Judith D Collins
My Darling Husband
By: Kimberly Belle
Publisher: Park Row
Publication Date: 12/28/2021
My Rating: 5 Stars +++
"Riveting suspense, truly surprising revelations, and silky smooth writing make this one unmissable! — Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Mother May I
Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…
Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.
Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.
With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle's exceptional talent for domestic suspense.
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About the Author
Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including her latest, Stranger in the Lake and The Marriage Lie, a Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Mystery & Thriller. Her books have been published in more than in a dozen languages and have been optioned for film and television. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.
I grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee, a small town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. A gorgeous area, but I couldn’t find an ounce of beauty in the place. I was too focused on planning my escape, which I made to Agnes Scott College, a liberal arts school in Atlanta for women.
It was in Atlanta that I met the Dutchman, who whisked me off to the Netherlands. What was meant to be a six-month stay turned into twelve freezing but fabulous years, during which I began checking off the countries on my to-see list. All these years later, I’ve still not seen them all.
Living abroad changed me in ways I can’t count, and though I don’t have the passport to prove it, I am in my heart and soul half Dutch. I know the culture, I speak the language like a native, I love that country like my own. It’s why you’ll find me there a good part of the year, strolling the Amsterdam canals. Website
Connect with Kimberly: Facebook Twitter Instagram Goodreads
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Available now in mass market paperback
Q&A Elevator Ride with
internationally bestselling author
"Behind the Book and the Author"
EXCEPTIONAL AUTHORS. STANDOUT BOOKS.
INTRIGUING QUESTIONS. INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW
Welcome, Kimberly! Thank you for joining us today. Our last interview was with DEAR WIFE (2019) and delighted to have you back for our #AuthorElevator Series. We cannot wait to learn more about your latest thriller everyone is talking about, MY DARLING HUSBAND and yourself.
Readers: Be sure and check out my review – Doesn’t get any better! Let us dive in!
BEHIND THE BOOK
Give Us Your Best Elevator Pitch for
MY DARLING HUSBAND
KIMBERLY: MY DARLING HUSBAND is about a mother held captive with her two children in their own home while her husband scrambles for the ransom, and the masked invader who’s about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.
Q. Describe MY DARLING HUSBAND in three words or less?
KIMBERLY: Armed home invasion
Q. INSPIRATION: The spark that ignited MY DARLING HUSBAND. Where were you when the idea came to you?
KIMBERLY: Like all fiction, My Darling Husband is a story rooted in truth. I live for much of the year in Atlanta, a city with its fair share of violent crime. Home invasions occur here often enough it’s almost easy to become numb to them…until one day it happened to people I know. Their story began much like Jade’s: an armed stranger confronting the mother and children in the garage and forcing his way inside. The ransom he demanded was an odd amount, a number he’d gotten from a bank statement pilfered from their mailbox. That family survived, but their experience got me thinking. What I would have done in that mother’s shoes? How far would I go to save my children? My answers formed the basis for Jade and Cam’s actions.
Q. SETTING: The book setting is in Atlanta (which I adore). I know you split your time between Atlanta and Amsterdam. Do you think you will ever set one of your books in the Netherlands?
KIMBERLY: I would love to set a book in Amsterdam, and I will one day. I just haven’t quite hit upon the right plot yet…but I’ll know it when it happens!
Q. Atlanta is known for their great restaurants. How cool you chose a celebrity chef and owner of a group of restaurants for Cam. Any inspiration for choosing this vocation, or a favorite restaurant of yours in Atlanta?
KIMBERLY: As for my inspiration behind Cam’s vocation in My Darling Husband, I was searching for a business that came with great risk, one that would both make him highly visible and allow him to fail spectacularly. This was the spring of 2020, when restaurants everywhere were shutting their doors thanks to COVID, and so having him own a chain of struggling restaurants was very front of mind. Even though I don’t touch the pandemic in this story (I actually used it as a plot device in the first draft, but my agent and editor asked me to remove it; they were like, “too soon!”), who doesn’t love a sexy chef?
And I have so many favorite restaurants in Atlanta, but Kevin Rathbun is a dear friend and KR Steakbar is our neighborhood go-to. And as everybody in Atlanta knows, Kevin is the real Steak King.
Q. PLOT: What an expertly twisty plot (s)! So many secrets, action, and the intensity was so realistic. Could you share how you keep all these moving parts organized? (I know you love organization).
