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The Black Widow

by Wendy Corsi Staub

Review by Tammy North

The Black Widow is a terrifying book. Wendy Corsi Staub’s final book in her Social Media trilogy takes us to an everyday situation we could all find ourselves in, and asks “what’s the worst that could happen?”. Something as ordinary as engaging in social media. Most of us have done it, either conversing with someone on a forum, or joining an online dating site....

Gaby Duran is trying to move on from the deep grief of her infant son’s crib death. She, and husband Ben, couldn’t find their way back to each other following the tragedy. Gaby was immersed in grief, and pushed Ben away. She refused counseling, and Ben walked out to try shocking her into reaching out for him. Gaby, mired in her misery, let him go, and they divorced. Now, Gaby’s cousin, Jaz, has bulldozed her to try moving forward by joining In Tune, a popular online dating website..

Gaby has reservations about actually dating anyone from In Tune, but curiosity prompts her to check the site to see if anyone has responded to her profile. She rules them out, one by one, until she sees a one line reply “Fancy meeting you here”. It’s from Ben. Reeling from the fact that her ex-husband has an online dating profile, she doesn’t reply. It does spur Gaby to chat with someone who sends a pop-up instant message to her just then, and makes a date to meet.

Ben is also trying to move on, but still loves his wife. He has been on a number of dates set up via In Tune, even has the phone app, but hasn’t met anyone equal to Gaby. Latin-American himself, he likes curvy and dark haired Latina women, like Gaby. He tried switching from type, and dating slender blondes, but he just wants his wife back.

Detectives Sullivan Leary and Stockton Barnes are investigating a number of missing singles in the NYC area, and notice striking similarities among them. All were active in online dating and their profiles were deleted after going missing, there is a set amount of time between disappearances, and they were all physically the same type.

Alex definitely has a type. A perfect match, with Latin coloring. Alex has a three strike rule, however. Don’t comply, and you end up buried alive.

Wendy Corsi Staub’s pacing in this book is seamless. The story moves fluidly, and the identity confusion will keep you guessing well into the book. Once it’s revealed what’s going on, the forthcoming details and gripping suspense, will keep you riveted to the end.

The subject matter itself is particularly compelling. The anonymity of the web allows anyone to present themselves as they wish, and we’ve gotten so used to that fact that we very often let down our guards. We don’t always consider who we may be engaging with, and that’s what is so personal, and terrifying, about this book.

You can purchase The Black Widow on Amazon