September has not been kind to me. I finally finished a second book this month, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. A Simple Favor caught my attention when I saw the movie trailer back in the summer. I was expecting something completely different than what I go, but I am still satisfied with the book.
**Disclaimer: As with all of my reviews, I do post the entire plot synopsis before my review. However, I will always recommend for Thriller Thursday reviews that you skip the plot synopsis. Thrillers are better when you go in knowing little to nothing about the plot. Happy reading!
Goodreads Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3.19
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Page Count: 304 pages
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller, suspense
Published: March 21, 2017
Plot: She’s your best friend.
She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.
A single mother’s life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.
But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.
Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.
A Simple Favor is a remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. Darcey Bell masterfully ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.
Review: First of all, if you are one of the readers who gets annoyed by plot points in a book that are unrealistic or could never happen, then I suggest skipping this one. I read the first chapter of this for my try a chapter tag last month. The first few chapters are told via blog post from Stephanie. The blog posts provide some of the back story for Stephanie’s friendship with Emily, who is now missing. Emily asked Stephanie to pick up her son from school, and then she never comes to pick him up. Stephanie is panicking, so she calls Emily’s husband, Sean, who does not seem immediately concerned.
Eventually, the story switches to a traditional narrative, and we find that Stephanie is not totally honest with her blog readers (shocking, right?). As Stephanie and Sean begin to lean on one another for support, you are suddenly not sure what to believe about anything. Who knows the truth? Who is hiding a secret? The answer: Everyone. Everyone has a secret, but only one person knows the truth.
Final Thoughts: I gave this book four stars because some of the plot points were a bit cliche and the ending was very rushed. But this book helped pull me out of a reading slump, so I felt it was worthy of a four star rating. I am very curious about the movie, although I will probably wait until it is on DVD or Netflix. The reviews I have read for the movie describe it as “dark comedy,” but I did not get that vibe from the book at all. I would not say that A Simple Favor adds anything new to the genre, but it is a fun, fast read that will keep you guessing until the end.
Thank you so much for reading my review! Please let me know down in the comments if you plan to read this one!