Not Bad People: a story of friendship, secrets and well, a plane crash

Not Bad People Book Review

What is this about?: Aimee, Melinda and Lou have a friendship that has stood the test of time, and now on the even of a new year they let off sky lanterns with their resolutions. However, when the papers the next day show a plane crash happened the same time they let those lanterns loose, Aimee slowly beings to grow panicked that it’s their fault, Lou is more focused on her out of control kid and Melinda is focused on her company growing and going public. This provides a perfect storm of things that test their friendship. Big time.

What else is this about?: Blackmail, secret babies and friendship.


Three friends, thirty years of shared secrets, one impulsive gesture .. and a terrible accident. When friendship goes bad, someone has to pay. For fans of Liane Moriarty and Robyn Harding.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Three thirty-something women – Aimee, Melinda and Lou – best friends for decades, let off sky lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money. As the glowing paper bags float away, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck – or the start of a complete nightmare that will upend their friendships, families and careers.

The day after their ceremony, the newspapers report a small plane crash – two victims pulled from the wreckage, one a young boy. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games.

They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Not Bad People  introduces us to Aimee, Melinda and Lou who are three friends who have stuck by each other through thick and thin in their thirty years of friendship. However, the day after they release lanterns with their resolutions in them, there’s a report of a plane crash and Aimee becomes convinced they caused it. However, Melinda and Lou have issues of their own to deal with, and Aimee’s losing her shit isn’t helping.

Aimee, Melinda and Lou

Theirs is the friendship you hope you’re lucky enough to have someday. It’s the kind that endures, but it’s also the kind where they keep things from each other, truths they’d rather not share.

Aimee and Lou consider Melinda the driven one, and she is, but they also don’t consider her to be the motherly type — something Melinda never realised. Aimee is the one with the stable home life, but her husband was once in love with Melinda, and it becomes apparent things were never quite as settled between them as Aimee thinks. But Aimee’s anxiety over the plane crash begins to take over her life, to the point that she goes to infiltrate the investigation team at the crash site in an effort to learn more about what happened.

Lou is slowly losing control over her daughter, and when she threatens Tansy with Catholic boarding school she discovers that Tansy has repeated her history: she’s pregnant. So begins the telling of some long overdue truths between them, things Lou never realised. Naturally this consumes all her attention, even more so when it seems like the baby might have severe disabilities.

Melinda is the picture of success — her jewellery company is about to have its IPO, there are tons of people lauding her success, but when she overhears Aimee and Lou’s conversation about her, she begins to acknowledge that she doesn’t want to have a secret affairs, and she doesn’t want to settle for someone else. The idea of a baby presents a good PR opportunity for her, as much as she wants to prove to her friends that she is in fact mother-material. The reality is, as  we discover, more about proving to her father that she’s successful, more than her brother, who has always got the attention she wanted.

This is just the barest of rundowns about what these women go through, all against the backdrop of the impending investigation into the plane crash. What’s interesting and a great choice was that the author included time with the man who was in the crash, and his own issues with his family.

There seems like there’s a lot going on here, but the author skilfully weaves everything together, and infuses the story with the warmth of this friendship, but the anger and resentment too.

These are the things that linger, that do exist in the longest of friendships.

Overall, I flew through Not Bad People because it was so easy to relate to these women. Not Bad People is actually a pretty damned good book.


  • Kelly says:

    I love how deliciously complex this sounds and how each narrative is tied with another. Do you find out what caused the plane to come down? Really intrigued by this one. Brilliant review.

    • Verushka says:

      Yup, and there’s so much more to *that* and to say any more would be spoilers. There’s a lot going on here in terms of the characters involved, and I’m referring to more than just the three ladies. I was concerned as to how this was all going to come together but it did, and quite well I might add. The best thing though? Is how well these ladies know each other to support each other through thick and thin OR to hurt each other.

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I like the sound of this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • Lark says:

    We set off lanterns like that when I was in Thailand, but our guide had to clear it with the airport first. I guess so we wouldn’t cause any plane crashes. 🙂

  • Angela says:

    It does sound like a lot going on, but I’m glad the author was able to bring it all together in a cohesive way!

  • Ethan says:

    I guess you could say this one is “not bad” lol. I like the sound of the shifting perspectives to bring the drama together.

    • Verushka says:

      *lollll* Such a dad joke, Ethan! Still made me laugh! I liked that the despite there being different perspectives, these characters were all well written.

  • Elle says:

    I want to set lanterns out one day though I’m pretty sure it would be a huge fire hazard here. Great review of the book! Sometimes, I’m afraid that i’ll do something that may harm someone else accidentally. I also love books about best friends. My bestfriend and I have been friends for 13 years going onto 14 soon. Time sure flies!

    Elle Inked @ Keep on Reading

    • Verushka says:

      Oh wow, that’s a friendship to last a lifetime! These ladies know the best and the worst of each other, and I liked that the author wasn’t afraid to go there with them. (I think this book is a good warning against lanterns lol)

  • Oh that is so intriguing! That fear of accidentally causing an accident is so real ahh! It’s like a subconscious worry I have at the back of my head and this book sounds deliciously dark and complex! I need to read more thrillers like these!

  • I’m glad that the author wove all these different stories together so well. All three women sound fascinating, and I really like the overall premise.


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