Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda 4 stars

Today I’m reviewing Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda. I was intrigued by the description of the book. Of course, when something is supposed to be the “best day ever”, it’s clear from the beginning it won’t be. It’ll probably be the worst day ever for someone.

This book is definitely dark. And it’s one of those stories that rings a little true. Sure, these types of things don’t happen often, but if you watch enough Dateline, you know there are some super crazy people out there. Real life can be terrifying.

From the Publisher:

I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

My Review:

When we first meet Paul and Mia, he appears at first glance to be a normal–albeit perhaps slightly narcissistic and yuppified–proud husband. He has two boys he adores, a gorgeous wife, a good job, and he is headed on a romantic weekend with his wife to their vacation home. It’s going to be the “best day ever” he keeps saying throughout the book. Side note here, I would be so annoyed if my husband did that, but it does fit Paul. You’ll see.

As with most books like this, things are not as they seem. Paul and Mia both have secrets and while their life seems vanilla on the surface, we quickly deduce that there are definitely some problems in their marriage, and perhaps something even more sinister. But really, none of us pick up books in this genre to read a nice little story where nothing bad happens, right?

Best Day Ever takes place during the course of a 24-hour period. It’s a narrative device that can work or go terribly wrong, but in this case I think Rouda does a good job of slowly releasing the the history of Paul and Mia’s marriage through Paul’s glib thoughts. And since most of the narrative is through his eyes, it’s up to the reader to decide what the truth really is.  As we switch back and forth between memories and the present, suspense is building at a steady click, propelled by the details in the backstory.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a face-paced page-turner and of course contains those dark, salacious and mysterious elements that psychological suspense addicts are so attracted to.

This is the first book I read by Kaira Rouda, but it looks like she has written many more. I’ll have to check them out, although it doesn’t seem that all of them fall into the suspense category. Have you read any of her other books?

Goodreads is offering a giveaway contest to win an advanced copy of this book. Click here to head over and enter to win.

Best Day Ever will be available online and in bookstores everywhere September 19. Thanks to Netgalley and Graydon House (a division of Harlequin) for providing an e-galley in exchange for my review.



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