Monday, 16 June 2014

That Night

Author: Chevy Stevens
Genre: Suspense, Canadian author
Type: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: St Martin's Press
First Published: June 17, 2014
First Line: "Rockland Penitentiary, Vancouver April 2012 -- I followed the escorting officer over to Admissions and Discharge, carrying my belongings in a cardboard box - a couple of pairs of jeans, some worn-out T-shirts, the few things I'd gathered over the years, some treasured books, my CD player."

Book Description from GoodReadsAs a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to St Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  Don't you just love it when you find a book that utterly captivates you?  To the extent that you sneak off to find little snippets of time to read 'just a few more pages'?  That Night was that kind of book for me.  And then some.

I've read all of Chevy Steven's previous books, Still Missing and Always Watching and Never Knowing.  Still Missing has always been my favourite of hers with her second and third books not fairing as favourably with me.  But I had faith that she'd bring back her signature suspenseful writing and I'm glad I stuck with her because That Night is her best book to date.  Hands down.  It's been awhile since I've read a book that kept me so riveted, that had me so immersed in the lives of the characters and still kept me guessing.  I loved every minute of it.

I will not ruin any of the plot or suspense for those of you who haven't read this book.  But I will say that Ms Stevens expertly jumps from the past to present and helps the reader understand where Toni is coming from and why she does what she does.  I really felt connected to Toni throughout the book and felt that Steven's helped me get an insider's look into what it's like for a bullied, misunderstood teen as well as well as what it was like for Toni to go back to her small town as a parolee of such a personal and infamous crime. 

The pages of this book flipped (ok, Kindle clicked) effortlessly as I had to find out who killed Toni's sister.  I was a little surprised at how quickly I believed Toni's story and how easily got behind her because typically I'm a hard sell when it comes to getting behind a main character.  I will admit that there was a lot of stuff thrown at Toni during her life but it never felt overdone to me and even though I didn't agree with all of her actions they came off as believable.

Even the secondary characters were well fleshed out and, for the most part, authentic.  I will admit that some of the 'Mean Girls' were a bit clichéd but on the other hand we've all (sadly) known girls like that too.  The emotional consequences of the murder are also clearly shown in Toni as well as her poor parents who struggle to make sense of what has happened to their daughters.

This was definitely a page turner for me.  I found to be compelling, interesting yet disturbing with edge of your seat action -- which pretty much deems it a great summer read.

Highly recommended.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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