Cover Image: The Third Mrs. Durst

The Third Mrs. Durst

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Member Reviews

The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher  Midnight Ink, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Synopsis:  (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Marlena Altizer left her home in Kentucky when she was 16 years old.  Her mother was an addict, she never knew her father, and there were another 5 "youngers" still at home.

Finding work as a model was her salvation.  Catching the eye of Michael Durst was both a dream and a nightmare.  Michael quickly controlled everything, even before their marriage.  To all outward appearances, Marlena lived in luxury, but she was really his prisoner.  What she ate, what she wore, what she said, where she went....all of it was controlled by Michael.  There were repercussions when she strayed from his script.

It soon became evident that Michael may kill her if she was no longer useful.  After all, his first two wives are dead, so it may have happened before.   But Marlena had a plan, had it all along, and she would use any means and anyone to make it happen.

My Opinions:  

This is the first book I've read by this author.  She writes Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA and Romance, but this seems to be the only psychological thriller I could find on her website.  If she were to write more of this genre, I would be more than interested in reading more of her books.

The characters all had something that had me questioning their reliability/honesty,  and I often wondered if each had an ulterior motive for their actions.  This kept me on my toes, and really helped the suspense to build, as I was never really sure who to trust.

This was a fast, entertaining read.  The writing was very clear, and the story flowed smoothly.  The plot was great, and twisted a few times.
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This was one of those thrillers that missed the mark and wasn't thrilling. Most of this was boring. I've read better stories like this that are actually capable of eliciting some emotion for the trauma the characters experienced. Honestly I didn't want to finish this. 

Marlena wants to leave her miserable life behind and make something of herself. She becomes a model and meets a rich man who falls for her. The relationship quickly turns abusive. The book failed to make anything about their relationship appealing. Michael never seemed like a nice guy. He was always controlling and demanding. It was hard to believe Marlena wanted to be with him. It never felt like she loved him. For a book about an abusive relationship, it was not rife with emotion. 

I didn't like or felt completely indifferent to all of the characters. Quite frankly I should have hated Michael but didn't simply because I didn't care enough. Jenny was uninteresting, and her relationship with Marlena didn't matter at all to me. Vin was not believable. He fell for Marlena way too fast. I would have expected someone in his position to put up a stronger resistance to her so called charms. Out of everyone he was the best character in the book.

I did like the end. It had a nice twist. It lost appeal as the details of how the twist was pulled off were revealed. It was far-fetched.
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Literally (get it, nudge, nudge) the best beginning paragraph for a thriller is in the Third Mrs. Durst.

“Some people just need killing. And maybe I’m one of them.”

But the problem with such a great hook on the first page is that it may give away too much of the plot. If you read the rest of paragraph, you really don’t need to read the thriller. The plot is right there out in the open. Now, it might have been okay if it was a reverse thriller like Memento or DOA, where the reader knows some of the answers upfront but not the why. However, this book wasn’t that clever. 

Unfortunately, the characters were totally unlikeable too. Overall, the Third Mrs. Durst was not my cup of blood. The violence against women, the graphic rape scenes, the emotional abuse and even the wham bam thank you ma’am LGBT scene didn’t feel organic. They felt like staged scenes between Barbie dolls and one incredibly evil Ken. None of those things are triggers for me. At least they weren’t before this book. 2 stars.

Thanks to Midnight Ink and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Marlena Altizer Durst came from a difficult, poor background and fought her way out, catching the eye of super-rich Martin Durst along the way becoming the third Mrs Durst.
And once that wedding ring was on - things shifted. She became a bird in a cage - a puppet to her controlling husband; doing what he wanted her to do, wearing what he wanted her to wear, eating what he wanted her to eat, drinking what he wanted her to drink - all the while showing her perfect side to the world.
And so Marlena grabs you by the hand and drags you along with her with every frantic step she takes.
A fast-paced; chilling; dark story that you just can't put down until the final explosive word - "murder". A book that reminds you that people are not always what they seem to be.
"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."
A poignant quote which comes into its own in the end.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me the chance to read this book
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Marlena Altizer Durst looks like the perfect wife with the perfect husband and the perfect life.  But what no one realizes is her husband controls everything she does, everything she wears, everywhere she goes and who she sees.  And when she does something that displeases him, she pays.  Oh, does she pay.  Her husband's first two wives died, and Marlena suspects it wasn't an accident.  Now that Marlena is starting to displease him more and more, she needs to find a way out, before she a body bag.

This book is part "Pretty Woman" and part psychological thriller.  I loved the twist about who wife number one was.  I thought this was a very enjoyable read, a bit unrealistic at points, but overall still definitely worth reading.
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Marlena was born in the hills of Kentucky and when she is still a teenager she leaves home and the abuses she’s endured, and heads to Nashville.  There she is able to reinvent herself, catch the eye of a promoter, and eventually marry a wealthy businessman named Michael Durst. But, this is only the beginning of the story.  There is a much darker side to Marlena and her plans.   

