Cover Image: The Third Mrs. Durst

The Third Mrs. Durst

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Member Reviews


This book was very far from what I was expecting when I first read its description. It sounded like it will be another domestic thriller where the wife is a powerless, weak victim of a manipulative husband, the kind that keeps the illusion going for a long while before showing his true character. So imagine how surprised I was when I discovered that the roles might not be so clear as they seemed and when the story turned into a real action movie! And no, I’m not exaggerating. One evening, when I was browsing Netflix for something interesting to watch, I remembered that there was a movie or a TV series that I didn’t finish yet and kept me hooked. It took me a few seconds to realize that what I was actually thinking about was the book I was reading and not a screenplay! But the whole story turns into a movie in your mind and trust me, in a very good one!

In the same time, the fact that the book is so visual, it means that somehow, it doesn’t have as much depth as other books. The accent goes more on the action, on the details that create visual scenes instead of the characters motivations. Yes, we do know something about the heroine’s reasons, but no other characters’ motives are really exploited. Not the bad ones, not the good ones either. We just get some very general ideas, like love or egocentrism, care for the family members, an abnormal wish for control or revenge and that’s pretty much all. Because of that, the secondary characters look more like chess pawns, moving on the board automatically, along with the heroine and not because of their own will.

But overall, The Third Mrs. Durst is a quick, easy and full of adrenaline read and I doubt the readers will have any complaints. It keeps you hooked and curious to find out what other crazy turn things will take and leaves you with a satisfied smile when you turn the last page.
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While I'm very fortunate that Netgalley and the publisher, Midnight Ink, gave me the opportunity to review The Third Mrs. Durst, unfortunately this book just did not work for me. The premise of a twisted Cinderella tale gone wrong was definitely interesting, unique, and worked very well for a suspense book premise. The beginning of the book starts strong and captivated me right at the start. Unfortunately, along the way it just fell apart for me. 

The characters all felt very unlikable for me. While I'm fine (and often love) with some unlikable characters, it's hard to connect with the book when you don't have anyone to root for wholeheartedly. 

The book is also heavily plot driven, which is fine, but it felt all over the place. The book wasn't your typical twisty thriller. It felt straightforward (in a bad way) and often times it felt like 100 things were happening at once. There were also many sex scenes that felt out of place, forced, and bizarre in this genre. 

Overall, this book didn't work for me personally.
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Marlena flees her rotten life at the age of 16 to develop a modeling contract and, in turn, a revengeful killing contract on Michael Durst. 

This book was not really at all what I had expected. It is a slow burn with little character development. Although it makes for a quick, and at times, suspenseful, read, I really couldn’t connect the story and the characters and was left with a lot of questions at the end. I did enjoy the dark, dark tale of revenge at the forefront though. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Ann Aguirre and Midnight Ink.
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Good but not great. I liked the characters but I wish we got to know them a bit better throughout the novel. And maybe see a bit more character development. The story though! That was great. Kept me on edge and wanting to read each day. So-so novel that I think you would enjoy if you usually enjoy these type of novels :)
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I really wanted to like this one, even though I feel like this premise is becoming a bit overdone, I generally still tend to like books of this genre/premise. This one didn't work for me, was too predictable, and I had a hard time connecting to the stories and the characters. Ultimately I decided that I was unable to finish at about 30%. Thank you for the opportunity to read this title.
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A modern Cinderella story with a how to get away with murder twist. The blurb pretty much gave away much of the story but it still got me hooked until the end. The plot may not be original but I'm still curious to know how it will try to be different from the others out there. It is interesting to see how Marlena will try to beat her manipulative husband. None of the characters are likeable, though. Everyone is suspicious and have their own agenda that added to its already dark feel. Mr. Durst was established as evil early and thus sympathy falls easily towards Marlena. And though I feel that there's lack of development on her character, I still how things played out in the end. Definitely a solid read.
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Marlena Altizer was born into poverty.  With a mother who was a drug addict, a long gone father and many siblings, her only dream was to get out of this horrible situation and make it big. Anyway she could.

