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A gripping debut domestic suspense novel, The Favor explores with compassion and depth what can happen when women pushed to the limit take matters into their own hands. Staying is dangerous. Leaving 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 A gripping debut domestic suspense novel, The Favor explores with compassion and depth what can happen when women pushed to the limit take matters into their own hands. Staying is dangerous. Leaving 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. Because Leah understands that what’s inside a home can be more dangerous than what’s outside. Driving past McKenna’s house one night, she sees what she knows only too well herself from her own marriage: McKenna’s “perfect” husband is not what he seems. She decides to keep an eye out for McKenna, until one night, she intervenes. Leah and McKenna have never met. But they will.


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A gripping debut domestic suspense novel, The Favor explores with compassion and depth what can happen when women pushed to the limit take matters into their own hands. Staying is dangerous. Leaving 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 A gripping debut domestic suspense novel, The Favor explores with compassion and depth what can happen when women pushed to the limit take matters into their own hands. Staying is dangerous. Leaving 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. Because Leah understands that what’s inside a home can be more dangerous than what’s outside. Driving past McKenna’s house one night, she sees what she knows only too well herself from her own marriage: McKenna’s “perfect” husband is not what he seems. She decides to keep an eye out for McKenna, until one night, she intervenes. Leah and McKenna have never met. But they will.

30 review for The Favor

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    I LOVE discovering a debut from a promising new author! And, with “The Favor”- I have done just that! ❤️ Leah and McKenna have never met, though they are leading parallel lives. Both are intelligent, educated, accomplished women, who have SOMEHOW lost their sense of self worth after getting married. In this story, they won’t find themselves in the same train carriage and they don’t meet accidentally at the gym or the coffee shop. But, one day, Leah sees McKenna in a liquor shop, and recognizes an I LOVE discovering a debut from a promising new author! And, with “The Favor”- I have done just that! ❤️ Leah and McKenna have never met, though they are leading parallel lives. Both are intelligent, educated, accomplished women, who have SOMEHOW lost their sense of self worth after getting married. In this story, they won’t find themselves in the same train carriage and they don’t meet accidentally at the gym or the coffee shop. But, one day, Leah sees McKenna in a liquor shop, and recognizes an earlier version of herself, and she feels compelled to follow her. And, then to return again to the other woman’s home on another night. What she witnesses is something she knows only too well from her own marriage: McKenna’s husband isn’t as “charming “ as he seems. And, when Leah, decides to intervene, the two will finally meet. “I AM SOMEONE LIKE YOU” Now the two women are forever linked. But is the link one that our Detective can figure out? I found the writing to be immediately engaging, and the insights into domestic abuse were spot on! (resources provided) I know! I know! Many of you are tired of reading about abusive, controlling husbands, gaslighting and women who cope by becoming addicted to alcohol and/or drugs-but this is a serious problem that can paralyze women from all walks of life. And, what sets this story apart from the others is the quality of the writing. I was flipping the pages late into the night! The men is this story were interchangeable-but that didn’t really matter because this story is about the women. And, I was rooting for them every step of the way! 4+ I cannot wait to read what Nora Murphy writes next! NOW AVAILABLE! This was a buddy read with my friend Susan! Be sure to read her always insightful review! Thank You to Minotaur for my gifted copy! It was my pleasure to offer a candid review!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    Stand, run, or hide. "It was like she was my friend, my ally." Leah and McKenna have a lot in common, but they are complete strangers. One of them has a grand idea, and becomes a little obsessed with following the other one. McKenna's neighborhood has streets named after fruit. She lives on Apple Blossom Lane. Leah begins watching McKenna from a distance, parking on Pear Tree Circle, she sees her husband come in, due to the open curtains and wall of windows. He brings an air of unease, and she can Stand, run, or hide. "It was like she was my friend, my ally." Leah and McKenna have a lot in common, but they are complete strangers. One of them has a grand idea, and becomes a little obsessed with following the other one. McKenna's neighborhood has streets named after fruit. She lives on Apple Blossom Lane. Leah begins watching McKenna from a distance, parking on Pear Tree Circle, she sees her husband come in, due to the open curtains and wall of windows. He brings an air of unease, and she can feel the tension rise as she watches on. She knows this feeling well. They seem to have similar lives, both women playing roles. Leah and McKenna are educated, professional, intelligent and sophisticated. How is it they can't seem to break away? The writing grabbed me from the start! The obsessive nature of the characters had me on edge much of the time. One scene was truly a shockeroo that made me blink twice and reread it! I think I was rooting for the wrong person, but it was hard not to. Some Stranger on the Train vibes mixed with a bit of Behind Closed Doors. The story deals with abusive relationships which I normally steer away from, but this one pulled me in. The author's note at the end reminded me of how common it really is and how much these women need support. Thanks to SMP influencers program for my copy. OUT June 14, 2022

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meredith (On Vacation)