The Third Mrs Durst is a chilling tale about revenge.  For me, the story just didn’t quite resonant.  None of the characters were sympathetic, the pace was inconsistent, and the timeline of the story was somewhat difficult to follow.  It seems the story takes place over a few years, but for how long is hard to say.  I felt that Marlena’s agenda was revealed much too soon and with too much information, which somehow lessened the suspense.  I didn’t find the ending to be a surprise at all. 

There were some moments when I found the story compelling and interesting, but there just weren’t enough of those moments.  In the end, the book left me cold and I found myself a little bit relieved that it had ended.  I wish I could have enjoyed it more.  I would give it 2.5 stars. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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The Third Mrs Durst has a good plot - a beautiful woman, rises from her hillbilly background, to marry a rich man....all for revenge. That said, there was something missing - character development, character growth, character...soul? Marlena was a driven woman, bent on revenge. 

There are some very violent scene of abuse, both mental and physical. So...trigger warning if you are sensitive. Additionally, I think this book wasn't quite sure on what genre it wanted to be....mystery, thriller, romance, 'erotica', straddles all of the lines. 

The potential was good, but ultimately, it was just okay.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Things aren't always what they seem and that's for sure true for Marlena.  She came from nothing and married Michael, who has everything.  Except he's locked her in their apartment and abuses her both mentally and physically. Yes, she's the third wife and she knows this situation is about to end, badly, for her.  So, Marlena pulls it together and hatches a plan.  This really is about revenge.  Pure and simple.   There's graphic descriptions especially of what Michael does to Marlena that may well have you wanting to join her. It's a fast, plot driven read that is a tad unrealistic but still a page turner.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Might make a good movie.
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2 ⭐️‘s
This book was terribly slow and completely plot driven with little character development.  Unfortunately the plot was cliched and there were no surprises, no real suspense and I did not connect with any of the characters.  Everything seems forced and unnatural and nothing really rang true.  While I might be in the minority, this book just fell flat.
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This book is dark and the protagonist is a twisted woman. Certainly not your typical female protagonist but that's what I like about this story. It was enfuriating sometimes because she puts up with so much bad stuff just to keep on with her revenge plan but I would recommend it.
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I struggled to get into this book I couldn't finish. I had such high hopes too. The reviews were great but the book was not.
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EXCERPT: Some people just need killing. And maybe I'm one of them. 

My husband certainly thinks so, but then he feels that way about most women. I may not survive his style of love. 

His first wife didn't. Neither did his second. 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Marlena Altizer Durst lives in her husband’s shadow. He controls her every move—what she wears, the food she eats, and the friends she’s allowed to make. If she disobeys, there are… consequences. And he has all the power, so nobody would believe her.

Her Cinderella story has been well-documented and it seems that she leads a fairy-tale life. But nobody ever wonders if Cinderella was happy after she married the prince. Marlena has traded freedom and safety for luxurious imprisonment, and most days, that seems like a bad bargain. Death may be the only exit she’s allowed. Just like his first wife. And his second.

Unless she flips the script.

And gets away with murder… 

MY THOUGHTS: It seems that every character in this book has a hidden agenda and nothing is quite as it seems. Which makes for an interesting, if somewhat far fetched at times, read. 

None of the characters are likeable. Definitely not Michael, nor Marlena, his 'perfect' wife. Even Joanna Van Houten has a dark side. But perhaps that is what is needed to be rich and successful. 

The Third Mrs Durst takes the meaning of 'manipulative' to a whole new level. 

Definitely worth reading. This is a book that I would not be surprised to see being made into a movie. 

Ann Aguirre has written a lot of books. I have never read her before. I plan on remedying that. 

Favourite quote: People in the hills where I'd lived were born in bathtubs, not under lucky stars. 


THE AUTHOR: Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes all kinds of books, emo music, action movies and Doctor Who. She writes all kind of fiction in multiple genres, both YA and for adults. 

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Midnight Ink via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Third Mrs Durst by Ann Aguirre for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. 

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my profile page on or the about page on 

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage
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Where to start with this one, because I could go on for days on how this did not work for me. 

Let’s start with the pacing.  It was off.  I had no idea what the timeline is for this one.  I am guessing this book takes place over a few years, but your guess is as good as mine.  One page would be this situation during one time, and then the next would be a whole other situation presumably weeks/months/years in the future.  It was very confusing and did not flow well at all.  

My other issue with this book was that nothing was believable.  That could have been in part because we have no idea how much time has passed between events, but I just had a hard time believing anything that happened here.  I know that these could be true events.  I know people are evil and are capable of doing the things that happen in this book.  But the way it is written, the timing of things, it just didn’t come together and make sense. 

Overall, this was a big miss for me.  I couldn’t get passed my dislike for all the characters.  Nothing felt realistic, and I didn’t find the writing to all that great.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Midnight Ink for my advance copy of The Third Mrs. Durst!  I would also like to wish this book a very HAPPY PUBLISHING DAY!  It is out today!

Can I just say if you are looking for a book that stars a crazy twisted psychopath, this is THE book for you.  Do not read any further, just go out and get this book because...oh my goodness...the star of the show is one of the craziest and most calculating crazy, psychotic people I have ever read as the protagonist.  Woah.

