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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Best Friends Forever

Narrator: Kate Handford

ISBN: 9781803149875

Publisher: Bookouture Audio

Publication Date: 01/12/2023

Format: Audio & e-book

My Rating: 3 Stars 🎧

I emerge from the trees, drenched in sweat, my voice lost as I take in the scene in front of me. The blood. The body. Emma’s eyes meet mine for a second. “It was an accident,” she whispers.

Emma and I were childhood best friends. We did everything together. Until that terrible night in the woods.

I couldn’t tell anyone what I’d seen. We never discussed it, but our bond was too strong; I could never betray my best friend. Even if she had killed someone.

But I also couldn’t stay in town and watch her live a normal life, knowing what she’d done. So I left.

Now, ten years later, I’m back. The guilt and the fear have stayed with me. And I have realized I need to reveal the truth if I’m ever going to move on.

But I never get the chance. Because the day I turn up, Emma is found dead, and the way she died means I start to doubt everything I thought I knew about that night all those years ago.

As my grief turns to anger at all those lost years of friendship, I realise with horror that Emma might not have been the only killer. Someone else is out there. Someone who was close to us both, someone who knew the smallest details of what had happened back then. Who from our small town could have murdered not once, but twice? And who’s next…?

An utterly gripping and compelling psychological thriller with twists and turns to die for. If you love Karin Slaughter, Paula Hawkins, and Freida McFadden, you’ll love Best Friends Forever.

My Review

A woman returns to her hometown to reveal the truth about a murder ten years early in Shannon Hollinger's latest suspense whodunit mystery—BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.

Kate returns to her childhood home in Florida after fleeing ten years earlier to Boston.

There was a murder near the orange groves, a bloody rock, a 30-something homeless man (Brad), two sisters (Kate and Lily), and a best friend, Emma Daley.

There were other friends, Becca, Mel, and a few guys.

We learn something terrible happened on graduation night. Appears Emma killed someone with a rock, and Kate cannot stand back and watch, so she leaves town. (makes no sense)

Her younger sister, Lily, was traumatized and became mute. Kate regrets bringing her little sister that night. Did she leave her behind with a serial killer?

Now there are multiple murders. A serial killer, or is it Emma?

She failed Brad and there were more victims, more deaths she could have prevented. All the new murders were discovered within days of the anniversary of Brad's death.

A different killer, a copycat, an accomplice?

Her baby sister is now a woman and Kate is there partly to take care of their mom, which has broken her hip.

Can Kate forgive herself for leaving?

However, was everything as it appeared after digging into the dark past?

When Emma dies, her best friend is gone forever. Was there something more sinister going on?

Did Emma end her life, or did someone murder her to keep quiet?

From past to present, we hear the events that unfolded that fatal night. Where nothing is as it appears.

Was Emma the killer or someone else, all along? Did Kate get it all wrong all these years?

Unfortunately, I could not get into this book, which seemed very disjointed. The author's background is impressive in her field; however, I was not invested in the story or any of the characters. The novel seemed unbelievable and more like a YA book with the girls and lots of drama—not a fan and steer away from these types of books.

I cannot recommend this one. Maybe it will appeal to an audience of YA. This book is NOT even in the same league and is nothing remotely similar to Karin Slaughter, Paula Hawkins, or Freida McFadden (I have read all their books) as referenced in the description. Very misleading, which is the only reason I took a chance on it.

I read the e-book and listened to the audiobook narrated by Kate Handford for an engaging performance. However, did have an issue with the audio stopping frequently.

📖 Book: 2 Stars

🔉 Audio: 4 Stars

💫Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Thank you to #Bookouture and #Netgalley for a gifted ALC and ARC.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 3 Stars

Pub Date: Jan 12, 2023

About the Author

With degrees in Crime Scene Technology & Physical Anthropology, Florida author Shannon Hollinger hasn't just seen the dark side of humanity - she's been elbow-deep inside of it! She finds writing to be a much cleaner way to spend her time than the autopsy suite. Most days it smells better, too.

Her debut novel, the psychological thriller Best Friends Forever, will be released in January 2023 and is the first of a five-book deal with publisher Bookouture.

Her short fiction has appeared in Suspense Magazine, Mystery Weekly, and The Saturday Evening Post, among a number of other magazines and anthologies, and her story Lady Killer was a finalist for the 2021 Al Blanchard Award sponsored by the New England Crime Bake. WEBSITE







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