Reviews for Circle of Wives

Booklist Reviews 2014 January #1
When Dr. John Taylor, a plastic surgeon who specialized in treating disfigured children, is found dead in his hotel room, the case is assigned to Palo Alto detective Samantha Adams. More accustomed to investigating bike thefts, Samantha is astonished to discover that her first homicide case contains layers upon layers. It seems that Taylor was a bigamist, married to three women at the same time; only his first wife, the icy Deborah, knew of his complicated marital history, as she was obsessed with holding onto the status and the money that came with being married to a wealthy plastic surgeon and even helped manage her husband's hectic schedule, penciling in time for his two other wives, earth mother MJ and pediatric oncologist Helen. Each chapter, narrated in turn by his wives as well as the detective, reveals a complicated man whose different marriages nurtured different aspects of his personality. LaPlante, coming off the triumph of Turn of Mind (2011), crafts a page-turner that also offers much ironic commentary on the dynamics of love and marriage, emphasizing the great mystery at the heart of any romantic relationship. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2014 January #2
LaPlante (Turn of Mind, 2011, etc.) returns with a character study as murder mystery. Dr. John Taylor's a respected Palo Alto plastic surgeon. While his Taylor Institute partners prefer the "revenue stream" of vanity surgery, Taylor's passion is reconstructing the faces of damaged children. Taylor was "a man you could trust...a man who had your interests at heart...competent, straight-talking, yet compassionate," and so there's widespread shock when Taylor's found dead at a local hotel. The confusion's compounded when it's discovered that Taylor was a bigamist. Deborah, his wife of decades, presides over local society. MJ Taylor, an accountant to whom he's been married for six years, lives in a modest ranch with a lush garden. His bride of six months, Dr. Helen Richter, is a respected Los Angeles children's cancer specialist. A media storm erupts, growing to the intensity of a hurricane after it's discovered Taylor was murdered. The case is assigned to law school dropout–turned–police officer Samantha Adams, a young woman who finds her own long-term relationship perplexing. In this literary character study built on a mystery's framework, LaPlante ingeniously constructs characters that are distinct and original. Deborah withdrew from her marriage to Taylor, but, unwilling to divorce, she acquiesced to his search for intimacy elsewhere, even managing logistics for all three marriages. MJ's a tortured, needy soul, ripe for seduction. Helen, a singularly focused physician, finds herself "surprised by joy" and "not in control of my destiny or my body." Taylor became what each needed. Against this backdrop, Samantha's relationship with her lover, a lackadaisical Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, unravels as she comes face to face with "[t]he shell of an amicable but less-than-nourishing good as I can expect to get." And then into the narrative come MJ's drug-damaged brother, Thomas, and exotically beautiful Dr. Claire Fanning, Taylor Institute's newest surgeon and Taylor's prospective wife, for whom he's promised to forsake all others. Love, passion and marriage reflected in a mystery's fun-house mirror. Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 November #2

After the intellectual suspense of the Barnes & Noble Discover finalist Turn of Mind, LaPlante gets grittier. A distinguished plastic surgeon found dead turns out to have had separate wives--and separate lives--in three different cities.

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Library Journal Reviews 2014 January #1

On the surface LaPlante's second novel (after the acclaimed Turn of Mind) is a straightforward mystery. A respected plastic surgeon, Dr. John Taylor, is found dead in his hotel room in Palo Alto, CA. Det. Samantha Adams is assigned the case, and though her hometown rarely sees a murder, she's determined to solve the case. Sam discovers that Taylor was leading a complicated personal life, one that involved three wives, Deborah, M.J., and Helen, all of whom become suspects in his murder. Each of the women knew a different version of the man. Sam must find out which life was the one that got him killed. VERDICT Though a murder mystery serves as the backdrop to LaPlante's tale, her characters tell the story. The narration alternates from chapter to chapter and from woman to woman. An investigation of a crime becomes an exploration of the choices these women made and the resulting impact. Fans of character-driven puzzles will find much to like in this psychological novel. [See Prepub Alert, 10/20/13; 12-city tour; library marketing.]--Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 December #1

The murder of prominent Stanford plastic surgeon John Taylor jolts the career of Samantha Adams, an inexperienced Palo Alto, Calif., police detective, in LaPlante's engrossing second thriller (after 2011's Turn of Mind). The charismatic, well-respected doctor, who specialized in reconstructive surgery for needy children, had a damning secret: he kept three wives, Deborah, MJ, and Helen, in different cities. The investigation affects commitment-phobe Sam's own relationship with nice-but-bland Peter, as she becomes fascinated with the question of why these very different women found John appealing. Told in the alternating voices of Sam, Deborah, MJ, and Helen, the novel explores love, loss, control, the influence of past relationships, and passion. The multi-narrator approach may strike some as choppy at first, but LaPlante quickly settles into a captivating rhythm. She paints a sympathetic picture of the enigmatic John while channeling the women's voices to explore how their separate stories converged on him. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Mar.)

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