Nicci Gerrard and Sean French (writing together as Nicci French) are back with another standalone thriller, The Favour. And I enjoyed this even though the protagonist – Jude, a young geriatrician – annoyed the crap out of me, making one bad decision after another. I still liked her but groaned each time she entrenched herself more deeply into the world her former high school boyfriend and his very unorthodox group of friends lived. The Favour
by Nicci French
Published by Simon & Schuster UK
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
Jude hasn’t seen Liam in years, but when he shows up at her work asking for a favor, she finds she can’t refuse. All Jude has to do is pick Liam up at a country train station—without telling anyone. So what if she has to lie to her fiancé? Jude is still committed to him and their imminent wedding, even if she and Liam were in love once.
She owes him.
After the car crash that changed everything years ago, bright, ambitious Jude went to medical school, back on the path she had planned before meeting moody, artistic Liam. Meanwhile, he never fully recovered from the dark stain the accident left on his record.
Now he’s gone.
When the police show up at the station instead of Liam, Jude realizes that she knows nothing about the man he’s become. Now she’s tangled up in his life, the last person to have seen him, and maybe the only one who can uncover the truth about what went wrong—even if she destroys her own life in the process.
In some ways it’s almost impossible to believe Jude agrees to do a favour – without knowing ANYTHING about the request – for ex high school boyfriend Liam. We get some insight into how smitten she was 11 years earlier but even she admits he was kinda dangerous and unpredictable.
Nevertheless she agrees – and we do learn more about the why – but finds herself in this almost-unbelievably comical situation where she’s not a suspect in his death, but rather seen as someone with whom Liam was consorting in order to commit some (other) nefarious crime.
I could understand Jude’s frustration at no one believing the truth… that they had no current relationship, but needless to say her world falls apart. Very quickly and very messily. She then learns – fairly quickly – who (in her world) she can trust and rely on.
She doesn’t help matters by becoming involved with those Liam left behind and though the warning signs are evident, Jude keeps charging in anyway.
Ultimately French and Gerrard take this in a surprising direction and I read it in a sitting. Though loose ends are neatly tidied away, it felt a little unsatisfactory, given the way some of the characters were prepared to treat Jude (with whom I’d bonded, despite my frustration with her).
The Favour by Nicci French will be published in Australia by Simon & Schuster in early February 2023.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.