Title: Not Bad People by Brandy Scott
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 571 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
A clever, compelling debut novel with a unique premise of what happens when three best friends engage in what seems to be a harmless act, but instead results in tragedy, leading the women to confront buried resentments, shattering secrets, dark lies, and the moral consequences that could alter their lives forever.
Three friends, thirty years of shared secrets, one impulsive gesture…and a terrible accident. When friendship goes bad, someone has to pay.
It’s New Year’s Eve. Three thirty-something women—Aimee, Melinda and Lou—best friends for decades, let off sky lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money. As the glowing paper bags float away, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck—or the start of a complete nightmare that will upend their friendships, families, and careers.
The day after their ceremony, the newspapers report a small plane crash—two victims pulled from the wreckage, one a young boy. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail, and power games.
They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
Not Bad People by Brandy Scott is a character driven novel about friends who live in a small Australian town.
As part their New Year’s Eve celebration, lifelong friends Aimee Verratti, Melinda Baker and Lou Henderson release candle burning sky lanterns. Not long after, they see a flash and bright fire burning in distance. The next day, Aimee learns Pete Kasprowicz and his teenage son Lincoln were injured in a small plane crash the evening before. She is certain their paper lanterns caused the crash but Melinda and Lou do not take her worries seriously. As Aimee grows more and more anxious about the crash, Lou is focused on a crisis with her sixteen year old daughter, Tansy. Meanwhile, Melinda is at a crossroads just as her business is about expand internationally. While the women wait for the results of the plane crash investigation, stunning revelations and shocking decisions will threaten their friendship.
Aimee and her husband Nick are happily married with two teenagers. Aimee is very involved in the local community while Nick works hard running their family owned vineyards and winery. Convinced she and her friends are responsible for the plane crash, Aimee inserts herself in the middle of the investigation. She is not thinking clearly as she becomes consumed with obsessive thoughts about their culpability. As the end of the investigation nears, will Aimee make a decision that will ruin her and her friends lives?
Melinda has worked hard to make her direct sales jewelry business a success. On the verge of expanding her company, she is quite reflective as she realizes her window for having a family is beginning to close. More concerned with preventing a public scandal, Melinda is not at all sympathetic as Aimee begins a downward spiral as she becomes convinced they caused the plane crash. What impact will Melinda’s efforts at damage control have on their friendship?
Lou is a single mother who has struggled financially for years. She is also trying to maintain control over Tansy who defies her at every turn. After a shocking discovery, Lou focuses solely on her daughter as they pull together to weather their latest storm. Facing a precarious future, will Lou’s outrageous decision destroy her support system?
Not Bad People is an interesting novel despite being a bit slow-paced. The characters are well developed with realistic flaws that make them all too human as they deal with life-altering situation. With a final plot twist, Brandy Scott brings the novel to an unexpected conclusion as the cause of the plane is finally revealed. Despite being overly long, fans of the genre will enjoy this well-written debut.