KIMBERLY: Lists! Lots and lots of lists lol. But you’re right; my stories have a lot of moving pieces, so I do like to think through them beforehand. I write from a fairly detailed outline, but even the best of plans can go sideways once I get into the weeds of writing. Sometimes the pacing is off, or a character’s actions don’t quite fit the personality I’ve given them. Sometimes a character I didn’t plan for walks into a scene and has something essential to say, like Evan in The Marriage Lie. It’s why I always give myself room to rework the story as I’m writing it—like the interview chapters with Cam, for example; they weren’t in my outline either—but my beginnings and endings rarely ever change.
Q. TOPICS: Name one-three topics or themes addressed in the novel.
KIMBERLY: Secrets in a marriage, money (having it and needing it), the lengths a parent will go to in order to protect his/her children.
BEHIND THE AUTHOR
Now some fun personal facts
Georgia with about half the year in Amsterdam.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT WHERE YOU RESIDE?
For Georgia, the weather in the spring and fall, the always getting to be outside. I love writing on the patio, a shady spot overlooking the pool.
In contrast, Amsterdam’s summers are much more mild, and my favorite thing hands down about is taking out our boat. We pack a bottle of wine and some snacks and putter up and down the canals, and it’s like motoring through a postcard!
I love both. Mornings are for writing, evenings are for long, boozy dinners or snuggling up on the couch.
Dogs! I have two—Daisy a one-year old King Charles Cavalier, and a very old, very grumpy Maltipoo.
YOUR SECRET TALENT?
I speak Dutch without an accent. Most Dutch people think I’m one of them.
FAVORITE TV SERIES? (Or Movie/Video) binge-watch, series, etc.?
Lately I’ve been into the Formula 1 series on Netflix, which has turned me into a fan. Going to one of the races is a bucket-list item, I hope in 2022.
WHAT BOOK IS CURRENTLY ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND OR READING LIST OR BOOK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND?
I am currently reading Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone, #9 in the Outlander series, and just got approved for A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham. I’ve heard so many great things about both!
NAME A TRAIT YOU INHERITED FROM YOUR DAD OR MOM? (Good or bad)
I can pick things up–socks, pencils, pieces of paper—with my toes. It’s a dubious talent I inherited from my father, along with his thick curly hair and olive skin.
A FAVORITE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE?
I love Foxtale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, a charming town north of Atlanta. It’s a little far for me, but always worth the drive.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR SON OR DAUGTHER?
My husband and I had three rules when the kids were growing up: 1) don’t hurt yourself, 2) don’t hurt anybody else and 3) don’t get pregnant before you mean to. We felt like that kind of covered it all. Our kids are now in their twenties, and the advice still applies.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING AT MIDNIGHT LAST EVENING?
Sound asleep. We are in semi-lockdown here in Amsterdam, with the stores and restaurants closing at 5 pm, so my husband and I have begun a new weekend tradition. We start with a long lunch somewhere in the city, then make our way home along the canals, stopping at bars along the way. We call it Sunday Funday, and we’re home and in bed early, by ten pm.
HOW HAVE YOUR EARLIER JOBS HELPED YOU OR BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN YOUR WRITING CAREER?
My first career was in nonprofit fundraising, a job that helped me hone my writing skills. Fundraising letters, website texts, scripts for meetings and events…I learned very quickly how to drill down to a powerful, poignant message that tugs at the heartstrings.
WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE?
Plotter! I write from an outline, but even the most detailed plans can go sideways once I get into the weeds of writing. Sometimes the pacing is off, or a character’s actions don’t fit their personality. Sometimes a character I didn’t plan for walks into a scene and has something essential to say. I always give myself room to rework the story as I’m writing, but my beginnings and endings rarely change.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON TODAY?
I’m currently working on a story about an Instagram influencer who, after one of her posts goes viral, finds herself on the receiving end of a social media dogpile. And the threats don’t stay confined to online. Very real danger is circling ever closer to her and her family, especially once her assistant goes missing. It’s a story that explores cancel culture, our need to be seen and admired by strangers, and the dangers we can face when our private lives become public.
PIE OR CAKE?
Cake! OMG and preferably the cheap, grocery store kind piled high with buttercream icing flowers. I always choose the corner piece and eat every single bite.
BEST PART OF BEING AN AUTHOR?
