A Friend Indeed

Image of A Friend Indeed
Release Date: 
May 14, 2024
Blackstone Publishing
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“How far would you go for a friend in need if it meant your life and liberty might come crashing down upon you?”

“Jo crawls over the bench and squats beside me. One sharp yank get the motor going. ‘I’ll drive,” she says tightly. ‘Move to the middle. And keep an eye out for debris.’

“I crawl to the central bench and sink down. Jo turns us toward shore. Distant lights twinkle. Wind catches my hair.

“It’s a relief to be moving, to flush my lungs with cold air.

“I pull my hands into my sleeves. I’m wet through and chllled. My teeth chatter. For some minutes, we ride in silence.

“’Dana?’ Although she’s driving slowly we’ve started to bounce again. Jo sounds ill.

“’Did you love him?

“I look back over my shoulder, toward my huddled friend and the black knuckles of islands. I find the spot we left Stan. I bite my lip, hard and spin the way we’re headed.

“’Yes. I still love him.’”

Two best friends, always there for each other. When Jo is fired from her job and her husband files for divorce, empties their bank account, and leaves her and their daughter homeless, she turns to Dana, married to Stan and living the life of an affluent wife in a ritzy subdivision in Texas. Dana is there for her, encouraging Jo to move back to Texas and gets her a job at the posh private school her children attend, even though Jo is without references.

So, of course, when Dana calls in the middle of the night needing help, Dana gets into her dilapidated car with her daughter and speeds over. But while Jo’s situation had been dire, the trouble Dana is in takes it to a whole other level. She killed her husband during a domestic assault. Stan, she tells Jo, has been abusive throughout their marriage and she was defending herself. Is that true? It’s difficult to know at first.

Dana has lived a life many women dream of—a handsome, filthy rich husband, a beautiful house, three children, and all the accoutrements that go with such a set-up. But Jo owes Dana big time and though she wants to call the police, Dana begs her to help dispose of the body.  So the two trundle Stan down stairs and into a boat, weigh the body down, and drop him in the water and then return to the house to scrub, hopefully, everything clean. Exhausted, Jo gets her sleeping daughter into the car to head home and accidentally blows a stop sign causing a speeding motorist to swerve and hit a pedestrian walking her dog. He speeds on but Jo stops and calls 911 though she knows it will tie her to a location near Dana’s home.

It is not a good evening any way you look at it, but what will happen next will  only get worse as Jo and Dana seem to be surrounded by vultures including malicious gossiping neighbors, zealous cops wanting to crack the case, and a blackmailer. Will the two women, who have known each other for 30 years, withstand all these external forces coupled with their own horror at what happened and what they’ve done?

Friendship is one thing but author Elka Ray, who was born in Canada, raised in the United Kingdom, and now lives in Central Vietnam, writes suspense novels, often with a touch of noir and poses intricate questions and situations. Her previous books include Divorce is Murder and Killer Coin. In her latest, A Friend Indeed, she asks, How far would you go for a friend in need if it meant your life and liberty might come crashing down upon you?