Happy Sunday! I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend. And since I’m writing this ahead of time, I hope I’m enjoying mine, too. LOL! Today I have a mystery/thriller to review for you. 🙂
It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.
Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”
In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.
Twisty, poignant, and redemptive, The Night Shift is a story about the legacy of trauma and how the broken can come out on the other side, and it solidifies Alex Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers.
I talked to my daughter at about the halfway mark of this book and told her I was enjoying it. I’d see myself giving it four stars. But, I had seen a lot of 4.5 and 5 star reviews, so I was hoping that things ramped up and that I’d get a good twist. I can happily report that while I did suspect the murderer, there was still a great twist that I didn’t see coming. I was super sad to see the death of a character, but very happy with the way the book ended.
Characters ~ The book gives you multiple third person POVs. I didn’t at all find it difficult to manage them, though. And their stories are woven together to create an interesting plot. I listened to the audiobook, so I did at first find it odd to have characters talking about themselves in the third person, but it was quickly forgotten.
Ella ~ Ella is the only survivor of a Blockbuster massacre that took place fifteen years ago. She’s now a therapist, but she’s also seriously struggling with her past.
Jessie ~ She’s the only survivor of an eerily similar murder in the present time. She’s recently moved to the area, and she’s a foster kid. There’s some sketchy stuff that happened at her previous school involving a teacher. And she’s been researching in depth the original murders.
Special Agent Keller ~ She’s an eight-month pregnant with twins FBI agent. Don’t let that fool you, though. She’s still pretty daring and super smart. Plus, she has the most supportive husband ever that thinks she’s a total rock star. Plus, she takes a young detective, Atticus, under her wing.
Chris ~ He’s the brother of the suspected murderer,Vince, of the Blockbuster case. Chris is now a lawyer. He believes he can prove his brother’s innocence if he could only find him. He suspects he knows how to do that. And there’s also their abusive father that comes into play.
This is one of those hard things to talk about in a mystery/thriller because it’s best being revealed as you read. I will say that you have the original set of murders that are greatly similar to the second set of murders that happen fifteen years later. You’re trying to figure out if Vince, the suspect that fled, was guilty and you now have a copycat, or is someone else responsible for the murders. And who? And each of the characters, besides Agent Keller, are each dealing with their own set of dramas. Although, I guess you could also throw Keller into the mix since she is about to pop out twins.
The characters are woven together, and there was a nice twist I didn’t see coming.
I enjoyed the first scene set at the Blockbuster Video store. It took me back. Other than that, I can’t say that the setting at any other point and time was particularly worth mentioning.
The Writing ~
I’ve seen some say that the first half dragged a little for them, but I didn’t find that to be the case for me. It certainly didn’t contain all of the excitement of the second half, but I was never bored, and the pacing never felt slow. I was intrigued from the start, and I still would have enjoyed the story if it didn’t contain all of the excitement in the second half.You do get some dual timelines with the story, but if you’re not a fan don’t worry because the vast majority of the story takes place in the present tense.
I was intrigued from the get go. And the final stages of the book I could often be seen covering my mouth as I gasped aloud. I was on the edge of my seat in the final showdown.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this book, and look forward to reading more from Alex Finlay! 4.5 Stars
Have you read any exciting mystery/thrillers lately? Have a rec for me?