    “I’m someone like you.” 3.5 stars The Favoris a psychological thriller about two women with seemingly picture-perfect lives who trade an unsolicited “favor” that changes the trajectory of their lives. Leah and McKenna seem to have ideal lives. Both women are married to highly successful men and have put their careers on hold to support their husband’s wishes. But what goes on behind closed doors reveals all is not what it seems. A chance sighting results in an obsession that leads to murder. The p “I’m someone like you.” 3.5 stars The Favoris a psychological thriller about two women with seemingly picture-perfect lives who trade an unsolicited “favor” that changes the trajectory of their lives. Leah and McKenna seem to have ideal lives. Both women are married to highly successful men and have put their careers on hold to support their husband’s wishes. But what goes on behind closed doors reveals all is not what it seems. A chance sighting results in an obsession that leads to murder. The plot mirrors Strangers on a Train with a few other novels mixed in. Narrated by Leah, McKenna, and Jordan, the detective conducting a murder investigation, Leah and McKenna were somewhat interchangeable, but that didn’t really bother me as there was enough detail to set them apart. Leah was a bit darker and had a stronger voice, whereas McKenna's character felt like an afterthought. Jordan’s character is a little corny and cliched--I could have done without his chapters. The timeline alternates between the past and the present, filling the reader in on how Leah and McKenna, two smart, successful women, became trapped in their marriages. The Favor is more of a plot-driven vs. character-driven novel. It’s easy to read and hooked me from the start. I could have used a bit more background and depth to the characters and their situations, but at the same time, I was captivated. I was left with a few unanswered questions and had to slightly suspend my disbelief, but overall, this was a solid debut with a page-turning plot!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Leah Dawson, a lawyer married to hotshot family law & divorce attorney, Liam, and McKenna Hawkins, a pediatrician married to respected psychiatrist, Zachary, both seem to have idyllic lives with their relatively new husbands. They have successful careers, beautiful homes and financial stability. They don’t know each other, but their lives are remarkably similar - right down to the emotional and physical abuse, coercion, social isolation, lack of financial control, and stripping of identity that Leah Dawson, a lawyer married to hotshot family law & divorce attorney, Liam, and McKenna Hawkins, a pediatrician married to respected psychiatrist, Zachary, both seem to have idyllic lives with their relatively new husbands. They have successful careers, beautiful homes and financial stability. They don’t know each other, but their lives are remarkably similar - right down to the emotional and physical abuse, coercion, social isolation, lack of financial control, and stripping of identity that both husbands start inflicting on them shortly after marriage. When Leah sees McKenna in a liquor store one day, she recognizes the signs of her own situation and becomes obsessed with helping her, unbeknownst to McKenna. The question is: How far will Leah go to help this stranger? I’m leaving it there, as far as the plot goes, as that’s just the beginning. Suffice it to say, as the story unfolds, it’s clever, intriguing, and frankly infuriating to see what these two women experience, but it’s also, dare I say, fun to watch how author Nora Murphy weaves their stories together to a satisfying conclusion. Not condoning how some things went down, but I was pulling for these two at every moment! Yes, you have to suspend a pretty healthy amount of disbelief, and I was mildly annoyed at the chapters with Detective Jordan Harrison, who came off too cocky for my taste, but it was a small price to pay for a compelling debut that tackles an issue that should be given more attention. Do yourself a favor and read this! Also make sure to read the Author’s Note, as Murphy includes resources and information pertaining to domestic violence for those who may personally need it or know someone who does. ★★★★ Thanks to St. Martins Press, NetGalley and author Nora Murphy for this ARC. I’ve given my opinions freely and honestly. It’s due to be published on May 31, 2022. ********************************************************************************************** Some facts on domestic violence: According to NCADV, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men in the U.S. have experienced physical violence from their intimate partner, such as pushing, shoving and slapping, and one in four women and one in nine men have endured a severe form like beating, burning or strangling. That doesn’t even account for emotional abuse, sexual violence or stalking, nor does it reflect statistics globally where domestic violence is endemic and often unseen. For more domestic violence statistics visit: Statistics For domestic violence resources visit: Resources

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This book’s plot absolutely resembles Strangers on a train meets Girl on the train with additional domestic abuse and psychological thriller elements. And interestingly it doesn’t take place on a train! But Leah and McKenna were intelligent, strong, caring woman, so easy to resonate with! They were just the victims of abusive, controlling partners who verbally and physically harassed them. Leah is a talented, aspiring lawyer and McKenna is a brilliant pediatrician. Both of them worked so hard t This book’s plot absolutely resembles Strangers on a train meets Girl on the train with additional domestic abuse and psychological thriller elements. And interestingly it doesn’t take place on a train! But Leah and McKenna were intelligent, strong, caring woman, so easy to resonate with! They were just the victims of abusive, controlling partners who verbally and physically harassed them. Leah is a talented, aspiring lawyer and McKenna is a brilliant pediatrician. Both of them worked so hard to achieve their goals, trapped in a marriage, trying to find a way out. Their fates crossed at a liquor store where Leah always stops by each particular day of the week and McKenna coincidentally stops by buying wine for treating her neighbors even though she’s forbidden to drink. Leah can sense the similarities between she and McKenna, finding herself follow her to the house. She thinks McKenna lives the early stage of her own life but when she sees McKenna’s control freak husband Zachary she understands something is wrong with him just like her own husband Liam who watches her each step, forcing her to live at the basement of the house and from some reason something truly bad happened to Leah during their only ten months long marriage that turned her into jobless alcoholic but we don’t know what it is! But we understand that her husband threats to kill her mother if she tries to leave him. And poor McKenna also suffers financially, couldn’t say a word to her brother about what’s happening behind the close doors. And she secretly keeps taking her birth control pills even though the bastard she’s married forcing her to conceive a baby. Watching them outside of their home becomes a habit for Leah but one day she sees something shocking… something pushes her out of her comfort zone… something forces her to take an action… I’m stopping her not to give much away. I already gave big clues when I mentioned two books’ plots have resemblances with this story. I read it in one sit! The characterization is spotless! The pacing was perfectly balanced, unputdownable, riveting. I loved this book! I loved the conclusion! I was thinking about giving four stars but I decided to give more because of powerful messages the author gave and I also advise you to read the author more which made me round up 4.5 stars to 5! Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ Minotaur Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Leaving would be Dangerous. Staying could be worse. Leah knows an abused woman - mentally or physically - when she sees one because she is one. So, when she sees a woman at the liquor store, she knows they live similar lives. She knows the slump of her shoulders. She knows her darting eyes. She knows she needs help. They haven’t met, but they will… The Favour was a super tense thriller about two women in very similar situations. I haven't read a good domestic suspense/thriller in a while so this wa Leaving would be Dangerous. Staying could be worse. Leah knows an abused woman - mentally or physically - when she sees one because she is one. So, when she sees a woman at the liquor store, she knows they live similar lives. She knows the slump of her shoulders. She knows her darting eyes. She knows she needs help. They haven’t met, but they will… The Favour was a super tense thriller about two women in very similar situations. I haven't read a good domestic suspense/thriller in a while so this was a welcome change. Both women have incredibly stressful storylines and I enjoyed reading their different points of view thoroughly. I really felt for both women as their situations unfolded. Some of the scenes made me so mad, I just wanted to reach into the pages and pull the characters out. I was rooting for them from page one. I do think the less you know going into this one, the more exciting it is so I will stop there. Nora Murphy has crafted a fast-paced story that has everything I want in a thriller novel. I'm so impressed that this is her debut. I thought the writing and character development were excellent. Her background working with survivors of domestic violence (DV) translated so well into her writing. I thought she addressed the DV aspects with great care and thoughtfulness. I’m looking forward to reading what she comes up with next. A huge thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for gifting me a finished copy of The Favour to read and review. Publication day is 31 May 2022.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sujoya

