Novel Approach: 'Black Widows' offers captivating and twisty murder mystery

“It's weird, marriage. It's like this license that gives a person the legal right to control their spouse / their other half.” —Jess C. Scott

Some books share sensational tales, others use sensational elements that may seem foreign to many readers to grab their attention. Relationships aren’t easy, they take a considerable amount or work and ask us to consider the feelings of others. A relationship between more than two people would be even more difficult to manage as it throws in not just additional people, but requires juggling additional emotions and jealousies. Our latest read does just that as it follows the murder of a man practicing polygamy in Utah.

Black Widows by Cate Quinn

When a person is murdered, the spouse is always considered an initial suspect...except in the case of Blake Nelson’s murder he didn’t have one wife...he had three. Told from the perspective of each of his three wives; Rachel, Emily and Tina, the three women are forced to reexamine their marriage as they wonder if they’ve lived beside a murderer.

As the wives each dig into the murder, the women quickly discover that their husband was not always honest with them about what his plans for their future.

“Black Widows” is a sensational story not just because it follows a murder investigation, but because it puts a spotlight on plural marriage - a subject that has a tendency to be rather divisive - and it does so through the lens of the Mormon faith.

Quinn’s novel is a quick and captivating read as she litters the pages with doubt and potential clues as the three women reevaluate their what they knew about their husband and their fellow sister-wives. Just when readers think they understand what happened to Blake, Quinn throws in a dynamic plot twist that will leave readers reeling and gasping for air after an explosive revelation.

Written with distinct and dynamic voices, readers will find themselves devouring the “Black Widows” as they try to puzzle out who is behind the crime.

The novel does involve elements of drug abuse, sexual, physical and mental abuse that might be upsetting for some readers.

From the book jacket…

Blake's dead. They say his wife killed him. If so… which one?

Polygamist Blake Nelson built a homestead on a hidden stretch of land—a raw paradise in the wilds of Utah—where he lived with his three wives:

Rachel, the first wife, obedient and doting to a fault, with a past she'd prefer to keep quiet.

Tina, the rebel wife, everything Rachel isn't, straight from rehab and the Vegas strip.

And Emily, the young wife, naïve and scared, estranged from her Catholic family.

The only thing that they had in common was Blake. Until all three are accused of his murder.

When Blake is found dead under the desert sun, all three wives become suspect—not only to the police, but to each other. As the investigation draws them closer, each wife must decide who can be trusted. With stories surfacing of a notorious cult tucked away in the hills, whispers flying about a fourth wife, and evidence that can't quite explain what had been keeping Blake busy, the three widows face a reckoning that might shatter all they know to be true.

If you enjoy…

For readers looking for more chilling and quick paced thrills, might enjoy “Home Before Dark” by Riley Sager. The novel follows a woman who returns to a house and it’s secrets that have haunted her entire life.