Reviews of The Favor by Nora Murphy

The Favor

A Novel

by Nora Murphy

The Favor by Nora Murphy X
The Favor by Nora Murphy
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  • Published:
    May 2022, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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Book Summary

A gripping debut domestic suspense novel, Nora Murphy's thrilling The Favor explores with compassion and depth what can happen when women pushed to the limit take matters into their own hands.

Leaving would be dangerous. Staying could be worse.

Leah and McKenna have never met, though they have parallel lives.

They don't―ever―find themselves in the same train carriage or meet accidentally at the gym or the coffee shop.

They don't―ever―discuss their problems and find common ground.

They don't―ever―acknowledge to each other that although their lives have all the trappings of success, wealth and happiness, they are, in fact, trapped.

Leah understands that what's inside a home can be far more dangerous than what's outside. So when she notices someone else who may be starting down the same path she's on, she pays attention. She watches over McKenna from afar. Until one night she sees more than she bargained for. Leah knows she can't save herself, but perhaps she can save McKenna.

Leah and McKenna have never met. But they will.

NOW
FRIDAY, MAY 3

Leah

The key is to go to a few different stores. I used to always go to Jerry's Liquors on Bonifant Avenue. I was a regular. Too regular. Jerry's mouth started to form a thin line when I'd come in. I could see the conflict on his face. He was glad for the business, but judgmental about the frequency of my visits.

Don't make this hard on me, his face seemed to say. Don't make me feel bad for you.

Jerry, like so many others, didn't want to be bothered with sympathy.

Now, I don't go to Jerry's anymore. I have five other stores I frequent, all within a fifteen-mile radius of my house. They all think I'm a regular. A devoted and loyal customer.

They're all right.

Typically, I stop by each one once a week. One store per day, Monday through Friday. I like to go in the early afternoon. Always after three, but usually before four.

My favorite store is Pine View Liquors on Main Street. My Friday store. It's a little bit bougie, amid the boutiques selling clothing of the ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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Murphy, a lawyer who has studied intimate-partner violence, effectively illustrates how even the most high-achieving people can find their self-confidence and their freedom eroded bit by bit at the hands of a manipulative and controlling spouse. The Favor is propulsive and morally compelling. Though it lacks the plot twists seasoned readers of thrillers might be expecting, it nevertheless offers plenty to chew on and debate...continued

Full Review Members Only (589 words).

(Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Media Reviews

New York Journal of Books
Hard to put down. Murphy has constructed the perfect crimes and sympathetic major characters. A great debut novel, and we can hope there will be more to follow.

Booklist (starred review)
This debut novel packs quite a wallop. Many readers will detect a similarity here to what happened to a certain girl on a train, but might that connection be its own kind of red herring in a novel full of dizzying switchbacks? An audacious and completely successful thriller.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Family attorney Murphy's first novel is an unnerving feminist retake on Strangers on a Train...Strikes an unsettling chord from the beginning and never lets go.

Publishers Weekly
Though the men in Murphy's story lack dimension, Leah and McKenna are fully realized characters whose anger, fear, and despair are palpable. A kaleidoscopic narrative amplifies tension and imparts nuance by examining the two households from inside and out. Murphy paints a powerful portrait of domestic abuse.

Author Blurb B.A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of The Therapist
Taut, compelling and deliciously dark, I tore through The Favor.

Author Blurb Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Long Weekend
A brilliant, gripping, dark and superbly written debut. I was transfixed by Leah and McKenna and the deftly woven plot that connects them. Nora Murphy is one to watch.

Author Blurb Mary Dixie Carter, author of The Photographer
Nora Murphy's The Favor is a tense and gripping read about the tacit sisterhood between two unlikely vigilantes. At once strangers and soulmates, these women reflect one another—each trapped in a dark and spiraling descent behind the closed door of a seemingly lovely home. With echoes of Big Little Lies and Strangers on a Train, Nora Murphy's The Favor is impossible to put down.

Reader Reviews

Elizabeth@Silver's Reviews

Elizabeth@Silver'sReviews - FANTASTIC DEBUT
I have seen that woman before, but where? That is the question McKenna asked herself when she saw Leah shoot her husband. Why would she do that? She did say she is the same as me, but what did that mean? What it meant is that she was an ...   Read More
Betty J Taylor

Amazing debut!
This book grabbed me from the very beginning and kept me on edge. I wanted to just escape someplace where I would have no interruptions while reading it. I could feel for myself the fear and hopelessness the main characters experienced. It is hard to...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Books and Movies Inspired by Strangers on a Train

Strangers on a Train film posterIf the premise of Nora Murphy's The Favor — two unconnected strangers conduct revenge by proxy in what should be a perfect crime — sounds familiar, that might be because of its parallels to the plot of a classic book and film.

Strangers on a Train might be best known as a 1951 noir film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, but its screenplay (co-written by Raymond Chandler) was based on a 1950 Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name. In both the book and the film, two men strike up a conversation on a train trip, bonding over the difficulties (especially the difficult people) in one another's lives.

In what seems at first to be a thought experiment, one of the men suggests that if each killed off the source of the other's ...

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