Cover Image: The Third Mrs. Durst

The Third Mrs. Durst

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I have always enjoyed Ann Aguirre's writing. I have read a few of her previous books, and was excited to receive an ARC of The Third Mrs. Durst from NetGalley.  While I am not usually intrigued by "thriller" novels, this one had me from the first paragraph. 
We open with a teenage Marlena Altizer, running away from a poverty stricken area in Kentucky with the intent to make a better life. Through a series of events, she has become a model and catches the eye of Michael Durst. He is rich, powerful, and has a reputation for acquiring everything that he wants.  While not a love match, they enter into a marriage.  From a girl on the streets, to a bird in a cage, Marlena is closely and continuously guarded and her only friend is Jenny who lived on the streets with her.  
The Michael Durnst character is written with that something extra that makes his brand of evil that much more intense.  Bit by bit, Michael wraps her in opulent finery and abusive chains. His scorn for women is evident and I was just as nervous as she is when he returns home. 
She always has a plan working in the background. She is biding her time.  For what, we don't know.
Aguirre has a real knack for twisting the plot lines.  While you know that retaliation is imminent and you think that you know just who will participate, you are never quite sure. 
All in all, this was a most enjoyable novel. I found that the narrative was non stop and there were no lulls in the action. While you know that Durnst is a psychopath and deserves anything that he gets, the twisting ending is most satisfying. 
I received this Arc from NetGalley with no expectations. My opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Many thanks to NetGalley, Midnight Ink and Ann Aguirre for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review of The Third Mrs. Durst. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy.

Marlena grew up in the hills, with a drug-addicted mother, many siblings, and nothing to eat. She knew she had to get out and she did. It was hard to leave the little ones behind, but if she didn’t save herself, no one would. Living on the streets was dangerous but she found a best friend, Jenny. Discovered by a talent agent she begins modeling. A man, Michael Durst, notices her in the office one day and soon she is booking jobs in Europe. 

Before long Marlena becomes Mrs. Michael Durst. The third Mrs. Michael Durst. Everyone keeps telling her how lucky she is now that she has married prince charming. However, having all the money in the world doesn’t mean you’re happy. Marlena knows she has a long way to go until she is perfect, a word her husband keeps using. Marlena just doesn’t know if she’ll live that long. Michael is grooming her to fit into his society, lying about who she is and where she came from. Marlena tries because if she makes one slight perceived error she is violently punished. The last two wives didn’t survive. Death might be the only way out. 

Finally!!! A thriller that thrills. A mystery that unfolds. Wow, imagine that. If you can’t tell, I am excited about this book. This was my kind of story. I like when you are led down a path. A path that is true, yet there is so much going on. Where you try to predict the end with one outcome, then another, then another. All possibilities hold true until, boom, there it is. The ending you didn’t expect. You didn’t expect it but it was there the whole time. You haven’t been lied to for ninety percent of the book, then the last ten percent turns everything upside down, and this left-field ending happens that you are supposed to accept. 

You should be forewarned that there is a lot of violence in this story. It is a little hard to take. I wasn’t expecting it and it made me uncomfortable. But it fit the story. I really liked the characters. Marlena is smart and her story is interesting. Everyone’s part fits into the story. Things move quickly, it is fast-paced, and there is never a dull moment. It’s an easy read, captivating, well written psychological thriller. If you have been following my reviews, you’ll know that I’ve been waiting for something to hold my attention. I’m so happy I finally found it!
Was this review helpful?
2.5 stars

You can read all of my reviews at

I LOVED the Razorland series, so when I saw another book written by Ann Aguirre I jumped at the chance to read it. Sadly, I just didn't connect with this book. It hurts to write this review, because I really enjoy this author's previous works, and I met her at Comic-Con one year and she was delightful. Despite the fact that I didn't like this book, I will read anything she releases in the future.

