Thank you so much to Minotaur Books for the free digital advanced copy of The Favor by Nora Murphy! All opinions are my own
I have mixed but overwhelmingly positive feelings about this book. It is a gripping domestic thriller that I read in two sittings. The author is a lawyer who has worked with survivors of intimate partner violence and it’s obvious she knows what she is writing about. My only issue was with one of the points of view that just didn’t ring true. I would definitely recommend The Favor to anyone who enjoys a fast paced stressful domestic thriller.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Favor
- Series: N/a
- Author: Nora Murphy
- Publisher & Release: Minotaur Books, 05/31/22
- Length: 288 pages
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟✨ yes for fans of domestic thrillers
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
A gripping debut domestic suspense novel, The Favor explores with compassion and depth what can happen when women pushed to the limit take matters into their own hands.
Staying is dangerous. Leaving could be worse.
Leah and McKenna have never met, though they have parallel lives.
They don’t—ever—find themselves in the same train carriage or meet accidentally at the gym or the coffee shop. They don’t—ever—discuss their problems and find common ground. They don’t—ever—acknowledge to each other that although their lives have all the trappings of success, wealth and happiness, they are, in fact, trapped.
Because Leah understands that what’s inside a home can be more dangerous than what’s outside. Driving past McKenna’s house one night, she sees what she knows only too well herself from her own marriage: McKenna’s “perfect” husband is not what he seems. She decides to keep an eye out for McKenna, until one night, she intervenes.
Leah and McKenna have never met. But they will
This is a shorter and very fast paced read that will be perfect for summer reading. Like I said I read it in two sittings and have no regrets.
Both of the women have a present tense point of view. I thoroughly enjoyed their narratives and was just downright scared for them the whole time in the current storyline. As the author writes in the afterword, IPV occurs among white collar professionals and it is just terrible how these things can happen even to well educated women like Leah and McKenna. They are respectively a lawyer and doctor. There was a second timeline that started when Leah got married and worked towards present day events, showing how things devolved once the husband got control
Once a crime occured and the third voice is introduced, I unfortunately thought the detective’s POV detracted from the book. The whole side storyline involving his partner showed that some people don’t escape the violence and may have helped to toggle his understanding of events. It generally felt distracting though. The detective felt like a very cookie cutter character and even just with some of the generic investigator lines that he said it was difficult to feel anything for him. I also think that due to the nature of the crime in the novel there would be no way that he could start to close the case so early. The social pressure would be unbelievable, heck maybe I’ve read too many procedurals but it seems like some special crime crew would get involved if he wanted to close the case. What happened definitely works for the book but it just didn’t feel real at all
The only other silly thing was that one of the women mentioned the importance of financial independence, well before the control and coercion started, but then didn’t hesitate to transfer all of her funds into a joint account when she got married. All of your funds – hello that’s not maintaining your independence! Good advice there for women to absolutely not do that and maintain a portion of their own finances. It was also shown that some banking related things can be subverted with forged signatures, but I thought banks required most of those forms to be signed in person?
Don’t mind me please I am just splitting hairs now. These things absolutely worked in the scope of the novel. The Favor is a thrilling, suspenseful, quick read and contains a list of resources for suspected abuse at the end as well as a thoughtful afterword which I think added a lot to the novel. One good thing that the detective character accomplished was identifying signs that IPV may be happening to somebody, as in, what does it look like to people in their social circle?
Breakneck pace, suspense, danger, women you’ll care about, and I think the tough topics were handled well and without judgement.
Definitely do pick this one up if it sounds up your alley, these characters have a heck of a story. Out in May!