Review: The Golden Couple (2022) by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Detritus churning underneath the façade of a seemingly perfect, Instagrammable life.

Published by St. Martin’s Press on March 8, 2022

329 pages. Full Length Novel

Title Card - "The Golden Couple", central artwork features a golden rose with a sage green stem. Author names included, "Greer Hendricks" and "Sarah Pekkanen"

The Golden Couple (2022) is a full-length domestic suspense thriller. Told in third person POV, the novel follows Avery Chambers, a former therapist, and a married couple, Matthew and Marrissa Bishop. The novel centers the lives of these three individuals, and co-authors Hendricks and Pekkanen craft a whodunit styled mystery that constantly asks the reader to re-evaluate their positioning on certain characters and the larger overarching mystery.

As a high-profile former therapist, Avery Chambers is well-known for (and receives a considerable amount of media attention of) her very unorthodox methods. A system of therapy that has resulted in the loss of her professional license. Just as any therapist, Avery sees patients seeking some kind of therapy on an issue (underlying or otherwise). The only difference being the extent through which she inserts herself into the lives of her clientele, and the oddly organized system by which she tackles your issue(s). Avery claims that she only requires a mere ten trademark sessions to “fix you”, coupled with an amalgamation of detective work, some fairly invasive data-extraction and monitoring of her patients, and some strongly formulated advice. At the outset of the story, it is made clear that despite the unconventional nature of her treatment system, Avery’s track record with previous patients is “flawless”. Avery’s perspective is one of importance to the story, as she plays the neutral buffer between both Bishops. The co-authors must have thoroughly enjoyed writing such a sharp, witty, and compelling character through Avery; the passion emanating through the words within her chapters alone is undeniable.

Marissa and Matthew Bishop, both in their mid-to-late thirties, live a seemingly picturesque, white-picket fence existence with their young son. She runs a lavish boutique in Downtown Washington D.C. (the city serving as the primary locale for which the events of the story take place) in between ferrying her son to school in the morning and baseball practice in the afternoon, while he is a high-ranked attorney for an unnamed corporation. However, things are not as they seem, with an underlying moral decay stifled just under the surface of their “Instagrammable life”. At the outset of the novel, they are at their (predominantly her) wits end. The Bishops approach Avery with the hope of saving their marriage. To find a way to work through a recently confessed infidelity. Marissa has cheated – with a guy from her gym, so she claims – and after a lot of grovelling and begging on her part, has somehow managed to convince Matthew to attend couple’s therapy.

Can Avery save the Bishops’ marriage?

The idea of gaslighting your readers is interesting, and I believe, entirely pertinent with regards to the experience of The Golden Couple. Pekkanen and Hendricks, to a degree which I can assess as suspensefully, line up a roster of prime suspects and leave it up to readers to decipher who is the guilty party; the puppeteer, moving the chess pieces behind the scenes. At many times throughout the novel, it feels as if the authors are physically throwing readers on some intangible, unknowable angst. Something is amiss; beneath this seemingly pristine and wealthy façade of PAC-meetings and expensive private-schools and deftly manicured lawns and sleek black Escalades and yearly take-home salaries exceeding six, seven figures, Pekkanen and Hendricks uphold the notion of moral decay. I would extend this to the idea of domestic bliss in peril – domestic decay. A perversion of the American Dream, envisioned with the perfect family unit, the perfect couple. Has someone potentially facilitated thecircumstances leading to Marissa’s infidelity? Is there something larger, more sinister, happening? Is there some unknown (or known) background figure with Machiavellian intent?


There is Matthew’s ex-girlfriend from college, the beautiful (and more importantly single) Natalie, who he has always remained cordial and friendly with. Or Marissa’s 20-something, peculiar, occasionally invasive though entirely reliable shop assistant Polly. Or perhaps Matthew and Marrisa’s mutual, childhood-friend (suspiciously single as well) Skip? And how is Avery implicated in this complex web of relationships and secrets?

This is a thrilling, enjoyable experience, that I consumed within a day. Defined by short chapters, a prose that can only be described as accessible and sharp and witty, I can see The Golden Couple appealing to non-genre readers/general audiences and turning out a thoroughly satisfying experience. Novels are an experiential good. You cannot be certain you will like a book, more often than not, until you reach the completion of said book itself. I can rest assured you that The Golden Couple met, exceeded, my personal expectations through its crafting of a web of deceit and domestic decay. For fans of scandalous, Desperate Houseives-esque fiction, I implore you to give this one a chance.

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