A Simple Favor (novel)
|March 21, 2017|
|Media type||Print (hardback and paperback), e-book, audiobook|
A Simple Favor is the debut thriller novel by Darcey Bell. It was first published on March 21, 2017 by Harper. The novel centers on Stephanie, a mom blogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's sudden disappearance from their small town in Connecticut. Employing the unreliable narrator technique, the story is told through Stephanie, Emily, and Emily's husband Sean.
Mommy blogger Stephanie Ward is asked a favor by her best friend Emily Nelson one day, to help pick up Emily's son after school. Emily never shows up to collect her son from Stephanie however, and after days of searching, she is believed to have been found dead. Stephanie starts digging deeper into Emily's secrets as she seeks to uncover the truth.
Writing for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jay Strafford described the novel as: "Gone Girl gone nuclear, Gone Girl on steroids, amphetamines and cocaine." Strafford added that, "But let it be said that Bell possesses a wicked imagination and a firm grasp on plotting; she fills A Simple Favor with multiple twists, all the while providing subtle clues for the astute reader." The Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Laura DeMarco gave the novel a "B" grade and called it a "pageturner". Toronto Star's Jack Batten noted that it was a "stylish and unsettling thriller," and that, "The plot stretches into increasingly dark territory, the narrative mixing familiar gimmicks in the thriller repertoire and producing an overall story that’s just mysterious and weird enough to supply maximum satisfaction."
On the other hand, Publishers Weekly felt that Bell "squanders an intriguing setup with ill-defined stakes and tired, telegraphed plot twists," describing the novel as "convoluted". The Belfast Telegraph's Georgina Rodgers agreed, saying that "Stephanie and her blog were very two-dimensional and not believable and parts of the plot felt forced and too far-fetched."
20th Century Fox pre-emptively acquired the film rights for the novel in January 2016. In June 2017, Paul Feig signed on to direct the film adaptation, starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. It was released in the United States on September 14, 2018.
- "Fiction Book Review: A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell". Publishers Weekly. January 9, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- Lee, Ashley (June 20, 2017). "Paul Feig to Direct Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively in 'A Simple Favor'". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "A Simple Favor - Kirkus Review". Kirkus Reviews. January 3, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- DeMarco, Laura (March 16, 2017). "Spring break reads: March mysteries take readers to London, Utah and New York City (reviews)". The Plain Dealer.
- Strafford, Jay (April 15, 2017). "Mysteries: 'Devil's Breath.' 'Almost Missed You,' 'A Simple Favor,' and 'All By Myself, Alone'". Richmond Times-Dispatch.
- Batten, Jack (March 25, 2017). "Controlling husbands, fires, injustice: the latest reads for mystery lovers - A Simple Favor". Toronto Star.
- Rodgers, Georgina (March 25, 2017). "Far-fetched domestic thriller falls flat". Belfast Telegraph.