Book Review of The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (March 8, 2022)
Like many of the books I enjoy, The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (published on March 8, 2022) was a domestic thriller. Publisher’s weekly describes the plot as “suspenseful if not always credible,” and I have to agree with that. I was thoroughly entertained by this book, but it had a very peculiar plot, and there were definitely elements that I questioned. I find that happening more often in modern domestic thrillers. It is almost as though they are trying to have a competition to have the most twisty plot twist and, in so doing, some of them strain credulity to its outer limits.
While the way this book was written managed to somehow hold the weird plot together, when I thought about it, it was definitely a strange plot. I wonder, in these reviews, how much or how little of the plot to reveal. If I reveal too little, you won’t know what I mean when I say that it is not credible, but if I reveal too much, it ruins the book if you decide to read it.
In the case of this book, I would prefer to err on the side of revealing too little because, despite some parts leaving me scratching my head, I still really enjoyed it. I usually don’t enjoy books written by a writing duo as opposed to just one person, but I have read other books by this pair and enjoyed them also.
The book is told from two perspectives. This makes me wonder whether each writer wrote one of the two perspectives. I wondered how two people could collaborate on a novel. I think it might be challenging in some ways, which is probably why I usually don’t enjoy novels written by multiple authors. Somehow, they don’t usually manage to pull it off.
As I mentioned, this novel is told from two perspectives. One is Avery Chambers, a mental health professional who lost her license. Now that she lost her license, Avery feels freed and uses a very strange technique to help her wealthy clients in “only ten sessions.” Only ten? Okay. Well, once we see the way she assists her clients, the question in our minds should not be “why did she lose her license,” but “why didn’t she lose her license much, much sooner?”
The reason she lost her license is explained, but it doesn’t have to be. If the reader has any idea about ethical guidelines for mental health professionals, she violates nearly all of them. Well, she doesn’t sleep with her clients, so there is that, I suppose.
However, characters who are good, morally upright people who always play by the rules are not necessarily interesting – or, if they are, they are interesting because they are so rare and struggle. Although Avery Chambers is not quite believable, she is intriguing. It is noteworthy how much I was willing to suspend my disbelief because I found her moral ambiguity to be fascinating. On the other hand, the idea that wealthy clients would be willing to pay big money to an unlicensed therapist who would then randomly show up unannounced and follow them around like a private detective seems far-fetched, and it is not the only idea in the novel that is not quite believable.
Avery lost her license because she was a whistleblower on a pharmaceutical company, violating her client’s confidentiality. I cannot think of any mental health professional that would find out that a pharmaceutical company was doing something wrong via a client and would then report it. What do I base this on? I base this on my experience in the mental health field. I had a client who told me he had a plan to murder someone. Literally. I told my supervisor. I wanted to report it to the police. She told me that, unless he told me who he wanted to murder, I could not report it because I would be in violation of ethics. This is just one of the rainbow of reasons I am no longer in the mental health field. Because, to me, that is crazy. However, that is why I cannot believe that a mental health professional would report something a client was considering reporting about the company they worked for. It is possible, I suppose, but it just seems made up.
You guys learn all sorts of weird details about my life, even in the middle of plot summaries of book reviews. I really have to rein in the oversharing. (Spoiler alert: I don’t think I can rein it in, but we will see.) Btw… long story short… I quit psychology. I got stressed out. It wasn’t just the homicidal/psychotic client. That’s a long story. But look: I made it short for once!
The second perspective in the book is that of Marissa Bishop. She is wealthy, married to Matthew Bishop, and she has a problem. She cheated on her husband, but she wants her marriage to be successful. Naturally, who would she turn to but an unlicensed psychologist with weird methods? Oddly, her husband goes along with it. Even more oddly, they manage to write it in such a way that it all seems plausible.
As the story progresses, we find out that all is not as it seems. However, I don’t want to ruin it for you. Things are never as they seem in these books. Think someone is the good guy? Think again. This book is a real page turner even though many of the plot twists seem forced. A couple of them made me actually say, “What? No!!!” out loud.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Although the plot was not entirely believable, I was along for the ride. I enjoyed the book from beginning to end. Some books are really amazing literature as well as being entertaining. This was not among their number. However, it was fun, and we are all sorely in need of more fun I think. I enjoyed it, and if you like domestic thrillers or psychological thrillers, you might like it also.
I was surprised to see that it just came out in March 2022. I had it on hold from the library, and they said it would take forever and ever until I got my hands on a copy, but maybe everyone read very quickly because I have already received it and finished it even though it was supposed to take at least 12 weeks! A happy surprise!
(P.S. Help the Ukraine with Hivebuzz's NFTs for peace if you can. zirochka has published five articles showing how these funds are already being used to help people in need..)
Too many people simply give up too easily. You have to keep the desire to forge ahead, and you have to be able to take the bruises of unsuccess. Success is just one long street fight.
Milton Berle, Comedian
Today is Day 18 of HiveBloPoMo. So far, so good.