Title: The Night Before by Wendy Walker
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 316 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Riveting and compulsive, national bestselling author Wendy Walker’s The Night Before “takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go” as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control.
Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.
Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.
When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…
The Night Before by Wendy Walker is a tension-filled, suspenseful mystery.
Following a crushing break-up, twenty-eight year old Laura Lochner moves in with her sister Rosie Ferro, brother-in-law Joe and nephew Mason. Returning to her small hometown is not easy, but Laura is trying to make the best of things under difficult circumstances. Against Rosie’s advice, Laura signs up for an online dating service and she is going on her first date with Jonathan Fields. When Laura fails to return home, Rosie enlists Joe and their close Gabe Wallace to try to locate her sister. What, if anything, has happened to Laura? And more importantly, where is she?
Laura has never recovered from the emotional pain of her parent’s divorce. Her history of choosing the wrong man dates back to her first boyfriend in high school. That relationship ended under a cloud of suspicion which is why she rarely returns to her hometown to visit. Following her devastating break-up, Laura’s makes a fateful decision to move in with Rosie while she tries to figure out what comes next. She is enjoying reconnecting with Rosie, Joe and Gabe and she is thrilled to have unlimited access to her nephew. Laura’s heart is broken but she is determined to find a man to share her life with. But will she be able to break her habit for choosing men who are emotionally unavailable? Can Laura trust that Jonathan is telling her the truth about himself?
Due to what happened with Laura’s first boyfriend, Rosie is extremely reluctant to involve the police when her sister fails to return after her date. Luckily, Gabe has the expertise and connections that help them search for Laura. However, after their efforts fail to locate her, Rosie has no choice but to contact the police. To her dismay, they do not take her disappearance too seriously. Rosie then becomes frantic about Laura’s safety but is she prepared for the information she is about to unearth?
Written in first person, Laura’s chapters are quite compelling as she tries to figure out if she can trust her intuition about Jonathan. Interspersed with both her and Rosie’s chapters are intriguing snippets of her interactions with therapist Dr. Brody. These short chapters provide a heartrending portrait of Laura’s attempts to understand why she inevitably selects the wrong man. Armed with a better understanding of herself and her motives, Laura attempts to apply this insight to her observations, feelings and gut instincts about Jonathan.
The Night Before is an absolutely riveting psychological mystery that is fast-paced and quite fascinating. Laura’s self-doubt during her date is absolutely heartbreaking since she is unable to completely trust her own judgment. Rosie’s frenzied search for Laura takes a twist-filled turn that makes her wonder if she knows her loved ones as well as she believes. Wendy Walker skillfully keeps readers guessing what happened to Laura as she brings this mesmerizing novel to a jaw-dropping conclusion. I highly recommend this clever mystery to fans of the genre.