Enter Michael Durst, a handsome, wealthy, New York businessman who takes a liking to Marlena.  Although she realizes he has been married twice before, and she quickly begins to understand Durst is very controlling and perhaps pathological in some ways, she feels as if she can handle him.

And at first she does, living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, attending parties, shopping, and enjoying the good life.  Until she is not.  And her life becomes unlivable. She begins to see a side of Durst he had kept hidden.  An evil, hateful, viscous side.  Marlena realizes she is more of a prisoner and a showpiece who is only there to assist Durst in his questionable business dealings.  He controls what she wears, what she eats, where she goes and even what she weighs. And to add to all this stress, Marlena, who is the third Mrs. Durst discovers the previous wives died when Durst became unhappy with them, and under very suspicious circumstances.  

Unfortunately it seems she is unable to break herself free from her husband's hold no matter how hard she tries.  The last time almost killing her.  So she decides the only way she can truly be done with him is to kill herself rather than live with him any longer.

The Third Mrs. Durst is a very dark psychological thriller with heart palpitating turns and an incredible ending to die for.

Thank you so much #NetGalley #MidnightInk #TheThirdMrs.Durst for the free advanced copy.
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“The Third Mrs. Durst” is a well-written, captivating psychological thriller with some very interesting twists and turns.  I actually enjoyed this book a lot and it reminded me a little bit of another book, “Behind Closed Doors” by B. A. Paris. Both books’ plots were a little far-fetched in my opinion, but to be honest, I find this true for most of the psychological thrillers nowadays. The only thing that I really disliked about this book, hence the 3 star rating, is the ending...I mean, really? Was that epilogue really necessary? I think that the book would have been just fine with the last chapter eliminated. 
I would still recommend this book to anyone that is looking for an entertaining and quite twisty read, and I am definitely looking forward to reading other books by this author.

Thank you NetGalley, Midnight Ink Publisher, and the author for giving me an opportunity to read an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Wow! Marlena Altizer from a “podunk” town in the back hills of Kentucky wants to be famous! She tired of living with a drug addicted mother, being a surrogate mom to half-brothers & sisters, and not enough food to feed them all! So, as soon as she is eighteen she leaves, in search of fame!  She has a chance encounter with a talent scout, Del. This puts her onto a path of new opportunities and the fame she so desperately desires. However, the chance meeting between her and Michael Durst will forever change her life for the better or…

This story had some major twist and turns! It reminded me of reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid but with a much more sinister and dark journey! What you think you know about Marlena; is not at all what it seems!! I rated this a 4.25/5 stars.  I enjoyed the suspense of finding out what was behind the characters motives to do what they did! It was a one day red for me and for that---I recommend reading this one!!!
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Ok, I have to say that I read this book in a day - I could not put it down.  Was it the best book I've ever read?  No.  Was it the best written?  No.  Was the ending satisfying?  No.  But did I get completely engrossed?  YES!  It was creepy and horrifying and I was completely invested in the novel and ultimately, that's all a reader can ask for!
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Everything about this book is a spoiler - but that's why it was just so good, it was twisty from the very beginning, and didn't stop with the twists until the very end. Marlena is a complicated woman to root for but I was completely on her side, even though I didn't quite get why. That's just how good Ann Aguirre is at maneuvering her characters and manipulating everyone from her characters to her readers, and I loved that.
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Loved this book. The pace was just right, the plot line kept me intrigued. The ending had a resolution that didn't leave me with a million unanswered questions.
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I’d been looking forward to reading Ann Aguirre’s The Third Mrs. Durst for a while after I saw some early publicity featuring it. The premise is fantastic—“Some people just need killing.”

About the Book

Marlena Altizer grew up in the type of disadvantage that most of us can barely imagine. With an addict for a mother, days without food being a common occurrence, and not having access to basic comforts such as electricity and a safe home, Marlena does the only thing she can—she leaves.

Not even eighteen, Marlena finds herself living on the streets of Memphis and finding a way to a better life for herself. She gets the attention of a talent scout, who begins placing Marlena in local modeling gigs and helps her find a place to live. Before long, Marlena’s natural beauty and inner determination carry her higher and further in her career, until she ultimately catches the eye of one Michael Durst.

