The Dead Friend Project

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Pub Date 11 Jul 2024 | Archive Date 10 Jul 2024

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'A fresh new voice in crime fiction' - JANICE HALLETT 'A tragi-comic banger' - HARRIET TYCE 'Funny, sad, witty and very engaging' - EMMA CURTIS Everyone needs a hobby... Things haven't been going well for Beth. Her husband has left her for one of her friends. Her fellow school mums judge her for swearing too much and not shifting the baby weight. And now she's stuck in A&E after her son fell off the climbing wall on the first day of school. In fact, things haven't been going well for Beth since Charlotte died - her best friend, a favourite at the school pick-ups and the only person to ever run an interesting PTA meeting. But after being hit by a car while on an ill-timed evening jog, Charlotte is no longer there to help Beth pick up the pieces of her increasingly difficult life. That is, until Beth discovers that Charlotte left her toddler alone in the house during that fatal run. The Charlotte she knew would never do something so irresponsible, and suddenly Beth is questioning whether Charlotte's death was really an accident. With a newfound purpose and a glass of wine in hand, it's time for Beth to uncover what really happened to her best friend. And what better place to start than the circle of chatty school mums, who can't be as perfect as they pretend. But which of them is hiding something? Beth's determined to find out. Once she's put the kids to bed, of course... 'Darkly funny and deftly plotted' - ALICE CLARK-PLATTS 'Riotously funny and searingly observed' - KATE SIMANTS 'A twisty-turny mystery that drew me in from the opening lines' - PHILIPPA EAST

'A fresh new voice in crime fiction' - JANICE HALLETT 'A tragi-comic banger' - HARRIET TYCE 'Funny, sad, witty and very engaging' - EMMA CURTIS Everyone needs a hobby... Things haven't been going...

Advance Praise

'Delightfully shocking and irreverently funny' - Janice Hallett, author of THE APPEAL

'A pacey page turner, written in an enjoyably deadpan style' - Guardian

'Utterly unique and an absolute roller-coaster of a read' - Daily Mail

'Splendidly funny and buoyant [with] some deliciously ingenious twists... First-class escapist entertainment' - Daily Express

'Delightfully shocking and irreverently funny' - Janice Hallett, author of THE APPEAL

'A pacey page turner, written in an enjoyably deadpan style' - Guardian

'Utterly unique and an absolute...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781800811348
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

The Dead Friend Project by Joanna Wallace is a riotous read and an unexpected delight! I took to the synopsis right away and the thing I really liked about this book, is that you cannot put it in just one genre. Is it a mystery? A cosy? Womens fiction or Chick-lit maybe? It's all of these and more, it is well-rounded, runs at a great pace and is an absolute screamer of a mystery. To cap it all, it is witty and fun while still being honest and vulnerable to the circumstances.

Beth is having a bit of a rough time of things to put it mildly. She lost her Best friend recently, her husband has b*ggered off with another one of her friends, the school run is a nightmare because she just doesn't meet the standards of the other mums and now her son has managed to play daredevil and have an accident on the first day of the new term

However, on top of all of this, Beth has a niggle at the back of her mind in respect of the circumstances of her Bestie Charlottes death, they just do not add up. Charlotte would never leave her baby home alone while she went for a jog, was it really an accident that caused her to be hit by a car. What really happened and where to begin? The mums. The hive of gossipping mums that's where

Joanna Wallace creates an outstanding mystery with just the right amount of humour and drama and every shade of relatability you can imagine. Brilliant!

Thank you very much to Netgalley, Serpent's Tail / Viper / Profile Books, Viper and the author Joanna Wallace for this outstanding ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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One of the best books i have read for a long while! A dark and at times tear jerker which also had me laughing out loud. Work that one out? I really thought i had it all worked out until the very end. This would make a great film, i loved every minute of it and i can see me reading it again at some point.
Am off to find some more from this author.
My thanks to netgalley and the publisher for my copy.

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This was a gripping read, I thought the characters were intriguing and I'm going to keep an eye out for more from this author.

