Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Simple Favor

*This post contains affiliate links that I may make commission from; however, all opinions are my own.*

I know I say this a lot, but I really do have a lot to fill you in on and talk about, but I also want to stay on top of book reviews. I have a couple for you this week and next, and in between those I'm going to fill you in. Stay tuned.

A Simple Favor - Darcey Bell

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. 

I was torn on this book because while I loved Gone Girl, I absolutely hated The Girl on the Train because the latter felt like a cheap rip off of the first. That's kind of how I feel about this one. While I appreciate that the story is fast paced and you will fly through the almost 300 pages in no time, if you've read the either of those books, this story isn't going to feel new to you at all. I couldn't relate, or like, any of the characters and knowing that this book is set up to be "in the same vein" as those other books, I wanted this book to be better than those. I feel like if you're going to be similar, be better. Those books lacked character development, and this book could have excelled in that but it doesn't. In fact I dislike these characters more than even the ones in The Girl on the Train.

Stephanie is a blogger who is also a single mother after the death of her husband and her brother. She's doing the best she can and has befriended another "older" mom at her son's school and they quickly become best friends. The kind of best friends that picks up the slack of the other when needed, no question. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie realizes that something is really very wrong. Not just because Emily is devoted to her son and would never leave him alone like this but also because Stephanie has a gut instinct telling her not all is what it seems with Emily and her husband Sean. The book has several "blog posts" that all feel... off. If it were a real blog and those were real posts, as a reader I'd think something was very wrong about the tone of them.

Clearly, I can't give you more but know nothing is as it seems, there are twists and turns, bizarre revelations not just about Emily, but also Stephanie. (Can we talk about Stephanie and her brother? I had to just shake my head because come ON. Really? We're going to go that route for a character development plot line?! Oy.)

I can only give this book 3/5 stars and that's generous because it IS a debut novel. I really want to see what this author does for the next book but I implore you to not use the framework of existing stories, go somewhere totally new and different- really blow our mind. You'll be able to fine your own copy of A Simple Favor on the HarperCollins website, and I really want you to pick this up and tell me what you think. Did you see similarities or do you think there are enough differences between this and similar stories that it stands on its own?


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

StephTheBookworm said...

I read this one too and enjoyed how fast paced it was! I did kind of think it might have been a little too similar to Gone Girl though (which is a fave)!