All The Books I Can Read

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Review: My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips

on March 5, 2021

My Best Friend’s Murder
Polly Phillips
Simon & Schuster AUS
2021, 368p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

There are so many ways to kill a friendship . . .

You’re lying, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, legs bent, arms wide.
And while this could be a tragic accident, if anyone’s got a motive to hurt you, it’s me.

Bec and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. They have been through a lot together – from the death of Bec’s mother to the birth of Izzy’s daughter. But there’s a darker side to their friendship, and once it has been exposed, there is no turning back.

So when Izzy’s body is found, Bec knows that if the police decide to look for a killer, she will be the prime suspect. Because those closest to you are the ones who can hurt you the most . . .

The Rumour meets The Holiday in this compulsive thriller with a toxic friendship at its heart that keeps you in the dark until the final breathless pages.

This is a debut novel centring around Bec and Izzy and the toxic friendship the two have. They’ve been friends since before they were teenagers and Izzy’s staunch support of Bec after her mother died has seemingly blinded Bec to the fact that Izzy’s idea of friendship generally means she calls the shots, often backhandedly compliments Bec or puts her down completely and seemingly keeps things in a light competition or sort of oneupmanship that often keeps Bec guessing as to whether or not Izzy is mad at her.

When Bec finally begins to see Izzy for who and what she truly is, it isn’t long after that when she finds Izzy dead at the bottom of the stairs. Bec knows that certain things make her a key suspect and she’s also determined to protect Izzy’s husband Rich, who Bec has also known since they were very young. She’s willing to do and say anything for that and she will take care of Rich and his and Izzy’s daughter Tilly as well.

This was okay. I didn’t love it to be honest. It feels like I’ve read a few books lately, or in the past year or so that really feature that toxic friendship that flourishes in your teen years but that the victim cannot let go of once they are adults. I think most people would be familiar with the idea of a toxic friendship, I’d imagine that it’s pretty difficult to go through high school without at least a passing acquaintance with one. I know that a friendship I had throughout most of my high school years definitely qualified and from about year 11, I was aware that it was toxic but it would take me another year to extricate myself from it, with the help of others who were realising the same thing about their friendships with the same person. I would never want to be friends with that person as an adult, although our paths have crossed several times when I’ve been back in my hometown visiting my family. I think that most people learn to make better choices and as an adult, you want to escape the sort of drama these friendships bring. I know I do, anyway.

For Bec however, it’s not that easy. She’s very loyal to Izzy, presumably because of Izzy’s support after Bec’s mother died and how she helped her through that difficult time when her father could not. She really cannot see for a while, what Izzy is doing, even though her mother could, before her passing and also her brother Rob has always been aware. When Bec finally does start to realise, she’s so ingrained in Izzy’s family that it’s difficult for her to walk away. She cares deeply for Izzy’s daughter Tilly and Izzy’s husband Rich was Bec’s childhood friend, they’ve known each other since they were very small children. Even still, I’m not sure that Bec fully realises the how and why Izzy and Rich came to be the couple when it’s obvious to the reader that it was another thing Izzy could take from Bec and by keeping her close to them all, it’s something that she can flaunt every single day, without Bec even really realising this.

This was certainly readable, I ended up finishing it pretty quickly in an afternoon but I think some of it just felt like it was very predictable, especially the ‘triangle’ of sorts, between Bec, Izzy and Rich. I didn’t guess how Izzy died but I’m not sure how I felt about it. In some ways, it felt convenient? And despite the fact that Bec is often portrayed as a victim, she is on occasion, just as toxic as Izzy and definitely does things in this book that make you feel like she might be a little dangerous herself. Rich as well, showed signs that were concerning to read and the character I think I felt the most sorry for, was Tilly. She was raised within a toxic environment, lost her mother and then had a lot of other upheaval. It all looks like it might be rosy but I honestly doubt it.

This was a great read I think for a plane trip, somewhere where you need something to hold your attention for a few hours. There’s plenty about it that is clever, but the characterisation for me, felt lacking and like I’ve read about these people many times before.

6/10

Book #31 of 2021

My Best Friend’s Murder is book #16 for The Australian Women Writers Challenge 2021


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