If you’re looking for a domestic thriller to read this summer, I highly suggest getting your hands on a copy of The Swap by Robyn Harding. She has easily become one of my favourite thriller writers and I was so excited to read this book. Needless to say, it did not disappoint!
The Swap follows the story of three dysfunctional woman. First we have Freya, a social media superstar, who is married to an infamous hockey player and getting tired of her new isolated island life. There’s her “best friend” Jamie, who desperately wants a child and will do almost anything to hold on to her friendship with Freya, even when things start to go a little (okay, a lot) sideways. And finally there’s Low (full name Swallow), who was raised by multiple parents in a polyamorous relationship, and is high-key obsessed with Freya.
While the title and cover of the book suggest that a couple’s swap is front and center in this story, it’s really only a minor event that leads to something much bigger. Freya and Jamie do swap husbands one night, but it wasn’t exactly a consenting event, and only leads to further turmoil.
Instead, the story focuses more on themes of obsession, manipulation, and abuse. No one in this book is innocent, and every character is subconsciously fighting for the title of “the absolute worst human.” None of them are likable, which is weird to say, but made the story that much more addictive. In a way it’s like watching reality TV, because you’re hooked and want to see just how far everyone will go to get what they want, regardless of the cost.
Each chapter is told from a different perspective, and there are a handful told by Max and Brian as well (Freya and Jamie’s husbands, respectively). They added another side to the story but didn’t exactly make anything more clear.
The Swap was a little different from Robyn Harding’s last book when it came to overall structure. Many thrillers begin with a death and then backtrack and explain how or why that event occurred. However, this one doesn’t give anything away at the start, so you find yourself gripping the book and relentlessly flipping pages in order to find out what the hell is going on. It’s a slow-burn thriller, but a fast-paced read.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was wildly entertaining and kept me guessing until the very end. I had no idea what was coming, and the characters constantly surprised me. I kept thinking “this has to be it, what else could they possibly do to each other?” and then was surprised when they pulled their next set of moves out. The Swap would make for a great beach read (if you’re able to leave your house!), or the perfect book to curl up with over a long weekend.
Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, for an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley. The Swap comes out on June 23, 2020 and can be purchased wherever books are sold.