The good news is that this is a quick and easy read, so you can read it in between heavier, more dense books. The bad news is that there was no character development and the plot was flat and uneven. Rather than a first person account of the main character's tumultuous life, the story seemed more like a bare bones book report delivered in a monotone voice. Marketed as a mystery/thriller, there was little of either. There wasn't any mystery about what would happen or why, and the "twists" could be seen early in the book. 

Marlena escaped a dead-end life in a small southern town, determined to make a better life for herself. Through determination and wile, she talks herself into a modeling job with a small time, local agent. From there she moves up in the modeling world, eventually ending up on an international stage and catching the eye of a wealthy man, Mr. Durst. Marlena carefully lays her trap to catch Mr. Durst, until they finally marry. But being Mrs. Durst comes at a price, including being controlled by Mr. Durst in every aspect of her life. If she disobeys, she suffers the consequences. Marlena must decide if and how she escapes her gilded prison, including the possibility of death.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book, but I can see how other people may like it.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a tough book to review because everything has the potential to be a spoiler so I'll stick with the basics.  Marlena does everything to attract rich widower Michael, but once they are married, everything changes. When I say that, it's not pretty at all. 

Marlena must decide what she's going to do, and letting Michael make himself a widower (again) isn't an option. More is revealed about these characters as the story continues, and yeah -- Michael is a bad dude. It wasn't always easy to be sympathetic to Marlena as well, and I thought that took something away from the story.

This is a quick, easy-to-read thriller that you can finish quickly, if you are in the mood for some romantic suspense.  Trigger warnings for violence. Regular readers of mystery/suspense might find some of the events predictable.  

An ARC was provided for review.
Was this review helpful?
Some of this was a kind of Cinderella story. Poor girl marries multi-millionaire. Good ALL the way through and the end was the best.
Was this review helpful?
Really enjoyed this one. There are trigger warnings for rape and abuse, but what a compelling read! I was hooked until the end.
Was this review helpful?
“I chose the road that looked prettiest from a distance, but I didn’t know then – sometimes the horizon is bright because it’s on fire.” 

Foreshadowing at its finest, yes? 

So, the concept of The Third Mrs. Durst is fun, though really overdone the past few years. I've read this story many, many times. That's not to say I can't still be surprised...but this book appears to be lacking a twist, which quite defeats the purpose, in my opinion. 

A cat and mouse Cinderella story gone awry, the entire novel is told from Marlena's point of view. Speaking of Marlena, she's something else...I couldn't decide if I loved or loathed her. Michael, her husband, is vile. I didn't have any trouble deciding how I felt about him. 

I was fairly on-board with this book until the final 20% or so. While it offers nothing new to the genre, the relationship between the two main characters, and their antics, were intriguing. I had no issues putting this book wasn't an engrossing read...but when I did pick it up, I was easily able to find my way back into Ms. Aguirre's world. My main gripe was the implausibility factor. I don't mind some suspension of belief, but when it involves police procedural or court rulings, that's where I draw the line. If an author can't craft a story without obliterating our justice system, some re-writes are probably in order. (view spoiler) Worse, the epilogue is pretty cheesy. 

Bottom line, I'd say this is worth reading if you like these types of books, just don't open the cover expecting anything remotely new or exciting. 

**Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this novel.
Was this review helpful?
Marlena Altizer ran away from her poor home when she was a teen.  She was discovered by a talent agent who signed her and her friend, Jenny Song. as models. 

That was when Marlena first met Michael Durst.  After a number of successful modeling shoots, Michael requestes that Marlena go to Germany to model German underwear.  After another successful period of time in Germany,. she begins studying German and French and is making good money.  But, she usually keeps to herself.

When Marlena realizes that she has maxed out as a model, Michael steps in and takes her over, buying her things and introducing her to the best in life.  She was warned that he is a control freak, but she marries him anyway and even signs a prenup.  Michael insists that she study art and creates a fictitious background for her.  He wants a perfect wife and now he owns her.

