The cover for "The Vixen Amber Halloway", a new novel by writer Carol LaHines.

Praise for The Vixen Amber Halloway

Joan Baum review/NPR

"LaHines’s fascinating narrator, Ophelia, is decidedly pathological. And here’s the surprise – she’s also sympathetic, humorous, intelligent -- a deeply damaged woman telling her tale to a prison psychiatrist in preparation for a hearing before a parole board, but it’s not a confession.  ... The novel raises questions about diagnoses of mental disorders, possible treatment, and the appropriateness of incarceration."

Katrina Biele/Medium

"A heart-wrenching account of one soon-to-be-ex-wife's psychological breakdown... a compulsive read."

Bruce DeSilva/Associated Press/ABC News

"It’s no accident that the narrator of Carol LaHines’s second novel, “The Vixen Amber Halloway,” is a literature professor named Ophelia. That was also the name of a woman who had her heart broken and was driven to madness by the title character in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

When we first meet LaHines’s Ophelia, she is being interviewed by a prison psychologist. Ophelia’s heart has been broken, too, and it is evident that it has led her to do something terrible. Her field of study, we soon learn, was Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy,” a 14th century narrative poem about the horrifying wages of sin...."​

Book Trib

“Author Carol LaHines created such a compelling, deep, and unlikeable character in Ophelia… She makes you feel everything: sadness, shock, empathy, and sometimes validation… Like Dante leading us through the circles of hell, join Ophelia in this psychological crime-thriller as she descends deeper into her own madness.”

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"Discover The Vixen Amber Halloway, a captivating tale that explores themes of betrayal, obsession, and revenge. Join Ophelia, a Dante professor, as her world shatters when she uncovers her husband's affair. From there, Ophelia's journey takes a dark turn as she becomes consumed with tracking her husband and his new lover. As reality slips away, she moves next door to Amber, embarking on a twisted path of surveillance and vengeance. This gripping story delves into Ophelia's past trauma and her descent into madness, culminating in an explosive climax. With elements of suspense, dark comedy, and profound psychological insight, The Vixen Amber Halloway is a must-read exploration of women's rage and one woman's harrowing breakdown."

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"The Vixen Amber Halloway, is Ophelia’s jailhouse confession as she retells her story and prepares for a parole board meeting to decide if she will be released from prison. Her husband Andy had an affair and fell in love Amber Halloway and Ophelia did not take that well.  The definition of an unreliable narrator could easily be described as Ophelia in this book (my favorite of 2024 - so far). 

Dante’s Commedia (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso) has clearly been studied, as it is seamlessly integrated into this novel. I found myself bookmarking passages and then going to look them up. I loved that!  After the affair comes out, “the hole in my (Ophelia) heart the size of a shotgun wound” would have to be filled.  She filled it with anger, revenge, punishment (“fetid bog of the irredeemable”) and obsession. 

Ophelia claims to be shy and does not like to “unburden” herself or make a “spectacle” of herself, but broken heart be damned.  While dealing with what a psychiatrist calls “a break from reality” she doles out her punishment as she sees fit per her infinite wisdom of Dante’s Commedia. My favorite part of this book was that I found myself cheering on Ophelia. It’s not that I agree with what she did, but she made it seem right and just. 

This is a must read for a book club, for any woman who has ever been wronged, and for any one who needs a page turner full of obsession and rage. Bravo Carol LaHines. I loved this." 

—Theresa Brock

“Carol LaHines has invented here a compulsively readable and craftily constructed tale of murder and mayhem. Her wonderfully original unreliable narrator tells a story that will make you laugh and cry and perhaps remember Humbert Humbert in Lolita.”

—Sheila Kohler, author of award-winning novels including Cracks and Open Secrets

“With pinpoint accuracy, LaHines nabs the inner life of a raging, jerky-eating narrator traumatized by family history who recounts her Lolita-like obsession with allegro turns of brilliance. Ophelia’s selective memory, steady wit, and allusions to Dante slip off her tongue with delicious, underhanded humor. Ophelia will make you feel the chill of vengeance, because her fury—delivered in a voice perfectly crafted by LaHines—makes perfect sense.”

—Maureen Pilkington, author of This Side of Water: Stories

"Carol LaHines excels in a wry blend of humor and darkness...breathtaking in its descriptive psychological draw and surprising in some of its twists and turns of plot. LaHines creates a vivid story of a woman who embarks on a campaign that leads her further into darkness, taking readers by the hand in a dangerous invitation to join in the journey."
—Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"The Vixen Amber Halloway is dark and compulsive reading. Following a woman's descent into madness after her husband leaves her for another woman, this compact and complex novel pulls you into the mind and delusions of a woman as she slowly devolves while you watch, helpless to stop it." 
—Mary Webber O’Malley, bookseller at Skylark Bookshop

"The Vixen Amber Halloway" combines elements of suspense with thoughtful reflections on human emotion and morality. The protagonist, Ophelia, is a jilted wife who had also been abandoned by her mother decades earlier. The novel expertly considers the continuum of the past, present and future in life's journey. As much as we may try, LaHines observes, the three tenses cannot be compartmentalized and sealed off from each other. What happened in the past does affect our "here and now", which in turn affects our future. 

LaHines brilliantly acquaints us with Ophelia in a way that elicits sympathy towards her. As her grip on reality and morality begins to slip, however, the reader is torn between that sympathy and the moral boundaries she is about to cross. The reader is compelled to ask: "Is Ophelia a good person or a bad person?" The answer, strikingly, is "Both."  
—Neil D. Desmond, Author of "Angels of Stockholm: Short Stories"

"Perfectly engaging, provocative, darkly comedic at times, and criminal, I devoured this story. Of course, anyone who has ever been in love can relate to the pain and dangerous rage flowing through Ophelia’s veins. Funny to review this on Valentine’s Day, but we must examine love in all its forms, even marriages that end behind bars and under a psychiatrist’s care. If you are one of the betrayed, discarded, take heart- you can partake of one woman’s revenge from the safety of your bed, keeping it fictional. Yes, read it! LaHines is a hell of a writer!"

Lolly K. Dandeneau, Bookstalker blog  

Please contact Laura Marie, at, for an ARC or further information

Vixen is available on Net Galley