“The First Mistake” is an unusual thriller. Things seem to be happy and peaceful for Alice with her business, children, and her second husband. However, like all thrillers, there is an unusual undercurrent of distrust, betrayal, and duplicity. The story is told from several points of view, and sometimes, deliberately it seems, it is hard to sort out just who is who.
The pace is steady and deliberate. The characters seem likeable, but somehow not entirely trustworthy. The people and relationships are right out of a soap opera and are just as enjoyable. Alice, the wife, seems trusting and yet suspicious, dependent and yet determined to be a successful independent business owner. The friend, Beth, is supportive and yet disloyal. The second husband, Nathan, is understanding while living in the shadow of the “perfect” first husband and yet, well, just read and find out about him. In the end, none of those descriptions is completely accurate, and that contradiction makes the book compelling. Readers instinctively know something is wrong, very wrong, but cannot discern exactly what that is.
“The First Mistake” is an easy book to read and full of psychological suspense and treachery. The title alludes to a first mistake, but there are so many mistakes, it is hard to pinpoint the first one. There is drama, betrayal, and crime but little actual violence and certainly no buckets of blood running in the streets. The story unfolds easily and then comes to a shocking and tragic end.