Ah, but Michael is not the man he seems to be.  He is violent and evil leaving Marlena with injuries.  But she is so far intertwined with him that she knows without him needing to tell her all the time that there is no way she will leave him because he will kill her first.   Is there a way out for her or is she meant to die like Michael’s first two wives?

This is a gritty story that shows how money can buy a lot of things, but is it always worth it?  Be prepared to be shocked and wanting to grab Michael by the throat and do him in yourself.  I certainly felt that way.  Whew!  What a ride.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Marlena left her home at sixteen to escape her tough life. She landed a modeling contract, and worked steadily until her big break. After a particularly successful job, she was offered more jobs, including an opportunity to move to Germany. That is where she was courted by Michael Durst. Now married, they lead the perfect life in public, but behind closed doors he is demanding and cruel.

Told from Marlena's viewpoint, she recalls her young days as a model up until her present life. Marlena wants to leave her marriage, but doesn't have many opportunities. Michael keeps constant watch on her, and he has a personal security guard with her at all times. The only person in Marlena's life that she really trusts is Jenny, her best friend who she met when they were teens starting their modeling careers. To get away from her husband, Marlena needs help, but she's not sure who else she can trust.

A psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. This is a plot driven story with plenty of action. It's fun and exciting, but I had some questions in the end that took a little away from my enjoyment of the book. I've liked Ann Aguirre's young adult novels, and I look forward to reading more adult thrillers by her. Dark, devious, and entertaining.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
What to say about this story? Well, first of all, the cover and title caught my eye. Then I read the blurb, and I was intrigued. I was delighted when the publisher approved my request for an egalley. I admit, I'm a sucker for stories where the woman is wronged but fights back. And I did get that. Sort of.

Now, "The Third Mrs. Durst" is not an original story; it's been done many times before. And some of the twists, weren't. But. Marlena is an unreliable narrator, an enthralling storyteller, and a master manipulator, and that gives us surprises along the way. She's maybe not quite as wronged as she seems initially. We don't get any perspective except Marlena's and I wish we'd gotten her husband's. We don't really get to know him well. He's sadistic, cruel, manipulative, and petty but he's also cardboard, with little depth. He's the reason for the story but we get little insight into him. Now, that said, Aguirre slowly peels back layers and adds more detail as events unfold. There's a few too many coincidences and still a few loose threads at the end but I was never bored. In fact, I started the book late at night and ended up reading straight through till I finished around 4AM.

I mentioned that Marlena is an unreliable narrator. She has an agenda and we only think we know what it is. She keeps secrets very, very well. She's patient, motivated, and ruthless. Not unlike her husband Michael. Just when I thought I knew what was happening and why, we'd learn something new. The truth was an object and an idea that kept moving and changing. Motivations were malleable as were facts. I needed a score card to keep up.

"The Third Mrs. Durst" was twisty, emotional, too coincidental at times,a  mix of predictable and surprising, and utterly engaging. I couldn't put it down until I finished. I had to know what was going on and what would happen. 
Was this review helpful?
The Third Mrs. Durst is Ann Aguirre’s first foray into the world of thrillers. Previously, she’d proven that she’s a master at writing fantasy. And now we know she can handle other genres as well. It’s impressive.
	The Third Mrs. Durst is a heavier novel, full of emotion, abuse, determination, and revenge. It follows Marlena Altizer Durst, also known as the Third Mrs. Durst. Marlena started out with nothing, but built herself up to something through a career in modeling. Then she married Mr. Durst and her life took a turn – but not necessarily for the best.
	This novel is a thriller through and through. It’s also perfect for anyone out there looking for a good revenge novel. Sometimes we all crave something like that, right?
	I’ve loved Ann Aguirre’s science fiction and fantasy for years, so I wanted to be sure to give this new genre a chance. I know sometimes it can be hard for an author to transition from one genre to another. I’m glad I gave this one a try, and I’ll be curious to see what she comes out with next.