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A gripping novel with well-defined characters. Beth's life has spiraled out of control. Her best friend was killed in a car accident. Her husband has been having an affair with another of her so-called friends and she still has a lot of extra weight after having her third baby. She has nothing in common with the other yummy mummies at the children's school. She drowns her sorrows every night with wine and it sets her thinking. "Surely Charlotte wouldn't have left her young child at home to go for a run?" Was it in fact an accident or deliberate?

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I always enjoy stories about toxic friendships, and this book gave me Janice Hallett meets Jane Fallon vibes.

I was pulled in right from the first page. Beth is a witty character who I couldn't help but warm to. Yes, she's flawed and arguably an unreliable narrator (which I LOVED) - mainly because she spends a lot of her time drunk, and who can blame her? Beth has been through a lot. She's lost her friend and been let down by those around her. I couldn't fail to warm to her spirit, unflinching loyalty and determination. I found the other mums intriguing and a reflection of the many personalities you'd find at the school gates. The mystery side was weaved brilliantly, with enough red herrings to keep me wondering and guessing right until the end. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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I really enjoyed this one. It's a wonderful blend of mystery, obsession, and humour. Beth is really the most perfect character to spend time with - fabulously flawed but completely addictive - and her view on life, and the playground mums she has come to know over the years, really did make me chuckle. She observant, acerbic, and all too often fuelled by a bottle (or two) of the vino, and she doesn't hold back - even if most of her commentary is in her head. I liked her. Worried for her too, but mostly just found her entertaining.

This is her story - sort of - her quest to discover what really happened to her best friend Charlotte who died having been hit by a car. Whilst out on a run. At night. With her young son left alone in the house. Because that's the kind of thing a loving mother does, right? Yeah, Beth didn't think so either, especially not when the mother in question was super-mum, Doctor, PTA planner extraordinaire, and all round good egg, Charlotte. A chance meeting with another mum at the hospital plants a seed of doubt in Beth's mind, which soon takes root, leading her to vow to find out the truth about that fateful night. and what a series of twists and turns her investigation takes. It makes for amusing reading for us, and less than comfortable interrogations for Beth's group of friends.

I love the way in which Joanna Wallace has framed this story. One one hand, we are faced with a very valid question. What would make a devoted mother leave her son to go running in the middle of the night. There are plenty of seeds of doubt planted in our own mind as they author explores aspects of the story that remain hidden to Beth, at least at the start, and left me wondering just what the truth might be. As with any group of friends and school gate acquaintances, there are plenty of half truths shared, and suppositions made, and given that our assessment of the other mums is very heavily clouded by Beth's first person internal monologue, it casts doubt over each of them in turn, even down to a brand new to the school mother who couldn't (maybe) possibly have been around when Charlotte died ... Then again, given what we learn about Beth, it was often hard to trust her judgement and therefore her testimony of what was really going on in the friendship group.

There are many twists, turns and surprises along the course of this book, but more than the occasional moment where I found myself chuckling along. Some of Beth's observations were hilarious, and pretty much the kind of comment I may make myself if faced with similar kinds of personalities, at least in my head, and for me without the aid of alcohol. I did feel for Beth though, and understood her turning the wrong way for support. It's safe to say that she has a very complicated home life, and this is explored with warmth, humour and compassion by the author throughout the course of the book.

Do we ever find out what really happened to Charlotte? Well read the book yourself to find out. I have my own views on what the truth might be but those closing chapters are both emotional and witty and made the perfect ending to a truly entertaining and attention stealing book. Definitely recommended for folks who like a subtly light hearted mystery with an emotional core, a nod to mental health challenges, and a whole host of laughs along the way.

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Fantastic read thoroughly enjoyed it from start to end! A great second book!

A must read book!

Thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the story, EXCELLENT!

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Another great, witty, dark book from Joanna Wallace, with a lot of heart and emotion.

This book centres on Beth whose best friend, Charlotte died and her husband left her for her best friend on the same day, since then her life has been spiralling and she's lost her way and feeling lonely as she no longer has her mum friends to turn to.

