"A Perilous Pal" A Friend for Hire Mystery by Laura Bradford: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

After a little – ok a LOT – of nudging by her friend and first client Dottie Adler, Emma Westlake has set up a successful business being a for-hire professional friend. A former travel agent made obsolete by the growing use of online bookings, Emma has found that she is quite good at being a companion and the friend that her clients need. What newly separated Kim Felder needs is someone to bolster her self-esteem and self-worth, as her entire identity was centered on being a good wife and a good stay-at-home mother. She at least had enough gumption to read out to Emma after seeing her ad in the Sweet Falls Gazette, as without a friend or sympathetic ear Kim is at her wit’s end. Emma decides that Kim needs to make a bucket list of goals now that she’s free and single, and for Kim topping the dream list would be killing her husband in a multitude of creative ways. That is something Emma unfortunately shares with potential boyfriend Deputy Jack Riordan, who immediately uses that information when Roger Felder is found dead. While Kim was justifiably furious that her husband left her for the secretary who was about the same age as their marriage (30), the fact that she was therapeutically listing the ways she wanted to murder him also places her at the top of the suspect list.

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Image Source Berkley
Emma feels similarly betrayed that Jack used their discussions to aid in his investigation, but it doesn’t help when she also disregards his own experience and professionalism. It’s a good thing that the very clients who hire Emma for motivation and counsel are able to do the same for her, and Emma is able to stop herself from completely blowing up their potential romance. Eighty-something Dottie is also able to use her age and general pushiness to help them look further into Roger Felder’s life and the men and women who had reason to want him dead. And if Emma can do a little matchmaking while investigating a PR firm and other suspects, all the better.

This is the second in the series by the author whose works include the Emergency Desert Squad Mystery series, the Amish Mystery series, and mysteries written under the name Elizabeth Casey. A few of those characters are referenced here, but it’s really Emma and her clients who take center state. 

What is compelling is how Emma has become troubled by the ethics of being a paid companion, as after meeting her clients they usually become people she would choose to be friends with for free. It’s Dottie who helps Emma to focus on how good she has become at being what her clients need at the time, be it a therapist, a workout buddy, or simply someone to listen. Emma’s protectiveness over her clients is what propels her in the investigation, which very realistically concludes mostly off-stage and by the professionals. This is an entertaining mystery centering around a unique professional who helps those struggling with relatable life challenges. The focus on support, friendship, and sympathy make this a lovely and optimistic murder mystery.

To enter to win a copy of A Perilous Pal, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "pal,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 3, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
& Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. What an interesting idea. Professional friend. Thanks for the chance. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. "A Perilous Pal" A Friend for Hire Mystery by Laura Bradford sounds like a wonderful book for you - or your friend - to read!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  3. I need a "friend" so I can get to traveling
    again. sounds like a good read. thanks

  4. Strange occupation, but I read where it isn't that uncommon in Japan. Count me in!

  5. Cute cover, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

  6. Sounds good and I would love to win it! lindaherold999(@)gmail(dot)com

  7. Sounds like an excellent book!

  8. Love Laura Bradford's books. I haven't started this series yet. Looking forward to reading the book.

  9. Interesting theme for a series.

  10. Love this series!! Would be thrilled to win this!

  11. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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