Since this review is about an ARC that comes out in May, I must disclose that I “won” it for free and am not being paid to review it.
The Night Before is the third novel by author Wendy Walker. I have not read her other books but if they’re anything like this one, then I’ll throw them on the ole list.
I’m going to keep this as spoiler free as possible since the book comes out in May, but if you’re interested in hearing more of my thoughts on it, leave a comment or two…maybe once it’s out, I’ll throw some spoilers on here.
The Night Before is told in alternating chapters of “The Night Before” and “The Present Day” with it mostly following two points of view: sisters Laura Heart and Rosie Ferro.
In “The Night Before” chapters, we follow Laura as she gets ready and then goes on a date with a man from a dating website. Walker consistently adds hints as to why she’s staying with her sister and successfully creates doubt both in Laura and in the reader as to who this man is and if we can trust him.
Laura consistently describes herself as “the girl with fists for hands,” which, in my opinion, is a great line and one of the good aspects of this story. It seems that all the main characters of thrillers/suspense novels have something they’re hiding or not remembering and Laura definitely has something she’s hiding–a past trauma.
Now, in “The Present Day” chapters, (SMALL SPOILER HERE) we follow Rosie as she discovers that Laura didn’t return from her date and that something doesn’t quite feel right about it.
I enjoyed The Night Before, it’s got a pretty solid plot but I wasn’t wowed by it. If I had to describe the exact feeling I experience when discovering the twist and then finishing the book, it would be whelmed. I thought that it only scratched the surface of the psychosis of the villain and why they were the way they were. I am that person who loves to sit and attempt to figure out the motivations of those who are considered to be psychologically and medically “disturbed.” Motivations fascinate me.
I wanted Walker to take it a step further, maybe add another chapter with the villain’s pov and really dive into their mind; it was if she had to rush through the ending only giving the bare essentials of the reasoning and motivations behind the actions. There was so much left out, however, that’s partly due to the fact the characters did the classic I’m-gonna-keep-the-information-to-myself-because-it-will-ruin-my-reputation explanation. Yes, this can be accurate for how people act and deal in certain traumatizing situations, but throw away your pride people! Or, better yet, write a character where they actually or sort of deal with a problem in a healthy way.
The Night Before has a good story that does create some great suspense for the reader. I would recommend it if you want a decent plot and somewhat solid twist and reveal.
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