Crown Publishing Group: American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

The Last Mrs. Parrish

In ritzy Bishops Harbor, Conn., Amber is considered "a frumpy mouse," unworthy of attention from the filthy rich and glamorous residents. But she refuses to be a nobody for long. Amber intends to snare the biggest catch in town--dashing mogul Jackson Parrish--and move into his waterfront mansion. The man is already married with kids and has eyes only for his perfect wife, Daphne, but that doesn't faze Amber.

She befriends Daphne after an "accidental" meeting at the gym and insinuates herself into the couple's lives, becoming indispensable as best friend to Daphne and assistant to Jackson. Along the way, Amber subtly transforms herself into a younger, sexier version of Daphne. Each step of the scheme falls into place exactly as planned--or does it happen too easily?

Amber is a highly unpleasant narrator, but one can perhaps appreciate her being unfettered by the conventional notion that women have to be nice all the time. At least she's reliable. She's duplicitous with other characters, but with readers, she's clear and unapologetic about what she wants and why--she's tired of her station in life and believes she deserves better. Think: a female Tom Ripley. 

The dialogue is often expository and overly formal--close friends and family members speak to one another like people at a job interview--but sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine, writing as Liv Constantine, build momentum with short, cliffhanger chapters racing toward a satisfying denouement. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd