THE FAVOUR By NICCI FRENCH (Simon & Schuster, March 2023)
The husband and wife writing team known as Nicci French are renowned for their literate, compelling, psychological thrillers and their latest, The Favour (Simon & Schuster, March 2023), is another enjoyable read.
Jude has moved on from a traumatic incident in her past, and is now a successful doctor who is about to get married. When her enigmatic first love, wild boy Liam, turns up in her life after eleven years of no contact she is surprised, and willingly agrees to his request for a favour. That favour, however, soon leads to death, and suddenly Jude is caught up in a murder investigation.
The Favour is a clever and very engaging, mystery thriller. The authors quickly set up the premise and Jude’s basic motivation, and the rest of the story flows smoothly from there. The opening sections are quite brisk and are propelled along by good twists, surprises and a rapidly unfolding storyline. The middle section meanders a little, but things pick up for the tense conclusion and the final neat twist.
I quite enjoyed The Favour. Jude is a frustrating character at times, but her personality is clearly established early on and the authors stay true to that, and also provide a good reason as to why she agrees to the favour and sees it through. Her relationships with her mother and boyfriend are well sketched and believable, and her generally ham-fisted attempts at investigating the murder also ring true. I was also nicely surprised by the final revelations and the dark nature of the concluding events.
There are some quirks to the story. The middle sections are a little repetitive. A drawn-out episode involving a wake was too dream-like for me, and I just wanted to grab Jude and drag her out of the house! Although in hindsight, the episode did provide some important clues. I also thought that Jude’s preoccupation with how tall some people were was a little weird, and too Alice In Wonderland like.
Overall, I thought The Favour was an entertaining read and a nice diversion. I think that fans of literate, psychological suspense thrillers will enjoy this one, especially if they are willing to suspend some disbelief about Jude’s behaviours.
In one of those strange publishing quirks, The Favour has been available in Australia since February as an accompaniment to the Australian tour by the authors. It would seem that it will be released in the United Kingdom on
30 March 2023.
Thanks to the Canberra Weekly and the publishers for an early copy of the book for review.