cover image The Request

The Request

David Bell. Berkley, $27 (416p) ISBN 978-0-44000-089-1

One evening after work, happily married businessman Ryan Francis, the narrator of this tense if unsubtle thriller from Bell (Layover), runs into his best friend from college, Blake Norton, whom he hasn’t seen in some months. Blake, “Butch Cassidy crossed with Bluto from Animal House,” asks Ryan to break into his mistress’s house and retrieve certain items that could implicate him in the affair and wreck his forthcoming wedding. Ryan reluctantly agrees after Blake threatens to reveal the devastating secret Ryan has been hiding that could ruin everything he has worked so hard for. When Ryan breaks into the woman’s house he finds her dead. Then he gets a Facebook request on his phone from the dead woman. Has he been set up? He runs away when he hears police sirens. Bell keeps the twists coming, but unconvincing dialogue that too often telegraphs what’s going to happen next undercuts the suspense. Readers who don’t mind a high level of contrivance will best enjoy this action-driven effort. Agent: Laney Katz Becker, Massie & McQuilkin. (June)