“We all have a friend from our past who is a lot of fun when we’re young but when we get older
and get settled that person is someone you want to leave behind,” says David Bell, explaining the idea behind his latest mystery-thriller The Request (Berkley 2020; $11.99—Amazon price). “And I wondered what would happen if that friend showed up and even more if that friend knew something about you that one else knows.”
That’s what happens to Ryan Francis. Years ago, Ryan was involved in a car accident that left a
young girl seriously injured. It was his fault his best friend Blake Norton tells Ryan after he wakes up in the hospital, the memory of the accident completely gone.
Since that time, Ryan has rebuilt his life, marrying, starting a successful business and is now the
father of a young child. He also carries the guilt of knowing he’s harmed someone and has stealthily left large sums of money in the girl’s mailbox to help with her ongoing medical expenses.
But things are coming undone. The girl’s sister confronts Ryan, demanding a large amount of
cash or else she’ll reveal the truth. But she’s not the only one wanting something from Ryan. Blake is
back and he needs a big favor—break into his ex-girlfriend’s home and steal letters Blake wrote her that she’s threatening to show his current fiancé. And though Ryan refuses, Blake won’t take no for an answer. If Ryan won’t get those letters then Blake will reveal the truth of what happened all those years ago.
It’ll be easy, Blake assures him. But, of course, it’s not. Letting himself into the house when
Blake’s ex is supposed to be at yoga class, Ryan can’t find the letters—they’re not where Blake said
they’d be. But much, much worse, the Blake’s ex never left the house to go to yoga. Ryan stumbles across her body—she’s been murdered. And at the same instant, his phone lights up, the woman lying dead at his feet has just asked him to become her Facebook friend.
Blake disappears, stealing Ryan’s laptop, a strange man tries to break into their home while his
wife and baby are there by themselves and the police zero in on Ryan—and his wife–as a possible
suspects. It seems that others besides Ryan and Blake have their secrets as well.
“Even the person closest to you has a secret they don’t want you to know,” says Bell. “I think
we’ve all had the experience of thinking we know someone really well but people can still surprise us, no matter what.”
DAVID BELL is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author whose work has been translated into multiple foreign languages. He’s currently an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he directs the MFA program. He received an MA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a PhD in American literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. His novels include Layover, Somebody’s Daughter, Bring Her Home, Since She Went Away, Somebody I Used to Know, The Forgotten Girl, Never Come Back, The Hiding Place, Cemetery Girl, and The Request.