Soon to be a major motion picture from Lionsgate starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding, and directed by Paul Feig
"Riveting and brilliantly structured, A Simple Favor is an edge-of-your seat domestic thriller about a missing wife and mother that relies on a rotating cast of unreliable narrators to ingeniously examine the cost of competitive mom-friends, the toll of ordinary marital discontent and the fallacy of the picture-perfect, suburban family."—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With echoes of film noir and Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, this spine-tingling psychological thriller is chock-full of surprises. Emily Nelson is a chic suburban mom who suddenly goes missing. When her best friend, mommy blogger Stephanie, tries to uncover the mystery, she finds out that Emily isn’t at all the person she thought she knew so well. A Simple Favor is a deviously fun and twisted story…and we’re really excited it’s been adapted into a movie starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.
In Bell's convoluted debut, widowed mommy-blogger Stephanie Ward receives a call from her best friend, Emily Nelson, asking her to pick up Emily's five-year-old son, Nicky, from school. There's an emergency at work, Emily explains, but she'll be by to get Nicky no later than 9 p.m. Nicky is best friends with Stephanie's son, Miles, and the boys attend the same suburban Connecticut kindergarten, so Stephanie agrees. Days pass and Emily never appears, leading Stephanie to fear the worst. Emily's husband, Sean, returns home from his European business trip and calls the police, who assume that Emily has simply run away until her body washes up at her family's lake house in Michigan. Stephanie initially seeks to comfort Sean, but when questions arise surrounding Emily's death, she's left wondering what is true and whom to trust. While Stephanie, Emily, and Sean share the narrative, Stephanie is the primary point-of-view character, and her vacuity and na vet undercut the story's tension and heft. Bell further squanders an intriguing setup with ill-defined stakes and tired, telegraphed plot twists.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Free but short
Good characters and storyline.
Psychological thriller potential squandered in sloppy denouement.
While beginning as a fun sociological study of two mothers and the very different lives they lead, the story takes a twist and pulls the reader down a path of promising intrigue that speaks to the desire to find acceptance in a community, the willingness to overlook the obvious and ultimately the draw to betrayal.
There was a lot potential for this to be a great story, but as the author began to reveal plot points, a trove of holes in the logic were uncovered that made the experience more frustrating than exciting.
The truth that lies
The ending was a total let down.