Author: Laura Lippman
Series: Hush Collection #3
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
First Published: July 30, 2020
Genres: Domestic Thriller, Feminist Fiction
Source: Prime Reading
A woman watches her marriage implode over text message and decides that ignorance is not bliss in this bitterly satisfying short mystery by the New York Times bestselling author of Lady in the Lake.
Liz Kelsey promised herself she’d never again spy on her feckless husband, Phil. But then she discovers a string of suggestive texts on his secret burner phone. Even worse, he’s flirting with the woman who shook their unstable marriage once before. But knowledge is power. What’s more dangerous—what Liz knows or what Phil doesn’t know?Also in this series: Snowflakes, Treasure, The Gift
Slow Burner is a sneaky and fun little story, true to the title the story delivers on the steady burn despite the small page count. Liz finds that her husband Phil has been emotionally cheating on her again, but the feelings aren’t reciprocated. She finds a burner phone where he carries on conversations with a young and intelligent millennial woman who he met through a contract deal at work. Liz and Phil are both Gen Xers, and the stark contrast in the attitudes and personalities of the two generations shines. He tries so hard to engage the young woman known only as HW in conversation, gauging her interest in him while back-peddling when things aren’t going his way. “I’m not interested, we’re just friends.”
“Now here is Phil’s familiar story, text box after text box, with barely a comment back. Her husband is preening for this other woman, strutting with his feathers in full view.”
Honestly, I found the desperate messages from Phil frustrating, cringe-worthy, and hilarious pathetic, but also true to life; I think anyone that has ever snooped on a partner can probably agree. There is some commentary here about the power dynamics at play here between the three main characters and the disgusting amount of privilege that is afforded men like Phil hold over women when money is involved. A trend that thankfully has been changing a bit due to the #MeToo movement bringing new attention to feminist issues.
“He must think that she is going to leave her husband for him, despite the denials. Phil has always gotten what he wants.”
While not my favorite story in the collection for how Liz simplifies issues surrounding the #MeToo movement, I still enjoyed reading it. I found myself laughing out loud often when maybe I shouldn’t have been, but Phil was such a joke I couldn’t help but snicker, and maybe that’s the millennial in me. I would hardly consider this story to be a mystery or a thriller, but it’s the kind of story that will leave the reader feeling satisfied.
- Pros: Humorous story about cheating spouses with satisfying ending.
- Cons: Barely counts as a thriller, this one barely has any mystery or thrills.
- Warnings: Mild language