An annoying main character with a wonderful mystery – a total sucker punch.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
No. of pages: 332
They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer … Wrong.
Louisa’s new best friend has it all – the house, the status, the money. But she’s also hiding a dark secret. And as Louisa is drawn deeper into her friend’s life, events take a chilling turn . . .
I’ve had a wonderful experience with Shalini Boland’s titles in the past and ‘The Best Friend’ was no different – her pretence intrigued me from the outset. Interest and mystery were established quickly, along with a sense of too-good-to-be-true and waiting-for-the-other-she-to-drop. Which is something you want in a thriller. And the pace does not let up.
The stalker mentioned in the first chapter had me reeling, trying to guess which character it could be: the younger brother, or a private detective hired to find our protagonist, Louisa. I love the opportunity to start guessing the plot very early on in a novel.
All my senses started screaming at Louisa when she felt things were starting to go her way – it’s like she hadn’t learnt her lesson. Though this story is gripping and suspenseful, I dislike the flakiness and lack of thought that Louisa is exhibiting – I was starting to feel that she is deserving of whatever bad luck comes her way due to lack of insight. That the only person she could rely on was herself, as the past has proven, and there she was, letting a stranger take the lead (again.)
I did get a sense of ‘where is this all going?‘ and wanting the plot to start grinding it’s gears by pg78, so I feel like the start of this novel could have been compacted, or another plot device introduced earlier.
I also get a sense that the new found best friend – the seemingly perfect Darcy, is attempting to steal Louisa’s identity – maybe to hide from great debt and scary debt collectors? Alarm bells were going off that Darcy is a con … and the flashbacks are to her childhood. But as there really isn’t a lot of context to these scenes, it could be anyone, but the narrative certainly leads you down this delicious path.
I did need to have a break at pg265, Louisa’s stupidity was getting me frustrated to the point of violence. *pegs the novel across the room* Why is she not talking to her lawyer sister and sharing all the facts with her? It would put everything in perspective and above board immediately. It is glaringly obvious common sense. Especially with some conniving woman out to get her… if that is what is really going on. As you can see I had quite a strong reaction to Louisa and her actions – whether I like her or not, I was definitely engaged in the story… but I’m still waiting for that Boland twist.
There is a little bit of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’ – especially in setting up a scene. It kept the pace up, but lost a little of that mystery-styled writing. A little unrealistic plot-wise, but a highly enthralling story. Really got me emoting. My tummy kept getting twisted into nervous knots.
Boland is a supreme writer for pacing and setting up a great reveal/climax. Even though I had guessed the ending halfway through, I was still gripped right to the end. There is a strong tone of mistrust and paranoia which is essential for a success in this genre.
I don’t think I actually liked Louisa at all, right to the end. She was flaky and stupid – but very human, and made for great reading. I did like the ending though – not so cut and dry, but extremely satisfying. And it was great to see Louisa and her husband grow from the experience. Highly recommended.
Overall feeling: makes me raise an eyebrow…
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