This book is a thrilling mystery.  There weren't any big twists or surprises, but you may find yourself holding your breath as you wait to see what happens.  Marlena (our psychopath, I mean, protagonist) runs away from home at 17 to try and better her life.  Her mother is an addict and many times there isn't even food on the table.  She feels bad for abandoning her siblings, but like her older sister did before her, she has to break out before she winds up pregnant and addicted to drugs herself. 

Marlena meets a man at a fast food restaurant who puts her in to modeling.  This takes her from homeless to having money in a flash.  Eventually after a few years she runs in to Mr. Durst and they start a relationship...yes, she becomes the third wife.

Fair warning, there is domestic violence throughout this book.  Mr. Durst is a disgusting, vile, oxygen thief of a person.  You can't help but hate him.  Why Marlena decided to stick with a man that she knew had these will be revealed.  "Some people just need killing."

This book isn't for everyone.  It is a darker, slower burn.  Personally, I found it jumped around a little bit and lost me in places.  I did read an advance copy so I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it.  I love what Marlena did and how she handled herself.  If you're looking for a typical thriller or maybe even character development, this isn't for you.  If you are looking for a twisted, revengeful, crazy on!

***This will be posted on Thursday, August 8th to***
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I received an ARC of this book thanks to Net Galley and publisher Midnight Ink in exchange for an honest review.

Oh wow. Now I read A LOT of thrillers and sadly, most of the thriller ARCs I request end up disappointing me. I was not prepared to be blown away by this book the way I was. The Third Mrs. Durst is the story of Marlena, a poor girl with big dreams. At the start of the novel, she has sought out a modelling career with the hopes of catching the eye of Michael Durst, a wealthy and powerful man. However, Michael Durst has been married twice before and both of his wives have met unpleasant ends. Marlena is well aware of this but she has a plan of her own...

There isn't much more to be said about the plot of this book without spoiling anything. For a thriller, it doesn't focus on incorporating a lot of twists but this is absolutely not a weakness. Where this book shines is its fantastic writing. I was utterly consumed by the story and I almost read it entirely within a day because I simply didn't want to put it down. There is this brilliant sense of tension woven into the book and you never quite know what Marlena is planning despite her being the main character. This is a genius stroke because while the plot isn't necessarily surprising most of the time, the uncertainty about Marlena means that you are constantly on the edge of your seat anyway and you never become complacent. It also feeds off the popularity of other thrillers in that at times, you start to wonder if it will mirror the plot of other famous thrillers. This might sound like a negative but again, it's done really well to keep the reader on their toes. As an avid reader of thrillers, I love it when I genuinely can't guess where a book is going. And when you get there, it's still so good!

Honestly I am delighted to have found this book and this author. I cannot wait for her to write more and I know the plot of this one will stick with me for a long time. If you enjoy thrillers, I strongly recommend checking this one out.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5
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I finished this book today and I just really want to know if Ann Aquirre is...  Is she ok?  This book is SO FREAKING TWISTED I just can't even.  I couldn't put it down from beginning to end, and there were so many twists I didn't see coming, or didn't think were possible.  Excellent work!
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Well, not every book is written for every person. This one, though it should have been, was not written for me. I never felt sympathetic for the main character, Marlena. I never felt the reader is given the opportunity to get to know her. Nor do I feel the reader was given enough insight into what was going on and why, or sufficient set up to the "Cinderella" situation. It was all too quick and there seemed to be way too many gaps. The writing, as seen from Marlena's perspective, felt very juvenile. I think this style was the basis for the other issues I had with the book.
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"Some people just need killing."

This book is a chilling cat and mouse game between two soulless individuals bent on mutual destruction via marriage.

Marlena Altizer rises from humble, difficult beginnings, becomes a model and catches the eye of very wealthy and very controlling Michael Durst. Their relationship begins like a modern day Cinderella story but as soon as Michael becomes her husband the rules seem to change. 

Each have secrets, private agendas and trust issues and thus begins the aforementioned cat and mouse game. Who will outwit the other? What are the rules? Is this a game to the death? 

This is a fast, tight read that riveted me from page one and never let up until the end.
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Though I found this to be a fast-paced and engrossing read, I have to say the complete impossibility of it took away a lot of enjoyment for me. It's the story of a dirt poor girl who runs away, becomes a world-famous model, and marries a multi-millionaire. The husband is likely responsible for the deaths of his previous two wives, and makes it known that any perceived transgressions by his new trophy wife will lead to her murder.

Additionally, even the main character who was abused but rather unlikable. She was scheming all along and it made her hard to like.

The other part that made this novel hard to read was the extreme violence. It features sexual assault and brutal violence against women and men. Most of it felt gratuitous and unnecessary.
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Some people just need killing ...

If that one sentence doesn’t entice you , then there’s something wrong . Quite a dark read and i found the early part of the book a bit slow but it did pick up  . A story of control  and an abusive husband is one that’s been done many times before, but still I did enjoy this book rating it at 3.75. The third Mrs Durst will want you finding out what happened to the first and second Mrs Durst.If you like domestic thrillers them you’ll enjoy this one, I would of liked a little more suspense and this might of pushed it to 4 star.
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