#ATBR2020 – For the Best by Vanessa Lillie

Clearly, I still need to play catch up with some of my reviews!

Thanks to Amazon Publishing for the free early copies in exchange for our honest reviews

FOR THE BEST – Vanessa Lillie (Released September 8th, 2020)

Book Description:

Suspected of a murder she can’t remember, a troubled woman takes an unusual approach to proving her innocence in this gripping thriller from the bestselling author of Little Voices.

When Jules Worthington-Smith’s wallet is found next to a dead man, she becomes the prime suspect in his murder. After struggling for years to build the perfect family and career, she’s dangerously close to losing everything.

Sure of her innocence, Jules is desperate to clear her name. But there’s one big problem: she was blackout drunk when the murder took place and can’t remember what happened.

Unsatisfied with the police’s handling of the case, Jules embarks on her own gin-fueled murder investigation. As she uncovers fresh clues, she starts a true-crime vlog that becomes a viral sensation, pushing her into the public eye. It’s not long before the ordeal forces Jules to confront her demons, including her turbulent childhood and excessive drinking.

The deeper Jules digs, the more dirt she uncovers about the murder and herself. Unexpected truths pile up until she’s buried so deep even finding the killer might not be enough to set her free.

Chandra’s Thoughts: 4/5 stars

Vanessa, how dare you play with my emotions!!! 

Oh my god you guys, gals and them!  Remember when I complained about the continuous use of female lead characters having drunken amnesia as a plot point?  Well I eat (or maybe actually drink) my words!  Turns out – I don’t mind if it’s done right and Lillie has changed my mind.  Or rather, maybe Jules did!

What I absolutely loved about this book was the uniqueness in solving the murder of Terrance.  As we all know, in this day and age just about everything plays out through a lens to the public.  When Jules becomes the only suspect in the murder investigation, her name smeared on the news along with the loss of her job, she decides to take matters into her own hands and using her skills starts a vlog to start digging into clearing her name.  As this escalates, so does her drinking…. and soon truths outside of this murder start to pop up and wouldn’t you know it, it would drive anyone to drink. 😉

Around the 200 page mark I said to myself, “Self, what if it’s actually THIS?!”  Ding. Light bulb!  Turns out I was right about one part and honestly it made me so damn giddy.  However, I certainly didn’t see another part coming and OMG, WTF?! (LOVE!)  Lillie had me glued to these pages.  My heart went out to Jules so much by the end of it all, even if she was a highly frustrating character at times.  

I did wish the light therapy was explained a bit more – I stupidly kept thinking it was “light” as in compared to hard therapy and couldn’t figure out why that was such a thing DOH!  Turns out, it’s therapy using lights.  The book explains it a bit better than I am doing here.  But outside of my stupidity here, this part did feel a bit glossed over and quickly thrown in.

This will be an interesting one I think for thriller lovers.  I love the uniqueness of it all and how it hits on some very important issues – child trauma, alcoholism, white privilege, complex relationships, etc.  I think some readers will have a hard time with Jules as a character and how while this read is twisty, it’s also somber with quite a life lesson brought to the surface.  Personally, I loved it a lot for these reasons and I liked that it wasn’t your typical thriller read. 

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars

Another one that kept me up way past my bedtime, but it was so worth it! FOR THE BEST was my introduction to Vanessa Lillie and now I need to get her other book ASAP. What I will always love in a book is when the author includes multiple formats to tell the story. Like in this one we get the story as it’s happening and transcripts from Jules’s vlog, which was very entertaining to read!

Jules seemed to have the perfect life, but there was one glaring problem, her drinking. She is what you could call a high functioning alcoholic, but it soon catches up to her when the police knock on her door one morning. The man she was with the night before has been found dead and her wallet was laying next to the body. With her being a person of interest in the case she is determined to prove her innocence, which is easier said than done because she can’t remember a thing.

While this trope is used a lot in thrillers, I think Lillie did an incredible job with it and kept it fresh. This didn’t feel like all the others and really did stand out for me. I loved Jules and going through everything with her to find out what truly happened that night. So many secrets and webs to unravel. I can’t wait to pick up her other book!

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