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Review: Best Intentions by Emily Listfield

Best Intentions

by Emily Listfield


Lisa Barkley is struggling to find her place in life. Her daughters are growing up and no longer want to spend their free time with their mom; it’s uncool. The exclusive private school Lisa’s children attend is populated with wealthy students, and Lisa is quite uncomfortable around the other mothers. The company she works at has been sold and the new owners seem intent on phasing her out. Her husband, a reporter who desperately needs to break a major story, has become distant and secretive lately. His late night phone calls and last minute trips out of town leave Lisa wondering if he’s having an affair. Even her best friend, Deidre, has grown more distant after becoming the mistress of one of Lisa’s college friends.   But it’s only after Deidre is brutally murdered that Lisa’s world really begins to spin out of control.   It seems like every man she knows is potentially the killer, including her husband Sam.


Deidre isn’t murdered until well past the half-way point. So this is a bit different from the usual murder mystery, where there’s a body on the floor by the end of the first chapter. Much of the narrative has been dedicated to building up Lisa’s world, her fears and worries. Her stress is the underlying tension that pervades the novel as her every well-intended action seems to backfire or blow-up in her face. She is an easy character to sympathize with, because her concerns about her family, her career, and her strained relationship with her husband are nearly universal. Everyone knows a Lisa. 


In terms of suspense and plot, the book was rather predictable. Although Emily Listfield made several of the male characters seem suspicious, it seemed pretty obvious which man was the murderer. It was a fast read, but at times I would find myself skipping some of Lisa’s internal commentaries, and would have to go back and re-read the section. Lisa just seemed a bit tedious at times.


Ultimately, Best Intentions is a character-driven novel, the author’s dramatic attempt to answer the question how well can you ever know another person? Emily Listfield may not have the most epic answer, but her portrayal of people, set as they are in the real world, and the many masks they wear is realistic and at times, quite poignant.




           To read more about Best Intentions,but it or add it to your wishlist, click here.


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