Book Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

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NIght Before   Night Before

Publish Date: May 14, 2019

Never let a fool kiss you, or a kiss fool you.” — Joey Adams

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The night before…and the nightmare after.

Rosie and Laura are as different as two sisters can be. One is stable and has the perfect family. The other struggles to break free from her troubled past. When Laura disappears after going on a blind date, Rosie takes matters into her own hands.

But as Rosie begins to search for her sister, her greatest fears come to the surface. Could Laura be more of a danger than the stranger she meets or is the night before her last night alive?

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The story starts out with a run-of-the-mill premise: a girl gets ready for her first meetup with someone that she “met” on an online dating site. I’ve never tried online dating, but did you know that 49 million people have? Here are some interesting stats about it.

I was fooled by this run-of-the-mill premise for about five minutes. The story is much more than a typical first date. It pulled me in rapidly and delves into a mysterious, complex, and layered plot. The entire book is a dark, twisty, unexpected ride.

The tale is told by two adult sisters – Laura and Rosie. Laura narrates in the first person perspective and Rosie’s story is told in the third person. Their closeness is enviable and their roles are sibling-typical. Big sister Rosie is stable, sensible, and has a husband and a child; little sister Laura has a traumatic past, lots of ups and downs, unstable relationships, and psychological issues. Laura recently moved in with Rosie and her family after fleeing NYC because she was ghosted. Rosie is determined to help Laura move on, and helps her to set up an online dating profile and connect with a handsome man. But then Laura doesn’t come home after the date.

What happened to Laura? Has her past caught up with her? Is she in trouble, or causing trouble? Who is the predator, and who is the prey? The twists happen so fast and so often that every theory that I came up with was proven incorrect.

The book has some great thoughts on first dates and relationships:

“We make awkward small talk. It’s actually painful, reminding me of the distance we will have to travel to be more than strangers. And then I’m reminded of how desperately I need to make that journey, with someone, anyone. And it all feels hopeless.”

“So what is it about love between strangers? What makes two people who are not family, not blood, stay and not leave? Do they just decide to do it? Do they swallow down their misery at being together when they want to be apart?”

There are multiple unreliable narrators and I didn’t know which narrator reflected the most accurate account of the events. I pride myself on being a good judge of character, but these characters are not who they are portrayed to be and they kept me guessing. My first impressions of each character changed as more of their traits, habits, and personalities are revealed. Each character is hiding something, and what they are hiding changes in the story. I liked the surprises. The tension and suspense increase as the book progresses, which makes it hard to put down.

This story is about childhood memories, home, family, friendship, secrets, lies, betrayal, love, siblings, obsession, first dates, relationships, and mental health. This book is fast paced and I read it quickly. This book has one twist after another and they blew me away! I enjoyed the twists and it ended up where I didn’t expect it.

This is my first read of Wendy Walker’s books and now I’m compelled to seek out the others. Her writing style is unique, engaging, compelling, and very suspense driven.

If you like The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, or Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris, you’ll definitely like this book.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars 4 Stars

Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 thoughts

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