	Warnings: There are a lot of fairly graphic moments in this novel. There’s abuse, sexual assault, torture, rape, and scenes that blur the lines on where consent lies. These moments are intense and fairly uncomfortable – as they were meant to be. 
	The Third Mrs. Durst is an intense read, but a thrilling one nonetheless. This novel has a lot of fun taking some typical tropes and flipping them on their heads. All while presenting us with a strong female lead and an antagonist that’s perfect to hate. 
I do think it’s going to be one of those books that people either love or hate. And that might very well depend on the moods we’re in. Personally, I know I didn’t love it as much as I could have (or as much as I would have liked). But I also know that the more graphic elements really threw me, so that likely played a factor.
	I do love that Ann Aguirre twisted expectations in this novel. Nothing is what it appears to be here, the weak and abused female character is anything but (okay, she is abused, but she is anything but weak). The plot has more layers than a glance would indicate. And so much more.
	A lot of the twists and turns you couldn’t see coming, and she took advantage of that storytelling style to obfuscate the truth. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about some of that, to be honest. I don’t like it when I read a mystery where the puzzle pieces are impossible to put together. But this is a thriller, so perhaps I shouldn’t expect to be able to mull through it in the same sense.
	The Third Mrs. Durst was an interesting read, on the whole. I’m not going to pretend that it was my favorite, but I did really enjoy it at times. And I’m sincerely looking forward to seeing what Ann Aguirre comes out with next.
Was this review helpful?
Marlena is married to a wealthy man and living what outsiders perceive as a fairy tale existence. But what happens behind closed doors is anything but a Cinderella story. At heart-pounding pace, the story takes many turns and uncovers shocking revelations which ultimately turn deadly.

The story is as much action-packed thriller as it is psychological. Though I very much had to suspend my disbelief, found the story interesting and enjoyable. I wished there had been a little something extra as far as twists. The main surprise was revealed fairly early on and that was pretty much it for big reveals. The ending was completely far-fetched but it worked nonetheless and was different. Overall, a good, well-paced thriller for those who like adventure.

Many thanks to Netgalley, Midnight Ink and Ann Aguirre for my complimentary e-copy ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
DNF at 31%

I was all in for this story. The synopsis, the cover, and the fact that it was written by Ann. I was excited for so much of this. Sadly, the content made it impossible for me to continue. 

In the section that I did read, there were several mentions of rape and what stopped me from continuing was Marlena getting strapped down and whipped with a belt. 

I did skip to the end of the book and read the last chapter and epilogue and I was intrigued, but I refuse to read any escalating scenes. 

**Huge thanks to Midnight Ink for providing the arc free of charge**
Was this review helpful?
From the outside it looks like Marlena is living quite the life. But only a few people know what's really going on in her marriage to Michael Durst. Whew! This one caught me by surprise. I was so excited to get my hands on this one but almost gave up on it a little bit in because I just couldn't get into it BUT I am so glad that I stuck with it. Once it picked up pace it was totally worth it! I thought I had this one figured out but I was wrong- the twists in this one come out of nowhere and left me wanting more. I will definitely be reading more by this author.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley, Midnight Ink and Ann Aguirre for the opportunity to read and review this book.  This was a 3.5 star read for me.

Marlena Durst is married to Michael, a controlling, violent man whose first two wives died in somewhat mysterious ways.  Is Marlena next?  Marlena tried hard to escape her past and make something of herself; she became that when she met Michael.  But not all Cinderella stories have a happy ending.

There are enough twists in this story to make it interesting but all the cat-and-mouse violence made it a bit much for me and the twists weren't enough to make up for that.
Was this review helpful?
Marlena came from a very poor family, with a drug addicted mother, an absent father and several younger half brothers and sisters. Her older sister left several years ago and has never looked back.

At 16, she gathered up her meager belongings and leaves for the big city. She lucks into modeling and becomes quite well known and wealthy. She now leads a fairy tale life.

