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For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

Legal thriller

For Better and Worse

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by Margot Hunt

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Quick Take

How to get away with murder … husband and wife edition.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Fast_Read

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Police

    Police

  • Illustrated icon, Psychological

    Psychological

  • Illustrated icon, Legal_Thriller

    Legal thriller

Synopsis

When they fell in love back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke joked that they were so brilliant, together they could plan the perfect murder. After fifteen rocky years of marriage, they had better hope they’re right.

Their young son Jacob’s principal is accused of molesting a troubled student. It’s a horrifying situation—and the poison spreads rapidly. One night before bed, Jacob tells Natalie he is a victim, too. In that moment, her concept of justice changes forever. Natalie decides the predator must die.

To shelter Jacob from the trauma of a trial, Natalie concocts an elaborate murder plot and Will becomes her unwilling partner. The Clarkes are about to find out what happens when your life partner becomes your accomplice—and your alibi.

Why I love it

When I was little, I loved watching courtroom dramas with my brainy litigator of an aunt, Cecile. It wasn’t the shows themselves that entertained me, but her ice-cold running commentary. “You could never be indicted for that,” she’d remark, effortlessly dismantling the entire wireframe of an episode with one sharp critique. All those evenings on the couch made me appreciate well-crafted crime fiction. Because why settle for entertainment that is shallow, lazy, and uninformed when there are stories out there that are better?

I am happy to report that For Better and Worse is one such worthy read. In the beginning of this flinty book, we meet Natalie and Will, two bright attorneys who joke that they could pull off a murder. Fast forward 15 years: The principal of the local middle school has been accused of molesting a student, and there’s reason to believe their son has been harmed. In retaliation, Natalie crafts a plan to kill the predator, entangling her husband in the scheme. But can they stay one step ahead of the police? Can they really get away with murder?

The bread and butter of a good thriller is character and plot. But what sets this one apart is neither its candid, ballsy heroine—though Natalie’s practical approach to murder is weirdly satisfying to read—nor its cat-and-mouse story line—though the husband and wife duo’s swervy dance out of the law’s grasp is entertaining, to say the least. What makes this book come to life is the fact that the author did her homework, and the resulting authentic story she spins is one of burner phones and evading the FBI, of destroying physical evidence and smirking at a menacing detective while saying, “You can’t make me answer that.” It’s the best thriller I’ve read all year, and I can’t wait to send it to Aunt Cecile.

Legal thriller
Legal thriller
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