2017 Reviews · contemporary fiction · mystery · suspense · thriller · Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday Book Review: A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell


Welcome to a weekly post, Throwback Thursday. This weekly book review post is a way to share some old favourites, books that were published over a year ago and most importantly those books that have been languishing on the to be read pile for far too long!

A Simple Favour is a twisting free-fall ride filled with betrayal, reversal, secrets a simple favour smalland revelations, love and loyalty.

Darcey Bell ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing thriller that holds you in its grip until the final page.

You look after her child. What if she doesn’t come back?

It starts with a simple favour – an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son after school she happily says yes. Their children are classmates and best friends. And five-year-olds love being together – just like she and Emily do. As a widow and stay-at-home blogger mum living in suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a glamorous and successful PR executive. The trouble is that Emily doesn’t come back. No matter what the police say, Stephanie knows that she would never leave her son. Terrified, she reaches out to her fellow mummy bloggers. And she also reaches out to Emily’s husband offering her support.

How can a simple favour of picking up your best friend’s son from school go so terribly wrong? This is the scenario debut novelist Darcey Bell explores in her pulse pounding psychological suspense novel, A Simple Favour.

Touted as a Gone Girl/Girl on the Train offshoot, A Simple Favour stands out on its own. A Simple Favour is a dark and twisted psychological suspense tale. This one reeled me in from the very start and it did not release its strong hold over me until the final page was turned. A Simple Favour was a careful read for me, one I had no compulsion to skim as every word seemed vital in solving this puzzling mystery. It is a solid effort for a debut novelist and it does not surprise me that film rights have already been purchased for this slick and compulsive novel.

A Simple Favour begins with the blog entries of one of the leading characters in this novel, Stephanie’s life. It gives us a preliminary insight into Stephanie’s world, as well as her intimate thoughts and feelings. The presence of the blog entries is quite strong in this book, it kick starts the early stages of the narrative and appears in other chunks throughout the progression of the novel. It was a good way to set the scene. As a mum and blogger I could relate.

In addition to the blog entries as a form of storytelling, A Simple Favour is also told from the perspective of Stephanie, her best friend Emily, and Sean, Emily’s husband. Each of these narrators airs a scent of mistrust and we are ever quite sure which character’s version of the events is the truth. As the book travels along, we learn each of these characters has a background and history they would rather stayed hidden. Stephanie in particular has quite the sordid background. Emily’s back story is utterly disturbing. I grappled with the fact that a person could keep a whole part of their life so hidden from a spouse and best friend. I did guess one of the plot twists involving Emily and her background.  Darcey Bell has devised a first time novel that is full of twists, uncertainty and darkness. It’s also how I love my psychological thrillers.

It is a little difficult to discuss much more of this novel as I do not wish to spoil the enjoyment of A Simple Favour for prospective readers. I will say the narrative content, the characterisation and the writing style of A Simple Favour worked for me. I liked how the book questioned who we can trust and our intimate relationships. What worked for me with this book was that the catalyst event, where Emily asks Stephanie for a ‘simple favour’, is an occurrence I could easily see happening in my own life. A Simple Favour presents a realistic scenario, full of possibilities.

All in all I enjoyed A Simple Favour. It is a jarring psychological suspense novel that has cemented debut novelist Darcey Bell on my list of authors to watch! Don’t miss out on this one!

A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell was published on 14th March 2017. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of A Simple Favour, Darcey Bell, visit here.

2 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday Book Review: A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell

  1. Thank you for giving my daily dose of fun.
    1 – check emails.
    2 – open your reviews
    3 – open library app
    4 – place holds on same
    5 – look at author’s backlist
    6 – place more holds
    7 – rural living stay at home writer sends virtual hugs to Mrs B.

    Liked by 1 person

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