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Lisa Barkley, PR representative with a stalled career, mother of two girls who attend private schools didn’t seem at first to be a character I would like when I cracked open Best Intentions, the new novel by Emily Listfield.
I was wrong.
She may have two kids in elite schools, but she and her husband Sam work hard to put them there, and while never see her in a gym riding ellipticals, the fact that she has no great love of tone-y Pilates studios warmed my heart.
If there is a genre called “cozy thriller” this book is it’s poster-child. At the beginning of the novel, it seems like straightforward women’s fiction – Lisa intercepts a phone message on her husband’s cell phone and fears he’s having an affair.
When her best friend is found dead shortly thereafter, layers unfold, revealing many petals of mystery: the takeover at Lisa’s job, the stability of husband Sam’s journalism career, and, of course, the apparent murder of longtime friend Dierdre.
On the other hand, there’s still a very human thread – that of Lisa’s relationship with her older daughter.
At the end, this novel is gripping, both for it’s glimpse into a certain class of New Yorkers and for the mystery itself.