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Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review 'The Governor’s Wife' by Michael Harvey






No less than four Illinois Governors have received prison sentences.

Admittedly inspired by former disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the premise is magnificent, but there are some fundamental issues that disrupt an otherwise potentially fabulous mystery.


Illinois Governor, Ray Perry, disappears from the courthouse after sentencing in his trial for corruption charges. Sentenced to more than 30 years without parole, his reasons for disappearing seem obvious.

Several years after the defamed Governor vanishes, private investigator, Michael Kelly accepts a generous advance from an anonymous source and begins an investigation into Ray Perry’s disappearance as well as the Governor’s life and his eccentric wife, Marie.

Like many novels and the reality we call life, trust is the central issue and the lack there of dictates the outrageous behaviors that soon come to light only to destroy the mirage those involved once enjoyed.

Narrated by Michael Kelly, the private investigator, the mystery within his perspective divulges an interesting yet, unexpected character.

Kelly’s initial seemingly easygoing personality later assumes the aspects of a rather narcissistic belief that he is being cool.  Needless to say, he is a rather difficult character to love.

However, all in all, this is a really good mystery and at the top of the list of positives is the author’s intimate knowledge about Illinois’ politics, Chicago landmarks and his ability to channel them within the story.

Nevertheless, the action is a bit slow moving and at times too coincidental. At one point in particular, about midway through the story, the Governor’s wife, unexpectedly drops in on Kelly for a visit. Consequently, it comes across as embarrassingly ridiculous when she repeats some of Kelly’s previous thoughts, verbatim.

Regardless of these annoying indiscretions, Kelly begins to unravel Marie Perry’s past and suddenly the rich dynamics overshadow the gaffes. Eventually, the Governor’s wife and the marriage become the central focus of the investigation and ultimately the reason behind Ray Perry’s action.

The ending is definitely the best and will surprise even the most skeptical critics.

Published by Penguin Random House, The Governor’s Wife is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio versions.

Review by Sammy Sutton