Michael Durst is handsome, charming, wealthy, and influential. And soon Marlena Altizer becomes Mrs. Michael Durst. The third Mrs. Michael Durst as it were. And before she knows it, Marlena has become only a shadow of who she once was. Michael controls everything, from what she weighs, to what she wears, to who she socializes with. If he wants her to learn a new skill, another language, or lose weight, she is forced to comply. Because if she doesn’t, there are consequences…

Marlena gave up her independence for the luxurious life Michael Durst can provide her. To the outside, she has the fairy tale life. But behind the closed doors of their penthouse in Manhattan, Marlena is trapped. No one ever thinks to ask if the princess in the tower is happy. And now, death may be Marlena’s only escape from this marriage. Unless she can find a way to turn things on Michael Durst before he does it to her.


I am not kidding when I say this book pulled me straight into the story and didn’t let up. Aguirre has an incredibly unique writing style. The story was mostly written from the context of Marlena saying what happened, told in a somewhat distant way. There is very little dialogue—the book is firmly narrated by Marlena—and it feels as though she is telling us a story. Her early years leaving home, being discovered by the modeling agency, and meeting Michael Durst all happen in the first third of the book. And from there, the crazy part happens…

Marlena is so fascinating because I almost want to call her an unreliable narrator, but if I think back on it, she doesn’t lie to us. She does tell the truth, she just keeps some parts back until the right time to reveal them. The twists (if you want to call them that) don’t have a bombshell drop. They are slowly unveiled until the moment you fully connect the reality and you realize that maybe Marlena kind of already told you what was happening, just maybe in fewer words.

As a girl who loves twists, I know this may seem like it would be disappointing, but it wasn’t at all. In fact, the twists to the story—though drawn out in the reveal—were kind of amazing. As things began to click in my mind, I just felt even more captivated by the story. Fantastic!

It was also hard to connect with many of the characters because of how the story was told. However, I didn’t mind that. I did find them all interesting in their own way. There was always the feeling that there was more to every character than met the eye. Literally every character, from her friend in her modeling days, to her body guard, to the wealthy people she befriends during her marriage. They all have more for you to learn about them. They are all dynamic in their own right.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the book, so I’ll just say this is a story that I couldn’t stop reading if I tried! I highly recommend it!

Thank you to Kaye Publicity and Midnight Ink for my copy. Opinions are my own.
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I'm always up for a psychological mystery story and this Cinderella Gone Wrong book seemed a perfect choice.
A short and quick read, full of angst and dark moments, a cat and mouse game for the main characters, a young life that went from destroyed to a walk of fame one. 
The story starts with her life and how she got to meet Mr Durst, from her leaving her home and family to became a cover girl and a lingerie model.

It's a very fast-paced read that i really enjoyed, with all the pull and pulls, the intimate moments and the hate, overall a dark read that many will enjoy.
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This book is delicious!  I grabbed this book on a whim because I loved the cover and the synopsis.  There were no reviews and zero buzz about it.  But something about it made me throw caution to the wind and give it a go.  I am so glad I did!

While this book isn’t anything ground breaking and has zero twists, it is so devious and entertaining that I finished this book in a day.  It’s fast paced and thrilling ; a little bit of Behind Closed Doors meets Maestra.  

Thank you to Midnight Ink for my copy of this book via NetGalley
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Loved this book! After reading the blurb, I couldn't wait to get started on it. Loved the female lead. I also loved the fact that there was some exploration of other sexual orientations than heterosexual. I hated Michael, but I'm sure that was what was meant to happen. He made me so angry! The ending to this book was extremely satisfying!

Thank you #NetGalley for an early copy of #TheThirdMrsDurst for review! I loved it!
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This is between a two and a three for me. A strong premise and beginning; however, the ending is pretty far-fetched as endings go. And endings mean everything for me in thrillers. Combine that with a protagonist that I wasn't someone I found myself caring about I was a bit disappointed.
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They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. The Third Mrs. Durst serves it as if it were Baked Alaska, carefully prepared, frozen, and set on fire.

