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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Honeymoon Trap

BiblioMysteries: Short Tales About Deadly Books


Publisher: Road

Publication Date: 12/06/2022

Format: e-book 5 Stars

A pulp novel has a book critic wondering if his new wife is out to kill him in this thrilling story by the New York Times–bestselling author of Nine Lives.

When Henry arrives with his wife, Alice, for their honeymoon at a New England lake house, he encounters a strange sense of déjà vu. Plenty of vacation homes have shelves full of books, but this one has midcentury-American crime novels by the likes of John D. MacDonald, Ed McBain, Rex Stout, Patricia Highsmith, and more. It’s just like Henry’s collection back home.

There is one book. However, that’s unfamiliar: The Honeymoon Trap. As Henry reads it, he finds the story has uncanny similarities with his own situation—newlyweds on a honeymoon after a whirlwind romance. When Alice begins to act suspiciously, Henry’s grip on reality slowly comes loose. He can’t stop reading the book and wondering what his wife is up to. He also believes he may be caught in a trap, and getting out of it is going to be murder . . .

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My Review

Bestselling author Peter Swanson returns following Nine Lives with a twisty thriller, THE HONEYMOON TRAP, a BiblioMysteries: Short Tales About Deadly Books.

A pulp novel has a book review critic wondering if his new wife is out to kill him.

Henry and Alice are on their honeymoon. They decided to do something different, since they live in Sarasota, FL, and experience sunny weather all year round—to an old-fashioned lake house in New England area. Alice plans the entire trip after researching hundreds of vacation rentals.

Henry is a book reviewer for the Sarasota Busker as more of a hobby. He loves books and is a collector of Midcentury American crime fiction paperbacks.

Upon arrival at their rental cottage on Blackford Lake, located in the northernmost part of Maine, he is pleasantly surprised by the vast amount of paperbacks lining the shelves! They are classic pulp novels, stories about spies and gangsters, and detectives meant to slide into your back pocket or jacket.

It looks like his bookshelf at home. These are the books he has loved since he was ten, devouring his grandfather's bookshelf as a boy. He especially likes all 21 of the Travis McGee paperbacks.

Henry made his money from an inherited auto business from his father and sold many of the shops. Financially, this allows him to do what he loves. He also met his wife, Alice, in Siesta Key as a waitress from NC.

The shelves are lined with tons of classics and names of authors he adores. However, he has a deep sense of déjà vu.

He spots a book on the bottom shelf he does not recognize, The Honeymoon Trap by Elvin Rhyne. He is intrigued and especially when he starts reading. It is too similar to his life.

The characters Nick and Celia are similar in their relationship, newly married. Throughout the chapters, Nick becomes suspicious of his new wife, and Henry is beginning to relate. Nick winds up murdering the wife and lover in the novel.

The headline, "Two weeks of honeymoon, bliss in the Florida Sun, but would the secrets she kept lead to murder?

The book pulls him in, he becomes obsessed with it and paranoid the more he reads.

When Alice starts going on errands, acting suspicious, leaving him alone on their honeymoon, and staying gone for hours, he starts worrying.

She often returned with farmer's market delights, gourmet food, wine, and other delectables, which made him happy, but this continues daily.

In the book, the wife has another life. What does he know about Alice's past? It turns out she lived in this area, and she knows someone here. What if she is having an affair or is married to someone else and leading a double life?

Henry takes things too far. The reader will wonder if it is reality or a dream. Everything has a purpose and reason and can be explained. But will he get too impatient and not wait for explanations? Will he become a murderer, too? If you have read any of Swanson's books, you never know.

"When the lines between fact and fiction become blurred— the obsession turns deadly. Where nothing is as it appears in this twisty short story domestic thriller with a Highsmith/Hitchcockian vibe. Perfect for booklovers and bibliophiles."

Being a Floridan for the past 20 yrs, (native of NC) and love stories about Florida and the mysterious atmospheric New England vacation setting. I formerly managed and designed vacation rentals throughout the Southeast and always stocked them with books. I donated tons of my collections to B&B Inns and vacation rental cottages because I loved them so much when I traveled.

The main and supporting characters were a lot of fun! This a twisty, fun psychological thriller of domestic suspense that will have you glued to the pages in this gripping short story.

Booklovers, book reviewers, avid readers, and bibliophiles will devour all the classic titles, book references, and iconic authors.

I am enjoying the BiblioMysteries: Short Tales About Deadly Books. $2.99 is a low price to pay for fun entertainment! Check out all the selections by top thriller authors. Also recommend Lisa Unger's The Dark Door!

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 🌟 Stars

Pub Date: Dec 6, 2022

Praise for Peter Swanson

“Swanson specializes in writing mesmerizing thrillers that subvert readers’ expectations.”

—Wall Street Journal

“If you’re looking for the suspense techniques of Alfred Hitchcock translated to the page, Swanson’s your man.”

—Financial Times

“[Swanson’s] the real deal.”

—Joe Hill, author of NOS4A2

"Peter Swanson has quickly established himself as today’s master of the suspense novel."

—Otto Penzler

About the Author

Peter Swanson is the author of five novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and a finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his wife and cat. WEBSITE







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