December 1, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Five Reasons To Read Keep Your Friends Close By Lucinda Berry

Keep Your Friends Close By Lucinda Berry Summary

Goodreads Summary of Keep Your Friends Close By Lucinda Berry (review below): 

When Kiersten McCann, president of the West Hollywood Moms’ Club, turns up dead in her pool, it quickly becomes clear this wasn’t an accident. And the party guests—all members of the exclusive club—are now key suspects in her murder.

Accusations fly, and three mothers find themselves at the center of the investigation. Whitney, Brooke, and Jade all have heavy secrets to bear…and possible motives for their friend’s murder. But as the police look closer, more secrets, betrayals, and sinister plots are revealed than the women could ever imagine.

With everything at stake, deceit threatens to shatter their illusions of the perfect life. West Hollywood will never be the same.

Reason #1- Writing

Lucinda Berry’s writing is suspenseful with a cutting-edge wit to it.

‘I also have a husband that gambles away money as fast as I can make it. I worked hard to build this life and I wasn’t going to give it up just because my husband has a problem. I  had to do something. Some people would just get a divorce to get out of a bad situation. Some people murder their spouses to get out of bad situations, too.’

Keep Your Friends Close is written from three points of view. Lucinda Berry keeps their personalities unique and separate from each other. Brooke, Whitney, and Jade are different women who are struggling. That is the only similarity between these characters, and Lucinda Berry does an excellent job reflecting that through her execution of each.

However, for me, the shining moments were in the quips here and there. None of it was over the top, and it wasn’t done so often that it got redundant. It added just the right amount of pop to an otherwise wonderfully written dark thriller.

‘Maybe we can do date night next week when our friends aren’t dying and going crazy, okay?’

Reason #2- With Friends Like These…

The characters in Keep Your Friends Close are all unlikable, and it is fantastic. If you need a likable character to root for, then this book is not for you. But if you are here for the well-executed, dark, lying trainwrecks? Then buckle up, buttercup. Keep Your Friends Close will bring you not just unlikable characters but unlikable female characters in spades. They all have secrets and are willing to protect them at all costs. They are more frenemies than friends. Throw in a woman slowly going off the rails because of a messy divorce, and you have a Desperate Housewives feel.

Mind you, their dark seeded lives make these women stronger rather than weaker. The only exception is the one character involved in the divorce from hell. And don’t think the husbands are any better. They each have their part to play. Lucinda Berry writes the husbands/wives with as much teeth as the three main characters.

I would completely add it to my Books To Read If You Loved Desperate Housewives list (linked).

Reason #3- Plot

Keep Your Friends Close starts with a bang and doesn’t let up from there. All it does is get darker, messier, and twisted as it goes. Lucinda Berry keeps you at the edge of your seat and chasing clues throughout the plot. Good luck with tracking those clues. I chased so many clues, trying to connect the dots, that I needed an etch-a-sketch. Don’t remember those? Okay, I’m old.

Sometimes I wish my mind was like an Etch-A-Sketch... so I could shake my head and then start over! | Etch a sketch, How are you feeling, Funny quotes

An Etch A Sketch for those who don’t know. 🫢

Reason #4- The Ending

Admittedly, this section will be very short because I don’t want to spoil anything. However, I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the ending of Keep Your Friends Close is a whiplash-inducing smack in the head. I never saw Lucinda Berry throwing everything off the cliff like she did. There are multiple insane twists. Once your jaw drops, you won’t be able to close it until you finish Keep Your Friends Close.

Keep Your Friends Close Lucinda Berry

Thank you to Brilliance Audio for the advance copy of Keep Your Friends Close By Lucinda Berry, which was released on November 7th

Reason #5- Audiobook

The audiobook production of Keep Your Friends Close was significant in keeping everything straight and not becoming confusing. Not only do you have three points of view, but you have flashbacks for each, as well. In lesser hands, Keep Your Friends Close would become a convoluted mess. And that would be a crying shame. However, Brilliance Audio keeps everything labeled and straight. Additionally, the narrators Candace Fitzgerald, Daniela Acitelli, Leanne Woodward, and Stephanie Nemeth Parker (yes, there are four narrators but three points of view- to say more would be a light spoiler).

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