Releasing March 1, 2022, Alex Finlay’s new thriller The Night Shift is a fast ride from cover to cover.
In 1999, four teenage girls are brutally attacked while closing up the local Blockbuster in Linden, New Jersey. Only one survives – by being stabbed 2mm to one side of her heart. The other three perish.
In modern day, four teenage employees at an ice cream shop in Linden are attacked. You guessed it – only one survived. The same phrase was murmured in the ears of the victims at both crime scenes: “Goodnight, pretty girl.”
The novel is told in many perspectives that converge at the end to reveal the final scene. We have Ella, the survivor of the Blockbuster murders, Chris, the brother of the man suspected of perpetrating the Blockbuster crimes who fled into the wind, and Keller, the FBI agent who is determined to find the perpetrator of both crimes. As the three navigate their way through different parts of the atmosphere and events surrounding the case, truths begin to emerge.
This is the twistiest thriller boasting the largest number of shocking reveals that don’t feel forced or over the top in content or number. Around every corner lies a juicy reveal, but it does not get to the point where the trick is cheap or uninteresting. When you think that must be it, there’s another.
The way that Finlay weaves the strands from each character together slowly throughout the novel is masterful and truly speaks to the writer’s abilities. This novel is such a thrill ride that I could not put it down and finished it within 12 hours of picking it up.
Ella as a character was the most compelling for me during the reading process as she must relive her trauma from the Blockbuster killings while trying to find answers for herself and for Jesse, the ice cream murders survivor. Trauma and its cycles were explored with nuance and care as we watch from the outside as people involved with the murders grasp for suspects and closure.
2022 is ripe with amazing new fiction and this will surely be much talked about on its release date, March 1st. I recommend this novel to fans of the thriller and horror genre as well as true crime fans. This novel is so human and speaks to the emotion of the reader while being an atmospheric masterpiece.(5 / 5)
If you want to check out The Night Shift, get it below!
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What Have We Done: Alex Finlay Produces Another Hit
- Jenna: A stay at home mom with a secret assassin past
- Donnie: An alcoholic rock star
- Nico: An executive producer of a reality television show
They all have a past, but who is out to get them?
Jenna, Donnie, and Nico share a troubled past. They were all orphans who lived at Savior House — which is much less savior, much more terror. When their friend Benny, a famous judge, is murdered and the FBI comes looking, Jenna, Donnie, and Nico must race against the clock to figure out who is targeting them.
From the author of The Night Shift, which I reviewed here, I would expect nothing less than what Finlay has delivered. Finlay notoriously creates stories with palpable thrill and spine-tingling revelations.
I particularly enjoyed the character of Jenna. She is a reformed assassin living a normal life as a new stepmom. When she is called in to make a hit and her family is threatened, she goes badass mom on ’em. While I still thought Donnie and Nico as characters were engaging, it was nothing for what I felt for Jenna.
Also, major props to Finlay for creating a character that kills with a very unique weapon. Read it to find out more!(5 / 5)
“The Writing Retreat” Gone Bad: Julia Bartz’s Debut
Keeping it all in the family, Julia Bartz’s The Writing Retreat is the debut novel of the sister of Andrea Bartz, author of We Were Never Here, which I reviewed here.
I was much more impressed with The Writing Retreat than I was We Were Never Here.
Five up and coming female writers under 30 are invited to a writing retreat hosted by the reclusive and acclaimed horror writer Rosa Vallo. Rosa reveals the details of the retreat: each writer must complete a full length novel from scratch over the next month. The best novel wins a multi-million dollar publishing deal with Rosa.
Suddenly, the retreat turns into a nightmare when one writer goes missing in the snowy terrain outside.
The novel hinges on friendships in turmoil and has a focus on LGBT+ representation as well as interpersonal female relationships. The novel explores the dark publishing world and the search for fame and the Great American Novel.
This novel is atmospheric and intellectual, page turning, and the English major’s required reading. I absorbed this novel and found Julia Bartz’s writing and conceptual chops to be leagues above her sister’s.
Ths novel releases on February 21, 2023 and it should be in your cart right now.(5 / 5)
Buy it here!
A Murder in Reverse: “Wrong Place Wrong Time”
“A brilliantly genre-bending, mind-twisting answer to the question How far would you go to save your child?” — Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Jen watches her son murder a stranger. Stab him to death. She and her husband, Kelly, watch as their son Todd is taken into custody.
The next morning, Jen wakes up and it’s yesterday. Jen knows that at the end of the night, her son kills someone. She is determined to stop it.
Jen goes further and further back in time trying to discover why Todd murdered a stranger and how to stop it.
This book is twisty. Right when you think you know the ending, something else is there to prove that the story is more multifaceted than that. While the premise of the novel is simple, Gillian McAllister elevates a simple concept with deep, dark twists.
It is best that you don’t know too much going into this one. For fans of Blake Crouch, this is such a good thriller with time travelling vibes.(4 / 5)