Not Bad People, Brandy Scott

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

New Years Eve often involves some reflection, some celebration, and some odd goings on. For Aimee, Melinda and Lou, starting out their celebration with an illegal Chinese lantern ceremony. Filling each lantern with their own resolution, the women light them and they lift off, after which they soon notice a flare of fire in the distance. Was it lucky, or something very bad (and for this reader why the hell didn't they ring the fire brigade, or the police or do SOMETHING it's JANUARY IN AUSTRALIA for god's sake!)

The next day, and the discovery that the flare was a small plane crashing, and the women start to wonder. Aimee takes the blame, Melinda dismisses it as nothing to do with the lanterns, and Lou's got other things on her mind. Leading to a blow up between the three, their relationship overrun by guilt and obsession.

A slow burning psychological thriller, NOT BAD PEOPLE seems to fit in the chick-lit / thriller style of novel that's been around quite a bit lately. In this outing we have three women fitting into the categories of brave, over-privileged and whinging nicely, with their downfall the sort of poor decision that anyone could make at any moment in time (although to be fair it came as a timely reminder also of the differences between city and country living - December / January and a hint of smoke or flames in these parts leads instantly to a lot of Meerkat like behaviour and a leap for the phone).

NOT BAD PEOPLE is one of those psychological thriller / mistakes in the moment type novels that you can really see making book club lists around the place. There is much scope here for discussions about the differences between good and bad, the way that mistakes happen and the way that people recover or atone for those mistakes.


Year of Publication

Three friends, thirty years of shared secrets, one impulsive gesture .. and a terrible accident. When friendship goes bad, someone has to pay. For fans of Liane Moriarty and Robyn Harding.

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.

Review Not Bad People, Brandy Scott
Karen Chisholm
Thursday, August 27, 2020

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