    3.5 rounded up! “We were guilty. But we were also victims. We were survivors.” Two highly educated and professionally accomplished women – Leah and McKenna – married to equally educated and accomplished men , no financial worries and homeowners in respectable neighborhoods- what more could a woman want? But the truth behind their picture-perfect lives is not what any woman would dream her life to be. On her routine liquor run, Leah notices McKenna and sees through her polished exterior or rather s 3.5 rounded up! “We were guilty. But we were also victims. We were survivors.” Two highly educated and professionally accomplished women – Leah and McKenna – married to equally educated and accomplished men , no financial worries and homeowners in respectable neighborhoods- what more could a woman want? But the truth behind their picture-perfect lives is not what any woman would dream her life to be. On her routine liquor run, Leah notices McKenna and sees through her polished exterior or rather sees herself reflected in McKenna’s demeanor. On an impulse, Leah follows McKenna home – and as she repeats her trips to McKenna's neighborhood, her suspicions are confirmed. McKenna is in an abusive marriage similar to her own. Leah,unable to help herself, feels compelled to help McKenna – as a favor. What follows is a sequence of events that changes their lives irrevocably. The larger part of the narrative is shared by Leah and McKenna with a few segments narrated by a third character who is introduced later in the story. The narrative switches between the past and present detailing the lives of both Leah and McKenna- their courtship and subsequent marriage with their respective spouses and the present state of their lives , their professional accomplishments and the circumstances under which they are forced to quit their respective jobs and how despite not ever knowing each other in the past and hardly ever interacting with one another in the present, they become involved in each other's lives. Fast-paced, with an engaging narrative and well – fleshed out characters, Nora Murphy’s The Favor is an impressive debut! However, you need to suspend disbelief quite a bit to fully enjoy the story. If you don’t overthink it, the plot will definitely pull you in from the very first page! The author, who is a practicing attorney, uses her professional experience in dealing with survivors of intimate partner violence in her insightful and vivid depiction of the various manifestations of abuse – humiliation, manipulation, coercion, and ultimately physical assault. In her note at the end of the book, she makes a valid point that domestic violence and spousal abuse are not limited to families lacking in education or financial stability and are not uncommon among couples from more educated or affluent backgrounds. That is an important message. In her note, the author states,”Intimate partner violence can debilitate us. Our friends. Our sisters. Our mothers. Our daughters. Our neighbors. Or, a stranger, just as Leah was to Mckenna, and McKenna to Leah. We must understand them. We must support each other. We must support ourselves.” I switched between the e-book and the audio narration with this one. Dylan Moore, Leon Nixon and Sarah Mollo-Christensen brilliantly brought these characters to life through their superb narration.

  8. 4 out of 5

    L.A.

    4.5***** A psychological domestic thriller delivered by a debut author with enough talent to convince me Nora Murphy is one to watch!!!! This is not just another book about wives being abused by controlling husbands and succumbing to their demise with alcohol. The writing is incredible and I wanted to finish it in one day! The description of the book doesn't give anything away other than the two women do not know each other. Leah and McKenna have never met, but they live parallel lives with "perf 4.5***** A psychological domestic thriller delivered by a debut author with enough talent to convince me Nora Murphy is one to watch!!!! This is not just another book about wives being abused by controlling husbands and succumbing to their demise with alcohol. The writing is incredible and I wanted to finish it in one day! The description of the book doesn't give anything away other than the two women do not know each other. Leah and McKenna have never met, but they live parallel lives with "perfect" husbands. They have both left their jobs recently and feel trapped within their homes. They are accomplished women: One is a doctor; One is an attorney. Their husbands are just as successful: One is a doctor; One is an attorney. They are both professional abusers....husbands that are professionals but abuse their wives either physically, emotionally or both. They both have violated the relevant professional code of ethics. I was confused at first, when Leah sees McKenna in a liquor store and stops in her tracks with the thoughts "It was like seeing myself." So the guess work was out when Leah began following her home, parking down the street and watching from her backyard. She sees and instinctively knows that they have similar home environments by watching the couple's interactions. They become linked in a most unusual way in which a detective tries to connect the dots. There are so many fantastic reviews that if I can't convince you to read it maybe they can!! The unfortunate reality is that many women and men suffer physical and mental abuse and can't find a way out of it. There are links for help at the end of her book. Staying is not an option. :( Thank you Netgalley and St Martins books for this copy in exchange for my honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan - on semi hiatus

    Turnabout is Fair Play. As a psychological thriller centering around domestic abuse, you may think there’s nothing new to add. However, the writer’s agenda in The Favor is not only to thrill, but to impart information. A promising debut telling the story of Leah and McKenna, two successful and enterprising women with a bright future earned and laid out in front of them. The book demonstrates how easily they fell victim to their controlling, dangerous husbands and the mental hi-jinks involved with Turnabout is Fair Play. As a psychological thriller centering around domestic abuse, you may think there’s nothing new to add. However, the writer’s agenda in The Favor is not only to thrill, but to impart information. A promising debut telling the story of Leah and McKenna, two successful and enterprising women with a bright future earned and laid out in front of them. The book demonstrates how easily they fell victim to their controlling, dangerous husbands and the mental hi-jinks involved with leaving them. It’s not as easy as it would seem. I always read and appreciate author notes and Nora Murphy provided not just insight, but Help Lines for those who may want them. A point taken was that abuse can happen across all societal and economic levels and it happens so gradually, that a trap is laid without the victim realizing it. Important for future reference and recognizing situations for what they are. Reading and discussing with friends adds to my enjoyment and my experience here was no exception. Jayme and I cruised through this together and were aligned in our thoughts - so no dissension regarding how wonderful this book was! Thank you to Nora Murphy, NetGalley, and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for my advance reader’s copy. Expected publication May 31,2022