It's a fabulous book that keeps you guessing as Beth goes on the hunt for who killed her best friend. Everyone else accepts Charlotte's death as a tragic accident, but once Beth starts asking questions the more the details don't sit right with her, the only problem is she's trying to solve the crime after a bottle (or two) of wine and can't decipher her own drunken notes, making it harder to piece together the facts.

Joanna Wallace's character's are believable, relatable and beautifully written and described. I laughed, cried and was hooked by this book.

Thank you very much to Netgalley, Serpent's Tail / Viper / Profile Books, Viper and the author Joanna Wallace for this ARC.

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Beth has struggled to come to terms with the accidental death of her close friend Charlotte. A casual remark made by another mother at the school gates makes Beth wonder if the death was an accident.

The Dead Friend Project by Joanna Wallace is hilarious from beginning to end. The opening chapter, in which lead protagonist Beth goes to the primary school to collect her children, reminded me so much of the TV series “Motherland” and the “Why Mummy……” books. The young children have no filter, their chatter is incessant and they say the wrong thing at the worst possible time. The other mothers seem to fit the “yummy mummy” mould and their perfection is something Beth constantly measures herself against – and always comes up lacking.

The leader of the mummy mafia is Emily, she is condescending and judgemental, one of those people who make parenting a competition, and their child always has to be the best. Thankfully, Beth discovers that one of the new mothers has a similar sense of humour to her and forms a new friendship.

Friendship is what Beth needs having recently lost her two closest friends, Jade and Charlotte. Beth’s husband has left her and moved in with Jade, while Charlotte was knocked down by a car and killed outside her home. Depression and low self-esteem have left Beth hiding from the world, unable to fill the void left by her friends.

It’s a casual comment made by one of the mothers at the school gate that sets Beth’s mind racing. She begins to question if Charlotte’s death was truly an accident or was someone else involved. With her young children spending the night with their father, Beth begins her investigation. The problem is all her best thinking is done when she has a bottle of wine (or two, or three). Waking the following morning Beth feels very hungover, hasn’t a clue what happened the night before, and can’t make sense of her own notes, but as each day passes, she’s more and more convinced of her assumption.

Beth’s obsession has her lurching from one disaster to the next, leading to some comical situations. One scene in particular, featuring Wilfred the labrador, had me both cringing and laughing at the same time. I was making assumptions, just like Beth, as I read, thanks to lots of red herrings from Joanna Wallace.

As we near the truth, Beth has to deal with some personal demons. Help also comes from a surprising source, reminding her that appearances can be deceptive and situations manipulated.

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"The Dead Friend Project" by Joanna Wallace, and I have to say that it's been a riotous read from start to finish! I was drawn in by the blurb, which promised a mystery that would keep me guessing until the very end. And boy, did it deliver!
What I loved most about this book is that it defies categorization. Is it a mystery? A cosy? Women's fiction or chick-lit? It's all of these and more, and it's expertly woven together to create a story that's engaging, suspenseful, and utterly addictive.
At the centre of the book is Beth, a woman who's having a rough time of things. Her husband has left her for Jade, one of her friends, her best friend Charlotte died in a car accident, and she's struggling to come to terms with her own identity and purpose. But as she delves deeper into the mystery of Charlotte's death, she begins to uncover secrets and lies that threaten to destroy everything she thought she knew.
The author has done an incredible job of creating a cast of characters that are both relatable and flawed. Beth is a brilliant protagonist, with her witty internal monologue and acerbic observations about the people around her. And the supporting cast is just as well-drawn, with each character adding their unique voice to the story.
The mystery itself is expertly crafted, with twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. But what sets this book apart is its tone - it's equal parts humorous, dramatic, and honest. The author tackles tough topics like mental health and relationships with warmth and compassion, and the result is a story that's both entertaining and thought-provoking.
Overall, I'm thoroughly impressed with "The Dead Friend Project". It's a gripping novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. If you're looking for a book that's engaging, suspenseful, and just plain fun, then this is the one for you.

