The Fake Wife by Sharon Bolton



Olive Anderson has accepted that tonight she’ll be dining alone, without her husband. So when a beautiful stranger appears at Olive’s dinner table, telling the waiter she’s her wife, Olive is immediately unsettled. 

But the stranger wants to talk, and isn’t this what Olive wants on this lonely winter night? To vent to a perfect stranger? She’s too ashamed to tell her real friends the truth – six months into the marriage they all warned her against, her life is a living nightmare.

Perhaps Olive should have asked the fake wife who she’s really married to. Perhaps she should have known this chance encounter had something to do with her secretive husband. Because there is a string of missing women connected to Mr Anderson, and by the morning, Olive will be the latest…


The Fake Wife is the latest release from crime writer Sharon Bolton whose books I have enjoyed in the past but I’m lagging behind a little on reading her books. In this standalone novel, Olive Anderson meets a beautiful stranger at a hotel who promptly announces to everyone within earshot that she is Olive’s wife. Olive is initially angry at the woman but cannot deny she is intrigued enough to go along with it. The two women end up spending the night together but things take a dangerous turn in the morning when the beautiful woman shows Olive she has recorded their night together. Threatened with exposure, Olive has no choice but to go along with the woman’s demands even if she has no clue what this is all about.

Olive is married to Michael Anderson, the local MP, who is widely tipped to become Prime Minister one day and Olive knows the scandal could seriously damage his career. However, the weather has turned particularly nasty overnight and the women are soon caught up in a snowstorm which results in their car going off he road into a ravine. With the snow getting heavier, the injured women face a fight for survival.

In the meantime, Michael Anderson grows increasingly concerned when he is unable to contact his wife and discreetly contacts the police to keep the media out of the picture. PC Garry Mizon, who has a reputation for being a bit hapless, gets drawn into the search and is determined to find Olive as he once had a crush on her at school. As Garry and DS Lexy Thomas battle the weather, they begin to uncover some unsavoury truths about Michael Anderson and how women seem to disappear around him. Although Garry is seen as a bit of joke as he has failed his detective exams twice, he actually has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the area due to his experience as a traffic cop. Some authors would have been tempted to show Garry as a bumbling cop but he is actually very good at his job and has a great eye for detail.

The plot is a complex one but evenly paced so the reader is never one step ahead of the police and the relationship between Garry and Lexy makes this an enjoyable read. The entire story only takes place over a couple of days but the extreme weather adds a layer of difficulty as it makes the investigation more complicated and means it is a race against time to find Olive. There are plenty of plot twists and most of them are disguised really well apart from the one at the very end which becomes more obvious as time goes on albeit after a few clues are dropped.

The storyline itself is interesting and I did enjoy reading it, although it did stretch credibility at times and had a movie script vibe to it. The opening chapters are the most implausible as it hinges on Olive being receptive to being seduced by a woman and there is nothing to indicate at this stage that Olive would’ve been open to it. The stranger has obviously been watching Olive and knows there are problems in her marriage but she doesn’t know enough to be certain her advances would be welcomed. The woman goes to great lengths to break into Olive’s hotel room to plant the cameras but there are a lot of assumptions being made here.