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    The best favors are those you don’t need to ask for…. Leah and McKenna have never met, but they have a great deal in common. Primarily, their abusive husbands. When the two women incidentally cross paths Leah realizes that McKenna is as trapped as she is. How will both women find a way out of their abusive relationships? I continually saw great reviews for this book, so after a bout of FOMO I immediately picked it up. Glad to say it’s as good as all the hype! Domestic suspense reads are among my fa The best favors are those you don’t need to ask for…. Leah and McKenna have never met, but they have a great deal in common. Primarily, their abusive husbands. When the two women incidentally cross paths Leah realizes that McKenna is as trapped as she is. How will both women find a way out of their abusive relationships? I continually saw great reviews for this book, so after a bout of FOMO I immediately picked it up. Glad to say it’s as good as all the hype! Domestic suspense reads are among my favorite and this one didn’t disappoint! But let’s bear in mind that behind the fictional characters and scenarios lies a dark reality of abused women. Nora Murphy did an amazing job of blending the darker themes of abuse into an explosive and gripping fictional thriller. Looking forward to more from this author. Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Leah, a formerly successful lawyer, spots McKenna at the local liquor store. She can tell just by looking at her that her life is similar to her own. The hunched shoulders, the nervous darting eyes. She decides to follow her home where she will observe her without her knowledge. What she witnesses through the patio windows is just what she had expected. McKenna lives under the thumb of her abusive husband and it's only a matter of time when he hurts her once and for all. These two women don't kn Leah, a formerly successful lawyer, spots McKenna at the local liquor store. She can tell just by looking at her that her life is similar to her own. The hunched shoulders, the nervous darting eyes. She decides to follow her home where she will observe her without her knowledge. What she witnesses through the patio windows is just what she had expected. McKenna lives under the thumb of her abusive husband and it's only a matter of time when he hurts her once and for all. These two women don't know each other but they will soon enough because a favor between strangers should always be repaid. Not too shabby for a debut novel. This book brings to mind a few other little novels you may or may not have heard of (😉) like The Girl on the Train, The Woman in the Window, or the less known but still amazing Looker. You have an inebriated, unreliable female narrator that stalks obsesses over another person and/or family in an effort to help them or so they believe. If you have grown weary with that particular plot device then move along, nothing to see here. If you're still willing to give it a chance then this is a great one. Other authors have tried to do this and they just don't get it right or the writing is so amateur that it doesn't work. Not the case here. My only complaint is that this drags a little in the middle. While the end doesn't wallop you with any shocking twists or reveals it's still plenty satisfying. Murphy's insights into domestic abuse are spot on, her writing was engaging, and her character development really allowed me to be front and center in the minds of these two women. This up-and-coming author is one that I will keep my eye on. 4 stars! Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for my complimentary copy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Actions already speak the truth. And mindless excuses are like the rocks that suffocate the breath of that truth. Nora Murphy creates a raw and a revealing journey into the lives of two separate women who bear the imprint of coercive control in their marriages. Neither even knew of each other's existence much less the awareness that they seemed to be living parallel lives. And like all things in the Universe, paths will transect when all the stars are aligned. From the address at the curb, Dr. McKe Actions already speak the truth. And mindless excuses are like the rocks that suffocate the breath of that truth. Nora Murphy creates a raw and a revealing journey into the lives of two separate women who bear the imprint of coercive control in their marriages. Neither even knew of each other's existence much less the awareness that they seemed to be living parallel lives. And like all things in the Universe, paths will transect when all the stars are aligned. From the address at the curb, Dr. McKenna Hawkins and her husband, Dr. Zack Hawkins, are doing well for themselves. They live in an upscale neighborhood with a sprawling home and two newer vehicles in the driveway. There's not a smudge on that shiny front door. But once you cross that threshold, you'd be entering into the chill given off by that relationship. There's always more than what meets the eye in fact. Leah Dawson finds herself at a new liquor store every few days. Her eyes easily recognize the Grey Goose vodka label situated on the shelf in her favorite aisle. She can't afford to leave a trail these days. So Leah plays a game with herself and pays with cash. She's lost her job at a Baltimore law firm under unfortunate circumstances. Her trial lawyer husband, Liam, looks at her with disgust these days......and that forces her to drink all the more......to blur out her severe unhappiness with booze at the ready. Nora Murphy will set the stage with McKenna and Leah front and center. We will be awestruck by the riveting changes that will be about to unfold in their lives. Pain drifts in the air and we readers can't help but inhale it in gulps. Murphy makes us privy to behind doors conversations and intense interactions within these separate marriages. We nod our heads as we acknowledge the "get-away" scheme that resides in our own heads is not so easily implemented. The voice within that states "I would never tolerate that" seems to fade in a whisper. The preconceived notions that we have about outward appearances of relationships arches the eyebrow. I'll hold onto the storyline itself. Just laying the foundation here should open up the need to know. The author's Acknowledgements at the end of this novel should greatly inform us. Domestic Abuse just doesn't happen to the uneducated and the have not's. Professionals are even better at the confining game of control and have even more tricks up their sleeves. Bottom line, physical and mental control crosses all lines.....all lines. Nora Murphy, through her fictional novel, presents pockets of real life in The Favor. Sideline some of the fiction, but let the light of truth appear. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press (Minotaur Books) and to Nora Murphy for the opportunity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Catherine (alternativelytitledbooks)

