PICTURE PERFECT by Jodi Picoult, narrated by Brian Hutchison & Amanda Cobb

As a professional writer myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the way that Jodi Picoult began this tale. What better way to introduce a character and her situation by having her lose her memory? And so the novel opens in a provocative way, with an unknown, unnamed woman waking up by a gravestone with no memory of who she is or what she is doing there. She is fortunate enough to meet a kind-hearted cop who takes her home and looks after her while he puts out a call for a missing woman.

Her life comes into sharper focus when her husband shows up, flying all the way from Scotland to retrieve her at a police station in Los Angeles. Turns out that the husband is Hollywood’s hottest actor – Alex Rivers – and the unnamed Jane Doe is Cassie Barrett, an up-and-coming-star in the field of Anthropology.

How such an unlikely couple met and married is narrated just after the point where Cassie discovers who she is and why she fled her husband’s Bel-Air mansion. As the narration continues, the dark underbelly of this marriage emerges, ratcheting up the tension as the reader wonders what is going to happen to Cassie now that she has “done” something her husband is violently against, and now that she has fled a second time.

How will she hide? What will he do when he discovers her gone?

This is the first novel by Jodi Picoult to explore a social issue, in this case domestic abuse. I found her take on it completely absorbing. Five stars.