She meets and marries a very rich man who will give her everything she deserves. But if comes with a price. He controls her every move. He monitors what she eats, when she eats, he dresses her, he sends her to school to learn foreign languages. He even invents her family background to make her 'perfect'.

He has chosen a personal bodyguard for her. He is to report if she does anything outside of what he authorized. She wants to go to a particular store by herself, she must ask her bodyguard if it is okay with her husband. If she disobeys any of his rules, there are consequences. He has all the power.

Then she discovers that his first two wives died .. one was a car accident, the other committed suicide. She just knows that he killed them or had them killed. She supposes they just weren't perfect enough.

The only way out of this mess is that one of them is going to have to die. Who will it be?

There are lots of twists and turns that you won't see coming. It's a real page-turner.

Many thanks to the author / Midnight Ink Books / Netgalley for the advanced digital copy of this psychological suspense. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?
Wow this is one deliciously twisted story! I was gripped right from the start and was completely caught up in the drama of it all. It is a very chilling and intense read, that at times is quite confronting with very graphic scenes of physical abuse, which is a trigger warning to readers that are sensitive to this, but at the same time is also very compelling.

The plot of this book spins a twist on a tale that you may have read before, but what makes this one stand out above the rest, is the power of revenge and the lengths a person will go to to get it, even if it could cost them their own life. This is definitely a story where you won’t find a happy ever after, but you will walk away with is a feeling of satisifaction. After all “Some people just need killing”…. (A brilliant tagline by the way!)

Right from the start I absolutely detested the character of Michael Durst and think he is one of the most despicable inhumane characters that I have ever read and has shot straight up to the top of my top 5 most unlikeable characters of all time! Ann has written him to perfection as the villainous sociopath/psychopath.

For me, Marlena is a very relatable and believable character. Even though she is put through the ringer and at times in the most horrific of ways, I admired her strength and determination throughout. You definitely would want her as a friend and not as an enemy!

I also enjoyed the character of Joanna Van Houten and liked how I was kept guessing if her intentions came from a place of good or bad and I was not disappointed with the outcome there.

I really enjoyed Ann’s writing style. Even though at times it can be an uncomfortable read, Ann has nailed making the reader feel tension throughout and know how to make ones heart pound waiting to see where it was all going to go next. This is an addictive thrilling read which I highly recommend.

This is the first book that I have read from Ann. She is definitely one that I will be looking out for in the thriller genre in the future.

Thank-you to NetGalley, Midnight Ink Books and Ann Aguirre for allowing me to read an advance copy of The Third Mrs Durst which I have review honestly and voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
This domestic Thriller is a fast paced read. You will not want to stop. The evilness involved will make your knees shake. I rooted for Marlena to win. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 stars for this book. Thank you Midnight Ink and Netgalley for this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a twisty thriller reminiscent of a few others that I've read in the past. The author wastes no time jumping into the terror that awaits the main character, Marlena. I found myself flying through the story as the pacing was very fast. The antagonist, Michael Durst, felt a bit generic as a villain, I kept feeling like I've seen him before in books or movies. Although the plot didn't feel particularly original, I did really enjoy the ride...the story was well written and fun to read.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Midnight Ink for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  
After requesting this ARC I became very worried by some of the reviews that I read.  It seemed everyone either really liked or really hated it.  I read a lot of thrillers and was prepared to end up having to force myself through this one.  Luckily this book blew me away and thoroughly kept my attention from beginning to end.  I couldn’t wait to keep reading to find out what happened.  And I found this book very unpredictable. 

There isn't much I can say detail wise about this book with out spoiling anything. I would say if you enjoyed Behind Closed Doors or The Last Mrs Parish you should pick this up.  While I wouldn’t say this is as good as those, I would say this comes close.  

If you enjoy thrillers, I strongly recommend checking this one out.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Was this review helpful?