    **Many thanks to NetGalley, Minotaur/St. Martin's Press, and Nora Murphy for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 5.31!!** Hasta la muerta... Two women, Leah and McKenna, both seem to have it all, living a luxe lifestyle on the arm of a wealthy and handsome man...and are successful and hardworking in their own right. These two have never met, but their stories intertwine in a dark and almost deadly way: both women are trapped in the clutches of a controlling domestic violence situation. Th **Many thanks to NetGalley, Minotaur/St. Martin's Press, and Nora Murphy for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 5.31!!** Hasta la muerta... Two women, Leah and McKenna, both seem to have it all, living a luxe lifestyle on the arm of a wealthy and handsome man...and are successful and hardworking in their own right. These two have never met, but their stories intertwine in a dark and almost deadly way: both women are trapped in the clutches of a controlling domestic violence situation. Their connections to the outside world slowly dwindle, jobs disappear, and each are subjugated to the controlling and derisive behavior of their husbands, aching to break free but losing all confidence they'll ever be able to break the cycle. That is until one day, Leah's liquid courage and a bit of brave exploring leads her to McKenna's yard, where she witnesses the ugliness firsthand. Up close and personal, it's too hard to ignore, But what will her next move be? Can she simply stand by and watch her own desperate situation cycle in front of her eyes, yet again...or will she be compelled to take a chance, make a leap, and do a stranger (you guessed it!) a Favor? Newcomer Nora Murphy is a welcome addition to the world of domestic suspense, and a blurb from Shari Lapena fits in perfectly with her style, her pacing, and the Ugliness Hiding Behind the Veil of Perfection trope that so often pops up in these type of stories. This one IS different from your average domestic tale...in some ways. Having a one sided relationship that slowly morphed into a reciprocal relationship between the two characters kept things exciting and unique. There ARE some overused tropes in this one, however, like the alcoholic tendencies of one of our narrators, so be forewarned. I don't necessarily mind this as a device, but normally I feel it really serves to help the story, and in this case it seemed superfluous. These quibbles aside, the plot moves along steadily and with ease, although I felt the narrators monologues getting a bit repetitive at times (or perhaps it just felt that way because the characters' stories were so similar?) It didn't hurt my overall experience, but I DID predict the second half of the book shortly after the big first twist happened. Coincidentally, this changed the whole tone of the book for me, and it went from the mystery-thriller-whodunit type vibe to a slower and more serious look at the ins and outs of a domestic violence situation. I had little familiarity with intimate partner violence prior to reading this book, which coincided with my semi-obsessive viewing of the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, where many of the same topics were explored, albeit in a real-life setting and WILDLY different circumstances. Of course, this narrative certainly doesn't have any traces of male victims and falls into more of a 'traditional' situation of domestic violence with male perpetrators holding their female partners in a cycle of violence, but Murphy certainly handles the topic carefully and she has done her research as a lawyer who has worked with IPV directly. Her author's note and list of resources at the end are fantastic too, should you or anyone you know need the help. As a still practicing attorney, I can only imagine the sparks of inspiration that might burst into flame and fuel the roaring and exciting fire behind Murphy's next novel...so get your graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate ready (at least hopefully by NEXT summer!) 😉 🔥 🍫 4 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    "I'm in control, never gonna stop Control, to get what I want Control, I like to have a lot Control, now I'm all grown up" -Control - Janet Jackson Two Women. Similar circumstances. Two Perfect husbands. Control. I listened to the audiobook today while doing a long drive and enjoyed every second of it! Two women, Leah and McKenna, are married to Jerk 1 and Jerk 2 respectively, they have something in common, have never met and yet.... This was a great listen and I loved how things unfolded. I found "I'm in control, never gonna stop Control, to get what I want Control, I like to have a lot Control, now I'm all grown up" -Control - Janet Jackson Two Women. Similar circumstances. Two Perfect husbands. Control. I listened to the audiobook today while doing a long drive and enjoyed every second of it! Two women, Leah and McKenna, are married to Jerk 1 and Jerk 2 respectively, they have something in common, have never met and yet.... This was a great listen and I loved how things unfolded. I found myself rooting for the two women, booing, and hissing at other characters, and thoroughly enjoying myself. This book deals with very difficult subjects - domestic abuse being one and the author addresses that in the author's note. I also appreciated that she showed that this can happen to anyone and how it may start gradually and evolve from there. I enjoyed the narrators and enjoyed the detective in this book. I thought his narrator did a great job. I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next. Addictive, hard to stop reading/listening and thought provoking. Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Trigger warning for domestic violence. I devoured this book in one setting. The domestic violence scenes were hard to read but the plot twist kept me hooked. I enjoyed the writing style and I am interested in what this author comes up with next. Leah and McKenna are two strangers who with one decision become entangled in each others lives. They both are victims of domestic violence by their seemingly perfect husbands. Leah passes McKenna’s house and witnesses one of the acts committed by her husb Trigger warning for domestic violence. I devoured this book in one setting. The domestic violence scenes were hard to read but the plot twist kept me hooked. I enjoyed the writing style and I am interested in what this author comes up with next. Leah and McKenna are two strangers who with one decision become entangled in each others lives. They both are victims of domestic violence by their seemingly perfect husbands. Leah passes McKenna’s house and witnesses one of the acts committed by her husband. She becomes determined to protect McKenna as she knows all to well what she is going through. One night Leah decides to intervene and hopes that maybe one day, McKenna will return the favor. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    An exciting and gripping domestic suspense novel! I really enjoyed "The Favor" and flew through the story in just a few sittings. Great characters with an intriguing storyline. I liked that the story was told from multiple viewpoints. A terrific debut! This well written novel has me excited to read more from Nora Murphy! An exciting and gripping domestic suspense novel! I really enjoyed "The Favor" and flew through the story in just a few sittings. Great characters with an intriguing storyline. I liked that the story was told from multiple viewpoints. A terrific debut! This well written novel has me excited to read more from Nora Murphy!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tamar...playing hooky for a few hours today

