Beneath the surface of a perfect life
We’re all unreliable narrators of our personal stories to some degree, whether we’re comfortable admitting it or not. That may be why these fictional characters intrigue many of us on some visceral level — we recognize the impulse. Most of us are on social media these days, where we share our filtered and carefully curated versions of our lives. The perfect couple. The perfect day. A perfect illusion.
On a more basic level, we tell friends that “everything’s fine” when we’re hurting or soften the truth about real life for our children. We reserve, perhaps, the most undependable actions for the one we love the most. Romance, in its first blush, is far different than a relationship six months, a year or decades later.
Maybe domestic suspense novels featuring unreliable narrators are so popular because they shine a light on our society’s obsession with appearances. We recognize ourselves in the little lies, in the posturing. When we put our best foot forward to flirt with someone we’ve just met, how different those same words and actions can seem after we’ve been together for a while.
Paul Strom, the creepy protagonist of my new novel, Best Day Ever, takes unreliable to the extreme. He wants you to believe he’s the perfect husband, a loving father, and a successful businessman. He promises his wife, Mia, that the first day of their romantic weekend together will be the best day ever. They’ve been married for years, though. Does she still believe the illusion? I hope you’ll read Best Day Ever to find out.