As Long As We Both Shall Live is JoAnn Chaney’s wicked, masterful examination of a marriage gone very wrong . . .
‘My wife! I think she’s dead!’ Matt frantically calls to park rangers, explaining that he and his wife, Marie, were out hiking when she stumbled on a cliff edge and fell into the raging river below. They start a search but aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall.
It’s a tragic accident.
But when police discover Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances – a fire in their family home – they have a lot more questions for him.
Is Matt a grieving husband, or has he just killed his second wife? Detectives Loren and Spengler dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.
So what happens when you’re done making it work?
A husband is suspected of killing not only his first wife, but also his second. A cop is suspected of murdering his partner from years gone by. As Long As We Both Shall Live is the story of tumultuous marriages and partnerships that cultivates in two mysteries spanning some decades.
As Long As We Both Shall Live is by no means the worst mystery I’ve read, but it definitely wasn’t the best. At times I was quite bored, annoyed with some of the opinions the author expressed, and had to resist skim reading a lot of pages.
There was too much unneeded information that didn’t contribute to the overarching stories in any way. There were a good amount of portions of this book that read as social commentary rather than telling a story. There was a lot of opinionated commentary on unhappy and dysfunctional marriages, sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace and then how life treats men kinder than it treats women (“if you don’t have dong in between your legs, you’ve got a raw deal” gist).
In many ways, this did compliment the story, but it didn’t contribute to it in any great way. Instead, it felt like a way to bulk up the book and increase the page number total.
We’re quickly introduced to Matt, the husband at the center of this mystery, who is suspected of killing Janice (his first wife) and Marie (his second wife). As part of the ongoing investigations, we’re introduced to the investigators; Reid in 1995, and then Spengler and Loren in 2018.
These characters were so messed up, but I liked that they ultimately reinforced the idea that first impressions do not always ring true. For instance, I really didn’t like Loren at the beginning. But by the end, he was favourite character and I really felt for the guy. And I ended up rooting for Marie as well, which I honestly can’t explain.
I really liked the structure of this read and the alternating timelines. The first part of the story begins in 1995, when Matt and his first wife are having some marital issues. The second part of the story unfolds in 2018, where Matt is eventually suspected of killing his second wife. The alternating time period worked well in illustrating the characters more vividly, and definitely aided in building up to the big reveals and the book’s climax.
Alas, I did predict what was coming, but nevertheless enjoyed it. I was a little annoyed I was reading this story all the while knowing what was going to happen, but the author’s writing style kept me engaged, as did her characters. Also, I liked the way the book wrapped up, it was very consistent with the story as a whole, and was definitely satisfying as barmy as it was.
This is the type of book to read when you’re in the mood for lethal marriages and revenge of the spouses fiction. I would recommend this to anybody who’s looking for a mystery of that kind, and can be devoured within a day or two. And if you’ve read this, liked it and want something of a similar kind, I’d recommend you look into My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing.
As Long As We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney
Published: May 2019