    WOW – I mean wow. I started this book and flipped pages wildly until I finished only hours after picking it up. Anyone who has read a book about abusive controlling husbands might expect the tense claustrophobic suspense of Behind Closed Doors or any number of other similar books, but controlling abusive husbands is where the similarity ends. The Favor, a debut novel by Murphy, is a super quick read, a little different from the heart pounding suspense thriller that I often enjoy. I should caveat WOW – I mean wow. I started this book and flipped pages wildly until I finished only hours after picking it up. Anyone who has read a book about abusive controlling husbands might expect the tense claustrophobic suspense of Behind Closed Doors or any number of other similar books, but controlling abusive husbands is where the similarity ends. The Favor, a debut novel by Murphy, is a super quick read, a little different from the heart pounding suspense thriller that I often enjoy. I should caveat that anyone who is familiar with a 1951 Hitchcock film based on a book by Highsmith (my favorite duo combo) will know how the book will play out practically from chapter one. This did not diminish my enjoyment by even an iota. The difference between the noir film and this book is the motivation of the characters. No verbal contract between two strangers, but rather recognition, fear, and an unspoken empathy is what motivates. I’ve already given too much away, and I hope this won’t detract from a reader’s pleasure so I will limit the description to the above and add only that the police procedural aspect was equally entertaining as a Detective endeavors to unravel the mystery behind the murder of two men, husbands of two women who live in the same community, with no apparent connection between them, other than the similar circumstances of their widowhood. Thank you NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books and Nora Murphy for a thoroughly enjoyable ARC of The Favor! I will be looking for more books by this author in the future.

  18. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    3.5 stars - a good read Leah and McKenna lock eyes in a liquor store one day, and something clicks. It’s one abused woman recognizing herself in the other woman. Leah discovers they live in the same neighborhood and sees something through McKenna’s window one day that pushes her over the edge. What will Leah do, and will McKenna repay the favor? The writing and pacing were good, but there were a lot of plot holes and the need to suspend disbelief. Although I usually enjoy the addition of a police 3.5 stars - a good read Leah and McKenna lock eyes in a liquor store one day, and something clicks. It’s one abused woman recognizing herself in the other woman. Leah discovers they live in the same neighborhood and sees something through McKenna’s window one day that pushes her over the edge. What will Leah do, and will McKenna repay the favor? The writing and pacing were good, but there were a lot of plot holes and the need to suspend disbelief. Although I usually enjoy the addition of a police procedural in a thriller, I didn’t find the chapters from the police detective added anything to the story. Once again, we have a MC who is an educated, intelligent, professional woman whose narrative is fueled by massive amounts of alcohol. I’m officially done with this trope. As well as domestic abuse stories. The epilogue gives information about domestic abuse, which I applaud, but references only women who are abused. We need to acknowledge that men can be, and are, abused as well, both physically and psychologically. It may look different, but it IS abuse, and can break a man psychologically, just as it does a woman.. My feelings about this are quite strong due to a situation in my own family. All in all, a solid debut. Despite my few quibbles, I did enjoy the listen. What bothered me may not bother others, and it’s worth the read. I look forward to seeing what the author does next. * I received the digital audio of this book via NetGalley. All opinions are my own

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Nora Murphy is the kind of talented, exciting new author that makes the inner frustrated writer in me a little jealous. I so enjoyed this book, which is both thrilling and impactful with an important and urgent social message. We read a lot of domestic thrillers these days with a lot of abusive men, but not all of them are realistic or have a deep understanding of the dynamics and pain of domestic violence. Nora Murphy, I have learned, is an attorney with a background in intimate partner violence Nora Murphy is the kind of talented, exciting new author that makes the inner frustrated writer in me a little jealous. I so enjoyed this book, which is both thrilling and impactful with an important and urgent social message. We read a lot of domestic thrillers these days with a lot of abusive men, but not all of them are realistic or have a deep understanding of the dynamics and pain of domestic violence. Nora Murphy, I have learned, is an attorney with a background in intimate partner violence cases. This explains the excellent character development and sensitive depiction of the psychological and emotional issues women experience in relationships with violent partners throughout this book. But more than being accurate, urgent and important, this book is also a good old fashioned scary thriller. It is Strangers on the Train meets A Simple Favor or a reverse Gone Girl (which is much more my speed than Gone Girl, tbh). In this book, two women in remarkably similar circumstances meet by chance, and realize they have a lot in common - particularly their abusive husbands. Since no one else is protecting McKenna from the abuse of her successful, well-regarded husband, Leah decides to keep an eye on McKenna in case she needs help. The character development and the plotting are both superb, and the book has a sense of claustrophobia that really puts you in the shoes of the women who are trapped in these relationships. The psychological and emotional development of the characters give you a lot to think about while also scaring you. I love a thriller that also has a little something to say about our society — but says it well through the characters without getting preachy. This book perfectly fits the bill. It will scare you and break your heart a little, while helping you understand well why women in these situations often feel they can’t leave, and cannot depend on the police to keep them safe. A very impressive first effort from Nora Murphy. She has gained a new fan in me. Can’t wait to see what she writes next! 4 plus shiny stars. Thanks to Minotaur, NetGalley, and the author for the great ARC.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (Extremely Behind)