I almost said there’s no mystery here, that The Third Mrs. Durst is purely a thriller – and purely a thrill from beginning to end. Then I thought about it a bit, and realized that yes, it is also a mystery. Just not the mystery that the reader expects until the very, very end.

It seems like a dark twist on the Cinderella story, as it’s intended to be. Marlena Altizer escapes from the cowboy heroin capital of the world. The backwoods of Kentucky where oxycodone has destroyed lives, families and entire towns.

Marlena runs away to escape a world that holds no future for her except early and too many pregnancies, too many easy but temporary escapes via drugs and alcohol, and an early death after a battered life. The life that her mother chose.

Marlena chooses another path.

At first it seems like she’s chosen to be Cinderella, escaping from her drudgery of an existence to a world of glitz and glamour – but with an even darker underbelly. She gets lucky – becomes a model and mostly doesn’t have to pay for her chances with her body.

Until she chooses to trade that body for the high-life as the trophy wife of a high-roller who just so happens to have a taste for beautiful young women with no pasts – so that he can mold them into exactly what he wants.

Marlena knows it’s a dark and dirty bargain – but it’s exactly what she bargained for. Until it looks like her “loving” husband has set his plans to make her follow the first Mrs. Durst, and the second Mrs. Durst, a little sooner than she was ready for.

Marlena Altizer Durst has no intention of joining her predecessors in the death that their Bluebeard of a husband has planned for her. Whether she can escape his deadly clutches is another thing entirely.

And get him into hers.

Escape Rating A+: This one had me from beginning to end. I got sucked in at breakfast and didn’t spill out until after dinner – gasping at the ending. An ending which reminds me a lot of the classic movie, The Sting, the kind of ending where you gasp and blink and realize that everything you thought you knew was what you were intended to know – and that you have been completely misdirected right along with most of the characters in the story.

And that’s as much as I’m going to say about that because I don’t want to spoil the effect. But it’s a wow!

What makes this so compelling is the character of Marlena, and the way that her story and her motivations are revealed slowly and carefully. In spite of being inside her head, we’ve been deceived right along with everyone else.

At first, this seems like a dark Pretty Woman. And it’s a story that we’ve seen and read about too many times. A young woman thinks she’s found a golden ticket only to discover that she’s been bought and sold by a man who holds all the cards. She’s his creation, and his puppet. He controls her with isolation, with violence, and with threats to anyone that she loves. She’s trapped and she knows it and he loves knowing that he has all the control.

But as the story progresses, we discover that it’s not exactly what we thought. Marlena went into this horror with her eyes wide open. She has an agenda of her own. She wants revenge for her sister, the first Mrs. Durst. She’s just not sure she can get it. Michael Durst is more ruthless – and less hinged, than she imagined.

She still plays her hand, fearing all the while that she may have dealt herself into a higher stakes game than she planned. As hard as it is to read about the abuse that she suffers, we are frightened for her. It seems as if its too much for her to take – and too much for us.

Then it all goes completely pear-shaped – not that it was any bed of roses before. It looks like her plans have unraveled. And then – boom! A boom that will explode everything. For her, for him, and especially for the reader, blinking and gasping at the end.
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2.5 stars

"Some people just need killing"

I fluctuated between a 2 and a 3-star rating for this book depending on where I was at in the story, so at its conclusion, I settled on a 2.5 star rating.  This twisted Cinderella tale was a fast read and yet it was not the book for me. We, as reader, can't love them all and although some are loving this book, I just didn't get there.  There were points in this book where I thought "No, just no" and other times I thought "Now, things are beginning to get interesting." But at the end, I just failed to connect to the story and the characters. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Midnight Ink in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This was a fast read and pretty predictable.  The pacing was good and the story kept my attention - even though it felt familiar, like something I'd read before.  I didn't really like any of the characters.  Michael, of course, was ultra-evil.  Marlena was the victim - - but she had her own agenda.  We didn't really see enough of the other characters to form much of an opinion one way or the other but none struck me as likable.

I guessed most of the twists before they occurred but the book was entertaining enough for me to give it 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
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