For the Best

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by Vanessa Lillie

You’ll have to slog through gallons of alcoholic denial and delusion before this story begins to hook you.

The morning after the foundation that Juliet Worthing-Smith heads announces its first genius grant recipient, the police knock on her door.

They have an object they want her to identify. It was found next to the body of a man murdered in the alley of a nearby bar.

Juliet has a massive hangover but she can identify the object: it’s her own wallet. She also recognizes the name of the victim, Dr. Terrance Castle; his partnership with the foundation was announced at the gala the night before.

While other people remember Juliet and Terrance together in the bar near where he was murdered, the evening is a total black out for Juliet.

Almost immediately, Juliet is asked to take an unpaid leave of absence from the foundation. Dez Castle, Terrance’s widow, has turned her husband’s project into a legacy for his memory and all but accuses Juliet of killing him.

With an alcoholic’s grandiosity, Juliet decides the only way to clear her name is to find the killer herself. She turns to social media to build support and recruit witnesses.

Here, she’s following in the footsteps of her alcoholic father Louis. Some 20 years earlier, he  accidentally killed a young Latino boy while driving under the influence in their neighborhood. He avoided a manslaughter conviction when his attorney suggested the boy was casing the neighborhood for places to burgle.

Louis, who created the Poe Foundation, was dismissed from any association with it and eventually from his university position. He now runs a program distributed through social media channels that spews conspiracy theories and anti-authority screed through the internet. His thousands of fans applaud his theories.

Not soon enough, this murder mystery comes to a startling end. By then, however, Juliet has proven herself to have an enormous sense of entitlement and a willingness to throw anyone and everyone who gets in her way under the bus.

Slick and shallow, I can’t even recommend this book as a beach / pool / vacation book unless you’re a teetotaler. It destroys all taste for adult beverages.

About the Author: Vanessa Lillie

Originally from Miami, Oklahoma, Vanessa Lillie now lives in Rhode Island with her husband and son.

She spent 15 years in marketing and communications before turning to writing fiction.  Her first published book was LITTLE VOICES (2019). FOR THE BEST, her second novel, was published in 2020.

She studies English at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO, and earned a master’s of public administration degree from American University.


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