So much of what happens once we send a book out into the world is out of our control. Market trends, publicity that doesn’t quite catch on, a pandemic that comes out of nowhere. Success isn’t always predictable, and penning a bestseller often feels like a mixture of hard work and pixie dust…which is why I’ve worked very hard to find my tribe. Fellow authors who are not competition but a refuge. I use them as sounding boards, brainstorm buddies, and accountability partners. I ask them questions, get their advice, let them talk me off the ledge. They make this job so much more fun and fulfilling.
WHAT AREA WOULD YOU LIKE ONE OF FUTURE BOOKS TO BE SET?
Amsterdam! You heard it first here -- it will happen one day, I just haven’t come across the right plot yet.
SOMETHING YOU WILL NEVER TRY AGAIN?
A few of my so-called girlfriends have talked me into all kinds of crazy stuff – ziplining and rappelling and flying in a glide plane, basically any terrifying thing that takes us up in the sky without a safety net. They keep saying our next mission is to go sky diving, but that’s where I draw the line. I didn’t love those other things, either. Once and never again!
THE ONE FOOD YOU COULD NEVER GIVE UP?
Cheese. Holland has so much of it, and I am on a mission to try it all.
Thank you, Kimberly! Always fun & fascinating.
Firstly, your idea of Sunday Funday in Amsterdam with the boat, canals, bars, shops restaurants —sounds heavenly. I want to tag along! Secondly, what you are working on with the IG social media influencer sounds intriguing. We will be keeping an eye out for this one!
Readers, MY DARLING HUSBAND is OUT TODAY! I cannot wait for you to read it and hear your thoughts. A Top Book of 2021! Check out the praise and my review below.
Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Kobo | Apple Books | Google Play | Bookshop.org | Libro FM | Chirp | Audible
Available in Hardcover, paperback, e-book, audiobook, and audio CD formats by Park Row Books.
Kimberly Belle is the bestselling author of “Dear Wife” and “The Marriage Lie.” Now she has a new thriller coming out about Jade and Cam Lasky, a happily married couple with two kids and a great business, whose lives were going splendidly until a masked invader broke into their home and demanded a ransom or else he would hurt their kids. Turns out this was not the best time for Cam to tell Jade that he was actually in debt and that the restaurant business wasn’t working out as well as he’d made it seem. But wait: Jade suddenly realizes the invader’s eyes look familiar. Was the invasion not as random as it seemed?! Hold onto your hats as things happen at a break-neck pace. —Good Morning America
"In the kind of twisty page-turner that readers know they can rely on Belle to deliver, a mother fights for the lives of her children while trying to unravel her husband’s secret life. Riveting suspense, truly surprising revelations, and silky smooth writing make this one unmissable!" — Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Mother May I
"This novel should come with two warnings: a) clear your schedule because once you start you can’t stop, and b) hold on tight because you’re in for one hell of a ride. Gripping, intense and utterly binge-worthy, MY DARLING HUSBAND had me holding my breath more times than I can count. Fabulously constructed, brilliantly layered and secretive characters, plus heroines you’ll cheer for, Belle once again proves she’s a true master of domestic suspense. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up now!” — Hannah Mary McKinnon, bestselling author of Sister Dear and You Will Remember Me
This heart in your throat thriller doesn’t quit. From the moment the masked gunman shows up in our protagonist’s garage, you are hooked. A ticking clock, a deadline, an unreasonable demand, an underlying mystery - what more could you want from a home invasion thriller? Add this to your to-read list immediately!
—Catherine McKenzie, USA Today bestselling author of You Can’t Catch Me and Six Weeks to Live
"This captivating thriller from Belle (Dear Wife) opens with celebrity chef Cam Lasky—Atlanta’s much touted “steak king”—trying to explain to a TV reporter why he doesn’t deserve to be called “the most hated man in America” because of certain accusations against him that arose following the home invasion several months earlier that involved his wife, Jade, and their two young children being taken hostage. Flash back to the fateful day. At work, Cam is dealing with suspicious insurance adjusters after a fire destroyed his popular signature restaurant. Jade’s distraught call forces Cam to refocus his priorities—she and the children have been ambushed by a masked man hiding in their garage. The kidnapper knows details about their lives, including Cam’s work schedule, and wants exactly $734,296. Raising the cash is a problem, because, unknown to Jade, Cam is deeply in debt. Cam wonders whether the fire was set by his loan shark or by a vengeful former employee. Several well-placed twists deliciously shake up the brisk plot, which smoothly moves among the viewpoints of Jade, Cam, and the kidnapper. Belle knows how to keep the pages turning."
