Posts Tagged Jennifer Murphy

book review: I Love You More

I love you more

I Love You More by Jennifer Murphy. Publisher: Doubleday (June 2014). Contemporary fiction. Mystery/thriller. Hardcover. 304 pages. ISBN 978-0-395-52855-8.

Murdered at the summer beach house, Oliver Lane leaves behind his daughter Picasso and his wife Diana, the primary suspect. That is until police find out that Oliver not only has a second wife and family but a third. Did these wives conspire to murder Oliver together? What kind of man was Oliver? It’s a mystery told in multiple points of view. There’s 12-year-old Picasso, the wives and the detective.

Picasso’s parts are the best. She’s precocious, smart and curious about the world around her. But she’s rather a loner and unpopular in school. She’s an excellent student, star speller and sassy. [“and, as far as I was concerned, meant I had no chance of ever being considered a proper Southern lady, because I had no intention of ever being gracious or polite to the All That Girls.”] Her close relationship with her father now shattered as she learns a bit more about his deviousness and betrayal.

The wives meet regularly first to share stories about life with Oliver. How he’s manipulative and preyed on their weaknesses. [“These were the other women our husband had married? Didn’t most men prefer a type? Our height, weight, facial features, hair color, skin tones, mannerisms, speech patterns, everything appeared dissimilar. It would be awhile before we understood that Oliver’s initial interest had more to do with our mental states than physical characteristics.”] Then they begin to plan his murder and garner strength from this bond. With three intelligent women working together why wouldn’t they get away with murder. What could go wrong. They don’t factor in Oliver’s dominance and grasp on their hearts despite their protestations.

The detective, relocated from Detroit to move back home to small-town North Carolina, delivers his theories like he’s in an episode of The Thin Man. Very gumshoe detective. Old-fashioned. Made me chuckle and see it in black and white every time. [“Diane Lane had gotten under my skin. A small part of me thought it was possible my brain had fabricated her. Sure she might be a looker, but the rest of it, the chiseled perfection, the helpless fragility, the innocent yet seductive stare, was an overactive imagination at work. Seeing her again would cure me. I’d start sleeping again.”]

I Love You More starts with promise. It’s compelling but lags at times. More Picasso, less detective. Wasn’t the ultimate page-turner I seek in a thriller but still an entertaining summer/weekend read.

RATING: ***/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Doubleday.

purchase at Amazon: I Love You More: A Novel


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in the realm: Summer Reading Part I

[descriptions from Goodreads]


Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian [Doubleday, July 8]
–story of Emily Shepard, a homeless girl living in an igloo made of garbage bags in Burlington. Nearly a year ago, a power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a meltdown, and both of Emily’s parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault—was he drunk when it happened?


Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen [Knopf, July 8]
–It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin.


Euphoria by Lily King
–For years, English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field studying the Kiona tribe of Papua, New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brother’s public suicide, and increasingly infuriated with and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of killing himself when a chance meeting with colleagues, the controversial and consummate Nell Stone and her wry Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just finished their studies of the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell’s ill health, the couple is ravenous for another new discovery. Together with Bankson they set out to uncover the Tam, a local tribe with an almost mythic existence.

rise and fall

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman [Dial Press, June]
–Tooly Zylberberg, the American owner of an isolated bookshop in the Welsh countryside, conducts a life full of reading, but with few human beings. Books are safer than people, who might ask awkward questions about her life. She prefers never to mention the strange events of her youth, which mystify and worry her News arrives from a long-lost boyfriend in New York, raising old mysteries and propelling her on a quest around the world in search of answers.

I love you more

I Love You More by Jennifer Murphy [Doubleday, June]
–Picasso Lane is twelve years old when her father, Oliver, is murdered at their summer beach house. Her mother, Diana, is the primary suspect—until the police discover his second wife, and then his third. The women say they have never met—but Picasso knows otherwise.

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