    Incredibly fast paced book, I plowed through this in a day! It's the story about two women--Leah and McKenna. We know from the beginning that Leah has a pretty serious problem with alcohol. She sees McKenna at a liquor store and feels like there is something familiar about her, so Leah decides to follow her to see. Where the book goes from here is both familiar and shocking, with some interesting twists and a very fast-paced plot. Yes, this book is about intimate partner violence, and it gets ve Incredibly fast paced book, I plowed through this in a day! It's the story about two women--Leah and McKenna. We know from the beginning that Leah has a pretty serious problem with alcohol. She sees McKenna at a liquor store and feels like there is something familiar about her, so Leah decides to follow her to see. Where the book goes from here is both familiar and shocking, with some interesting twists and a very fast-paced plot. Yes, this book is about intimate partner violence, and it gets very real and difficult to read at times. But stick with it, the payoff is great and quite satisfying. The author offers resources in the back and that was very appreciated and helpful. I listened to part of this as an audiobook, and the multiple narrators captured the personalities of the characters. This is a taut, tense domestic suspense novel that will have you turning pages quickly to find out what will happen. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    I'm someone like you. Two professional women. Leah is a lawyer and McKenna is a pediatrician. Both are married to professional men. Leah's husband, Liam, is also a lawyer. McKenna's husband, Zack, is a psychiatrist. Leah and McKenna have something in common. They are both virtually prisoners in their own homes. This new release shines a light into the dark corners of domestic abuse. Watch the cockroaches scatter when you read this one. It is frustrating at times as the two women struggle under t I'm someone like you. Two professional women. Leah is a lawyer and McKenna is a pediatrician. Both are married to professional men. Leah's husband, Liam, is also a lawyer. McKenna's husband, Zack, is a psychiatrist. Leah and McKenna have something in common. They are both virtually prisoners in their own homes. This new release shines a light into the dark corners of domestic abuse. Watch the cockroaches scatter when you read this one. It is frustrating at times as the two women struggle under their invisible (for the most part) bonds. There is a third perspective from Detective Jordan Harrison which gives some great insights into police procedural techniques and adds a thrill level of cat-and-mouse suspense. This title may not be what you expect, but it will keep you turning the pages to find out about "The Favor." I hoped she would see I had returned the favor. Thank you to Minotaur Books and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 will you do me a favor stars - now available I really enjoyed this debut novel and read it in one sitting! There are two main characters in this one – Leah and McKenna. Their lives are similar, and they end up intersecting in a very interesting manner! Both women are bright and educated but have found themselves in difficult and dangerous relationships. They are isolated and truly cut off from family, friends, and any sort of support. One day Leah sees McKenna in the liquor and is struck by their 4 will you do me a favor stars - now available I really enjoyed this debut novel and read it in one sitting! There are two main characters in this one – Leah and McKenna. Their lives are similar, and they end up intersecting in a very interesting manner! Both women are bright and educated but have found themselves in difficult and dangerous relationships. They are isolated and truly cut off from family, friends, and any sort of support. One day Leah sees McKenna in the liquor and is struck by their similarities. On a whim, she decides to follow McKenna and discovers that they have more in common than looks. This is where the book takes an interesting turn, and I don’t want to give away any clues. I will say that this is one of the rare times where I’m not rooting for the police to figure it all out. I think that this would make an excellent book club book and would make for some great discussion. I will watch for the next book by this author! Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the copy of this one to read and review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Luvtoread

    Leah is tired and feels downtrodden and drinks way too much. While she is once again at the liquor store, she happens to see a beautiful young woman who reminds her of herself not that long ago. Leah can't take her eyes off this woman and finds her following her home wondering what kind of life she is living could be similar to her own. Leah was a practicing lawyer but hasn't worked in over a year so she has almost all the free time in the world to follow her new obsession. McKenna is a pediatric Leah is tired and feels downtrodden and drinks way too much. While she is once again at the liquor store, she happens to see a beautiful young woman who reminds her of herself not that long ago. Leah can't take her eyes off this woman and finds her following her home wondering what kind of life she is living could be similar to her own. Leah was a practicing lawyer but hasn't worked in over a year so she has almost all the free time in the world to follow her new obsession. McKenna is a pediatrician who also stopped working and has everything anyone could want in life but looks can be deceiving. McKenna has no idea someone is watching her since she has her own troubles to deal with. Soon their will be a tragic event that neither woman could have foreseen that will bring the two together in a way they could have never imagined while sill not knowing one another. A dogged detective will haunt these two woman looking for a connection that he can never find because McKenna and Leah have never met even though their lives are uniquely and deeply intertwined forever by an unexpected FAVOR! This was a very enjoyable and entertaining read with the reminiscent flavor of the old movie "Strangers on a train" which I have always loved. Although there were some similarities this book carries itself very well with the terrific writing and storytelling that is heartbreaking at times and I just wanted to see these woman gain their identities back. The story covers some dark topics that could be uncomfortable for many readers who have had any similar problems as these woman. This was a character driven novel and I thoroughly enjoyed the complex story. I can't believe this was Nora Murphy's first book debut since it was so well-written and intriguing and I will definitely be looking forward to her other books in the future. I want to thank the publisher "St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this digital copy and any thoughts or opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone! I highly recommend and have given this book a rating of 4 INTRIGUING 🌟🌟🌟🌟 STARS!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    chantalsbookstuff