Atlanta restaurateur Cam Lasky seemingly has it all, until a fire at his eatery and a terrifying home invasion threaten to destroy all he holds dear. With multiple perspectives adding to the mystery, this is another clever, fast-paced thriller from Belle. For readers of Lisa Gardner and Chevy Stevens.
—Library Reads (a December pick)
Powerhouse international bestselling author Kimberly Belle returns following Stranger in the Lake with her 7th novel —MY DARLING HUSBAND, a tour de force suspense thriller of greed and revenge—her best!
Insanely INTENSE!! Psychological thrillers do not get any better than this scorcher!
What goes on behind closed doors is not always pretty. Sins of the father (husband) come back to haunt—in ways you cannot imagine. What makes this scary is it could happen to anyone! Saddle up. Get ready for the ride of your life.
One of my favorite authors, I would not miss a book. I love all the KB babies, but these two titles: My Darling Husband and Dear Wife, are my absolute favorites! (those nasty husbands keeping their wives in the dark), but lookout, they are more powerful and more intelligent than they know.
Set in Atlanta, we meet a married power couple, Jade and Cam Lasky. A handsome couple, they live in the exclusive Buckhead area, gorgeous house, and meticulously decorated.
Cam is quite the celebrity chef. If you live in Atlanta, you know how they love their upscale steak and seafood restaurants (Think, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group).
They own numerous restaurants for the elite with long waiting lists. They also have two perfect children, Beatriz and Baxter who attend the best schools.
Beatriz is a child violin prodigy (one smart cookie, independent, and sassy) and would love to see a movie or TV series based on this novel. (I see someone like Mckenna Grace). Beatriz is one badass little girl. (great job, Kimberly)
Jade was a top designer, and how they met, but after she had the kids, she left her job- busy with the kids, husband, and their lives.
It starts when Jade suspects some man is following her in Whole Foods and sees him everywhere she goes around town, running errands. What does he want? She worries about the kids.
Then one afternoon, after picking up the kids from school, they pull in the garage, and there is a masked man with a gun. Her worst nightmare. She does not think it is the same man. They are trapped. A scared mother with her two children. How will this end? What does he want? He can have anything he wants as long as he does not harm the kids or her.
Being their house has lots of glass, he forces them into the kitchen, preparing the kids snacks and making friends with the little boy. He threatens Jade that if she tries anything, the kids are dead right in front of her.
He then gets them in the media room, which has no windows. They do have a security system, but he forces her to disarm it. Next, there are the nanny cameras. (lots of run and drama around these). This person seems to know a lot about their house, and Baxter young, naive, and funny.
All the while, the man demands a specific amount of money. $734,296 in cash, which is odd. At the right time, he will tell her to call her husband and have the money brought there by 7 pm or else they are dead.
Cam is not having a good day. One of his best money-making restaurant kitchen caught fire, with a wiring problem and pretty much destroyed, and now no income coming in from that restaurant with one hundred thirteen employees to deal with. Millions of dollars and now an investigation expecting foul play.
Of course, his wife Jade is unaware they are in debt. The restaurants have investors and partners, plus they have no liquid assets, and they live above their means. So Jade thinks this amount will be no problem. They have plenty. Wrong. They have no money!
Cam is sweating and running all over town, trying to gather as much money as he can on credit cards and calling in favors. He cannot allow anything to happen to his family. He has to turn to some shady characters in the wrong area of town, but not his first visit. Cam has hidden things from everyone, and now karma is coming back around.
Belle racks up the tension and suspense in a race against time and a countdown from the early afternoon to evening with a deadline of 7:00 pm. From Beatriz escaping, some other tricks Jade tries, and then the nosy neighbor comes to the door. OMG this scene!
These plot twists are absolutely nerve-wracking!
Jade tries to give her hints and wants her to take the little boy to keep him safe. Something is off. So good!
In their search for Beatriz somewhere in the house, she realizes this man seems to be a father and appears he knows about their life. Who is he, and why is he targeting their family? They are not allowed to call the cops, or they are dead.
As the riveting countdown continues, we slowly learn about some of Cam’s underhanded business dealings. He is on his way fighting traffic but does not have the amount of money requested. Showtime.