The Wife in the Photo

by Chandra Sundeep
Cover picture of the wife in the photo by Emily Shiner

Eight hours ruined… that’s how I felt upon completing the audiobook “The Wife in the Photo” by Emily Shiner. Unfortunately, it brought to mind another lackluster thriller involving a family living perilously close to the edge of a cliff.

Lola Warner has just died. The world thinks she slipped and fell down a flight of stairs. But only Evan, her husband and Jessica, their teenage daughter, know the truth. The secret behind Lola Warner’s death. They are struggling to manage the household tasks, and Ariel, a housekeeper, comes to their rescue. Only, they don’t know that behind the kind words hides a sinister intention. Ariel (or whatever her real name is) has come to avenge Lola’s death.

(This is an outlier opinion)

The premise is interesting, no doubt. But the execution, ugh, it had me banging my head against the wall. The story unfolds in an unbelievably dragging manner right from the outset.

And I don’t even want to talk about the plot holes. A sieve might have less!

And what can I say about the characters, their motives, and actions–a lot (cuz I have so much to rant about!)

Oh, and we know who the killer is from the beginning. How? Evan tells us through his actions and thoughts.

Evan is the Chief of Police, and there couldn’t be a character more unfit for this role. His thinking and investigative skills are literally zero. And his morals, now what’s that one may ask?! He is a lousy husband and the world’s most irresponsible father.

Jessica is a psychopath, a shoplifter, and a compulsive liar. Her behaviour is insufferable, and her actions are indefensible. She kills her mother. Why? Because Lola wants a divorce and Jessica does not want the family to be broken. Uh, excuse me?? Wouldn’t the family be still broken?! Does this teen not think at all?!

Ariel… Well, this character is the most irksome of all. She is Jessica’s mom and for some unexplained reason gives the child to Lola. The back story is missing here. Estranged from Lola for all these years, she makes a comeback to avenge her sister’s death. Why? Because she is convinced Evan has killed her. Like Evan, her cognitive skills leave much to be desired.

The other characters (I’ve already forgotten their names… the mistress and her grandmother) are equally dull, poorly conceived and bereft of common sense.

If this wasn’t enough, the local police were empty-headed, too.

But this isn’t all that is terrible. The conclusion is the worst of all. Or probably Ariel is as much of a psychopath as Jessica.

Oh, and I still haven’t found the connection between the title and the story.


The sole silver lining in this otherwise dismal experience was Kate Handford’s narration.


The Wife in the Photo was a terribly disappointing experience.


Wordsopedia Rating 2/5

(2 stars for the author’s efforts and also, I hate giving 1 star to any book)


Title: The Wife in the Photo Author: Emily Shiner
Publisher: Bookouture Audio Publication date: 7 September 2023
Genre: Fiction—Mystery & Thriller Format: Audiobook
ISBN: 9781837906000 No. of Hours: 8 hours 30 minutes

Buy your copy here on Amazon

About the author

Emily lives in the mountains of North Carolina and loves hiking with her dogs–only when she’s not thinking up twisted tales, that is. She loves books that keep you up long after you should be in bed.
Get in touch with the author on her website.
This post is part of Blogchatter’s Half Marathon

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