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An absolutely brilliant book by Joanna Wallace. A genuine triumph in story telling.
We're introduce to Beth, mother of two young boys and a toddler. Every day she's doing the school run, meeting with her friends in the playground who are quite the cast of Characters. There's Emily, the self proclaimed leader of the group,who has to organise everything and have the highest achieving children. There's Danielle, who clings to Emily's coat strings, always offering to help. Clever Fara who is always so calm and knowledgeable, using very long words to express her intelligence. Finally, Ana, who's recently moved into Beth's old best friends house, Charlotte, who died last year after getting hit by a car.
Following Beth's best friends death, her husband left her for her close friend Jade.
Beth's life should be in turmoil, but she's putting on a brave face. Chatting to her playground friends,she hears a comment regarding her friend Charlotte's final night on earth which makes her wonder if her death really was an accident.
As Beth investigates, she's trying to organise playdates which just don't compare to her friends, who she's sure are silently judging her. Nothing is quite so competitive as parents comparing children.
The story is a great blend of hilarious and tragic characters who can have us laughing out loud, feeling exasperated, angry and crying along with them.

You'll feel sorry for Beth and outrage at her behaviour in this incredibly well written, clever and beautiful story.

I received a free review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest unedited feedback

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Completely binge-worthy and perfectly executed! The storyline centres around the unlikeliest project. I could not put this book down, with its laidback witty writing style and jaw dropping twists!!!! I’ve already ordered Joanna’s other book ‘You look better as a ghost’ to read next.

Perfect for those who enjoy:
- Laugh out loud books
- Compulsive reading
- Jaw dropping twists
- A woman on a mission fiction

With thanks to Viper books and Netgalley for an ARC copy in return for an honest review.

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OMG, Joanna Wallace has hit it out of the park again. Beth’s life is in free fall - her best friend Charlotte was killed a year ago and on the same night her husband left her for her other best friend Jade. With three small children and the ‘perfect’ playground mums to cope with Beth is struggling until she suddenly realises that Charlotte‘s death wasn’t an accident and Beths life suddenly has focus as she attempts to find out what happened. I just love this novel and couldn’t put it down. The characterisation is spot-on and I laughed so much at the authors dark humour. The playground politics are surely played out in many schools around the country and I certainly met mothers just like these. No more spoilers but just run out and buy this novel. I’ve also been fortunate enough to listen to the audio of the novel and the narrator. Imogen Church is just brilliant and her narration and characterisation brings the novel to life. I can’t wait for more from this author and recommend her previous novel. You’d look better as a Ghost. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advanced, copy and audio of this novel in return for an honest review.

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Once again Joanna Wallace has given us an incredible read. Quite how she manages to blend dark sinister elements and side splitting humour is just a talent. The mystery of Beth’s best friend Charlotte’s death is at the centre of this story. Everyone believes it was an accident except Beth. She can’t accept that Charlotte would have behaved the way everyone claims she did the night of her death. So Beth sets out to prove that there’s been some mistake and it wasn’t accidental. But Beth’s life isn’t easy either since her husband’s ran off with her other best friend Jade. Then there are the other mums, so perfect in Beth’s eyes, and the new family who moved into Charlotte’s house. Still, in spite of all this, Beth is determined to find out the truth and so begins her new project. The school mums are just brilliant: anyone who’s spent time in the school playground will recognise them. The school politics are just hilarious. The mystery of what happened kept me guessing throughout, and just when I’d think I’d worked it out, in would come another twist. Such a clever book! I can’t wait for more from Joanna.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Serpent’s Tail, Viper Books for an arc in exchange for a review.

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Wow, what a fantastic book this was- my first from Joanna Wallace and definitely won’t be my last. I absolutely loved Beth, she was so funny and the kind of school mum friend I would have loved to have when my boys were younger.

The book follows Beth as she navigates school run life after her friend Charlotte dies whilst also dealing with her husband leaving her for her best friend.

One day something is mentioned about Charlottes death on the playground which doesn’t add up to Beth. She then goes on a mission to find out what really happened to Charlotte with the help of wine, except she can’t quite work out what she has written under the influence.

This book will have you laughing and crying and also thinking you’ve worked out what’s happening to then be proved wrong! Highly recommend!

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