    Two women from different families and who has never met find themselves in similar abusive and controlling relationships. The events that play off simultaneously will keep you in your seat and turning page after page. I really liked this one, it was gripping until the end. **major trigger warnings for domestic and psychological abuse.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Early reviews for this domestic suspense thriller are glowing, and for the first half of the book, I was in total agreement; but the second half fizzled out for me and took it down from being an all-the-stars read to a middle-of-the-pack read. The premise was promising. Leah and McKenna have never met but somehow they have parallel lives - they have similar looks and are both intelligent, successful women, who live in similar neighborhoods, drive similar Lexus SUVs, etc., etc. Oh, and they both h Early reviews for this domestic suspense thriller are glowing, and for the first half of the book, I was in total agreement; but the second half fizzled out for me and took it down from being an all-the-stars read to a middle-of-the-pack read. The premise was promising. Leah and McKenna have never met but somehow they have parallel lives - they have similar looks and are both intelligent, successful women, who live in similar neighborhoods, drive similar Lexus SUVs, etc., etc. Oh, and they both have controlling, abusive husbands. After a chance encounter in a local liquor store, Leah becomes obsessed with McKenna and follows her home, and what she sees makes her keep coming back to keep an eye on her. During her watch one night, she sees something that pushes her over the edge, and she commits an act that will set the two women on a collision course that changes both of their lives forever. I thought the book started out strong - although I've said it before, I am not a fan of seemingly intelligent, successful women protagonists who are constantly under the influence of alcohol, drugs, etc., with memory lapses. It's such an overused trope. Still, the first half showed a lot of promise, as the plot was fast-paced, with alternating POVs from both past and present of Leah and McKenna. The women were so similar (and so much is made of that fact) that I was certain there was a diabolical twist - but there's not. Also, while I sympathized with each woman, I can't really say that I connected with either one of them for some reason. The second half of the book though was where the wheels fell off for me, as it was rather predictable with certain events that you could see coming but just didn't ring true. Also, the second half delves more into the police detective investigating the murder, and while I get that the detective was useful in moving the plot along, the book started becoming more of a police procedural, which was unnecessary and weakened the overall plot in my opinion. Although the ultimate theme was powerful, there were no real twists or surprises in the end and it all just fell a bit flat. Even with the flaws, it is still a solid debut from Murphy. Her author notes at the end are powerful and an important reminder of how common domestic abuse really is and how those in the middle of it need support.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    This book has been all over Bookstagram and I was definately intrigued. Once I picked it up I was completely enthralled and couldn't put it down. Despite the dark themes contained, the story was addictive and the characters fascinating. This is a fantastic debut novel from Nora Murphy and I look forward to seeing what she has for us next. 2 women, 2 homes. These women do not know each other but they will soon be connected forever. Leah and McKenna are in the same store at the same time one Friday This book has been all over Bookstagram and I was definately intrigued. Once I picked it up I was completely enthralled and couldn't put it down. Despite the dark themes contained, the story was addictive and the characters fascinating. This is a fantastic debut novel from Nora Murphy and I look forward to seeing what she has for us next. 2 women, 2 homes. These women do not know each other but they will soon be connected forever. Leah and McKenna are in the same store at the same time one Friday afternoon, and Leah immediately sees herself in McKenna. She becomes obsessed with watching this woman, and realises that they have more in common than anybody would wish for. These are both intelligent and strong women, who have been controlled and worn down by the men in their lives. One night, Leah will change everything for them both. This is a page turner that kept me awake way past my bedtime. A domestic suspense novel that is relevant and very well written. I felt the fear of these women, I felt their anger. Nobody knows what they would do in the same position. An absolute must read for lovers for thrillers. Thanks to MacMillan Australia for sending me an advanced copy to read. Publishes in Australia May 31st

  27. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    Once you get past the suspension of disbelief required to make this plausible, this is a very gripping novel that I can’t give you details about without giving things away. Basically: Two educated women have a lot in common and one of those things is that they both have dangerously controlling husbands. The women both also drink too much (Leah in particular), and a few times I was reminded of The Girl on the Train. You might not want to read this if you’re thinking of getting married or ever goi Once you get past the suspension of disbelief required to make this plausible, this is a very gripping novel that I can’t give you details about without giving things away. Basically: Two educated women have a lot in common and one of those things is that they both have dangerously controlling husbands. The women both also drink too much (Leah in particular), and a few times I was reminded of The Girl on the Train. You might not want to read this if you’re thinking of getting married or ever going on a date again. The book does cover important topics in an entertaining way, and I liked how the author managed to bring the ending to a satisfying conclusion. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel, which RELEASES MAY 31, 2022.

  28. 4 out of 5

    GirlWithThePinkSkiMask

    DNF because the relationship between McKenna and Zack hit a lil too close to my childhood..... It was giving me The Girl on the Train and The Woman in the Window. Alcoholic lady creeping others for fun and gets herself into some crap. DNF because the relationship between McKenna and Zack hit a lil too close to my childhood..... It was giving me The Girl on the Train and The Woman in the Window. Alcoholic lady creeping others for fun and gets herself into some crap.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jayne

    I should have done myself a favor and skipped "The Favor". The book's premise was strong: two intelligent and successful women in abusive relationships have a chance encounter with each other in a liquor store. After newbie author Nora Murphy establishes this premise, the book becomes extremely far-fetched. As the book progresses, it transforms into a dark fairy tale rather than a real-life rendition of a domestic abuse drama. To avoid spoilers, I will refrain from elaborating on why this book took I should have done myself a favor and skipped "The Favor". The book's premise was strong: two intelligent and successful women in abusive relationships have a chance encounter with each other in a liquor store. After newbie author Nora Murphy establishes this premise, the book becomes extremely far-fetched. As the book progresses, it transforms into a dark fairy tale rather than a real-life rendition of a domestic abuse drama. To avoid spoilers, I will refrain from elaborating on why this book took the word "unbelievable" to new levels. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a superb job with the book's narration. I enjoyed the author's domestic abuse commentary at the end of the book. 2 stars rounded up.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel the Page-Turner

    What a thrilling and thoughtful debut novel! I’ve been in a reading slump lately (thus why it looks like this book took me days to read, when it was actually quite quick) but this book definitely got me out of it, with a fresh and original domestic thriller. McKenna and Leah have very similar lives … they both live in a nice area, both are well-educated and successful in their professions, and both married monsters of men. Stuck in their lives, and their homes, only a chance encounter brings them What a thrilling and thoughtful debut novel! I’ve been in a reading slump lately (thus why it looks like this book took me days to read, when it was actually quite quick) but this book definitely got me out of it, with a fresh and original domestic thriller. McKenna and Leah have very similar lives … they both live in a nice area, both are well-educated and successful in their professions, and both married monsters of men. Stuck in their lives, and their homes, only a chance encounter brings them together. What happens next may bind these strangers for the rest of their life… Not much about the plot can be talked about, as this book has several spoilers, along with a few twists. Told from multiple points of view, you get the story of these two women, and how they ended up in their situation. This takes an intimately close look at domestic violence, while also entertaining the reader with the thrilling plot. Four stars for this very well-written book that kept me interested from the very beginning! (Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Nora Murphy, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review.)

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