Okay, I admit it; the cover for Best Intentions by Emily Listfield influenced my purchase decision when the book appeared on the list of books that I might enjoy from Amazon.com. Ironic when you don't get a beautiful, color cover on Kindle! Yep, I wish Kindle did provide color graphics. . . .
The book starts with a tiny blurb, the notice in a newspaper, about the body of a thirty-nine-year-old woman being found. Then we jump backwards into the story of Lisa Barkley, her husband Sam, and their college friends Deirdre and Jack, as seen from Lisa's perspective, that leads to the murder.
Although a couple back when the four were in college together, Jack is married to someone else while Deirdre has a twisted, on-and-off relationship with a hard-to-like professional photographer. Since Lisa and Deirdre were best friends in college, the two couples spent a lot of time together back then.
When Jack comes to Manhattan to celebrate his fortieth birthday with his three friends, a series of events spirals into the murder. Between Lisa's concerns that Sam's having an affair, a "helpful" (but not really) man that Lisa is attracted to, and struggles with money and raising their two daughters, Lisa is ripe for the mistakes and misunderstandings that occur--and lead directly to the murder.
Although there is some mystery involving the identity of the murderer, most of the book is about normal middle age angst and uncertainties about life direction and the way lies and secrets can cause stress, guilt, and, generally, unintended consequences. A little soap operaish, but very relatable.
In a snarky aside, I wondered a few times from her word choices if Listfield felt the need to show that, yes, she does have a rather nice education that includes a major in literature. Distracting for this reader.
You can learn more about Listfield on her blog, Brunch Babble.
My overall personal rating of Best Intentions is a B-.