to work. She is glamorous but grew up poor.
But he was unfaithful, and he must pay.
Eloise has a PLAN. When she married Jared, she had to sign a prenup. She knows he cheated years ago. Ricky, her crazy cousin, sent her photos of a woman who used to work as a bartender and her husband kissing. This went on for months until he ended it. He does not know she knows.
They quit seeing each other years ago, but Eloise suspects Tina's son is Jared's but he does not know. Eloise and Jared were not able to have children.
Unlike most wives, she WANTS to put her husband and Tina together to reconnect them. She wants people to see them together to help her plot. The only way she will get Jared's money is— if he is DEAD.
So her PLAN is for Ricky, her crazy cousin, to kill Jared and set up Tina to take the fall. Then Eloise will get the money.
She knows Tina did not know Jared was married when she was seeing him and he left her and even gave her a fake name. Eloise does not care. She wants Jared's money. The rest is collateral damage.
Eloise's manipulation begins with a new program for first-time homeowners: single moms, vets, and those wanting to get out of renting with creative financing.
She has one person in mind—Tina.
Tina currently rents a low-end apartment with her roommate Paula. However, they will have to get a new renter for the third bedroom, and Luke, her three-year son, has to start sleeping in her room. She wants a better life for her son. But her daycare salary is not enough.
Eloise plans it and gives Ricky (mostly strung out on drugs or alcohol) enough money to be their new tenant. He moves in, and he is so CREEPY. He is obsessed with Tina. He wants Tina for himself. But he must follow the plan per his cousin, Eloise. Tina is afraid of him, and rightly so—a stalker.
Tina wants out of the apartment and away from Ricky. Eloise knows she goes to the library, plants fliers there, and tells all the librarians and businesses about her new plan. She, of course, pays a hefty down payment herself and meets Tina like she is her best friend and sells her the house directly across from hers. Convenient, right?
Eloise plays the friendly neighbor and BFF, sending her husband to help her move. Even gives her her husband's business card—a dinner out, etc. Of course, he is shocked, and so is Tina. They do not let on like they know one another. How is this happening?
Eloise keeps putting them together. She senses Jared may know this is his son since he looks like him. Eloise continues to manipulate and orders the DNA test to make sure. But when she learns Jared had an appointment with his attorney, she knows they must put the plan into motion NOW.
This is where the book picks up speed. INTENSE! Ricky becomes further unglued between Eloise paying him money and his conflicting obsession with Tina. He wants to be with Tina. She has no clue Ricky is Eloise's cousin.
Do not expect it to go smoothly if you hire someone like delusional crazy Ricky (that is strung out on drugs or drunk) to kill someone. Eloise also makes a mistake in her plan and does not count on Ricky losing it.
Who will die?
Who will be charged?
Who will get the money in the end?
Told from POVs: Eloise, Tina, and Ricky.
HER HUSBAND'S SECRET is a creepy, spine-tingling, utterly addictive tale of obsession/revenge domestic suspense mixed with dark, twisted humor! Do not miss this one.
Again Shiner is on FIRE, once again. Highly creative, like nothing I have read. I LOVED THIS BOOK!
OMG! Shiner gets the award for creating the most unhinged, CREEPY, delusional, and funniest character ever—RICKY! His mind?? Man, she is imaginative. I was holding my breath to see what would pop up in his mind next! I am still laughing. The Clorox was hilarious.
I read a lot of thrillers, and they must stand out to get 5 Stars. I have read 148 books YTD May-(primarily thrillers), and trust me, HER HUSBAND'S SECRET is STAND OUT! So much better than expected—not the typical love triangle. I got no sleep until I finished this book, dying to see how it would turn out—I loved the satisfying conclusion.
Tense and twisty, you will read this in ONE sitting! For fans of authors Kaira Rouda, Daniel Hurst, and Freida McFadden.
Great characterization! I loved Tina and Luke. You will sympathize with them. Eloise was sneaky and manipulative. Ricky was so creepy and scary! Jared is not so nice, but he does the right thing in the end.
HER HUSBAND'S SECRET will have you guessing until the final page is turned. A perfect beach read. Highly recommend it for those who enjoy dark, twisted humor mixed with your domestic thrillers. If you have not read her books, get started—loving this NC author! An auto-read author.
Thanks to #InkubatorBooks for a gifted e-ARC via #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased the hardcover copy for my home library.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 5 💙 Stars
Pub Date: May 21, 2023