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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Favor (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Nora Murphy
Author Nora Murphy went to law school in Washington DC, then she worked as a judicial law clerk before she transitioned to private practice. During law school, she participated in these two clinics through which she studied and represented the issues that survivors of intimate partner violence face.

Nora, as a practicing attorney, writes as much as she is able to, typically well before the sunrise or while she is on her phone for short, quick moments when inspiration strikes her.

She lives in Maryland with her son, her husband, and five rescue pets. When she is not busy working, writing, or chasing her kid around, she can be found pondering and contemplating her next ice cream run or simply reading.

“The Favor” was inspired by the work she did during law school. She did these clinics working with survivors of intimate partner violence. If you do a clinic as a law student, you can get certified to represent people in court. There are also some research components to this. So she did these two that involved victims of intimate partner violence, and for one, she had to write this research paper.

The topic that she chose to write about was professional abusers, which are people with high levels of affluence or education, who have this special training that they use in their careers, and how they will then use that to inflict abuse, conceal it, and the effect it has on their survivors.

In her paper, she explored the different ways licensing regulators or authorities can punish or even prevent these people from being able to do that. For the novel, Nora was kind of inspired by these types of survivors and by telling their stories. People may not believe it happens so much in highly educated or affluent households, however what Nora wound up learning through writing the research paper is it definitely can happen. Which can present unique challenges for survivors. It may appear as though they had access to the means and resources to escape, but they don’t.

It isn’t just that Leah and McKenna lead parallel lives, but that they’re secret, too. She finds this doubly interesting, that they’re living these seemingly perfect existences in what seem to be pleasant neighborhoods close by to one another, while their realities are much different.

It is just a chance encounter that brings them closer together, a feeling that Leah gets when she sees McKenna which causes Leah to follow her, and Leah learns that this woman that’s been living roughly a mile away from her all this time has got so much in common with her. Another intriguing concept to Nora is that these two women felt alone in their suffering and experiences, but they aren’t.

Nora likes reading crime fiction, thrillers, and domestic fiction almost exclusively. Her all time favorite author is Patricia Highsmith, and Nora loves everything Patricia’s written. “The Favor” was inspired by “Strangers on a Train”. She loves Laura Lippman, too, who grew up close to where Nora herself did. Laura’s novels are riveting, and Nora loves how she writes. She is a Marylander too, so Nora enjoys the settings of her novels, and recognizing the landmarks and localities. Some other favorites and auto-buy authors include Shari Lapena, Alafair Burke, and Gilly Macmillan.

“The Favor” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2022. Nora Murphy’s gripping debut domestic suspense novel explores with depth and compassion what can happen when women that are pushed right to the limit take matters into their own hands.

Leaving would be dangerous, while staying could be even worse.

McKenna and Leah have parallel lives, despite never having ever met.

They do not—ever—find themselves taking the same train carriage, nor do they ever meet accidentally at a coffee shop or at the gym. They do not—ever— acknowledge to one another that even though their lives have all of the trappings of success, happiness, and wealth, they are, in fact, trapped. They do not—ever—discuss any of their issues and find some common ground.

Leah understands that what is inside a home can truly be more dangerous than what is outside. Driving past McKenna’s house this one night, she sees what she knows much too well herself from her marriage: McKenna’s “perfect” husband is not at all like he appears to be. She decides she will keep her eye peeled for McKenna, until this one night that she intervenes.

McKenna and Leah have never met before. But they will now.

This is a beautifully written yet also chilling look behind the curtain of relationships gone horribly wrong, and the terrifying consequences of what can happen when wronged women fight back. It’ll have you questioning the lengths that you would go to save somebody else, even though it is really you that is the one that needs the saving. Readers were transfixed by McKenna and Leah and the deftly woven plot which connects the two of them. Nora is an author to watch with this debut. Each woman has an incredible stressful storyline and you’ll enjoy reading from their own point of view thoroughly.

Nora’s writing is immediately engaging, and the insights into domestic abuse were spot on, and she dives deep into all of the psychological and emotional damage that is caused by domestic abuse. She also highlights how easily the manipulation, intimidation, and dominance can often get masked as love. She handles all of the domestic violence with great thoughtfulness and care. The obsessive nature of these characters had readers on edge for much of the novel. The novel is easy to read with a page turner of a plot. McKenna and Leah are strong, intelligent, and caring woman that are so very easy to sympathize with and resonate with.

Readers found this to be a devious, intense, riveting, and alluring character-driven thriller novel, with complex, resolved, and troubled characters. This plot unravels rather quickly into an unnerving story of obsession, power, domestic abuse, secrets, control, jealousy, unlikely friendships, and murder. This is a brave, dark, unsettling, and compassionate read.

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