NYE, 1999, with fears of Y2K looming, there’s a gruesome murder of 4 teenage employees at a Blockbuster Video store, along with the manager. There is one lone survivor. A suspect is identified, but he is released and never seen again.
15 years later, another mass killing, this time at an ice cream parlor. Four teens are dead, and once again there is a lone survivor.
In both murders, the killer whispers: “Goodnight, pretty girl.” Hardly a coincidence.
The story is told from 3 POV: Public defender Chris, the brother of the original suspect, Ella, the survivor of the Blockbuster tragedy who is now a therapist, and Sarah Keller, the FBI agent who is investigating the cases.
How these characters intersect with one another makes for a fast-paced story, one where the pages practically turned themselves. The short chapters helped build momentum and the story line hooked me immediately. The murders happen off the page, so sensitive readers need not worry.
Be aware this is one where it’s best to not question things too deeply and just go along for the wild ride. I got a little lost a few times, but the author expertly wove the different threads together in a compelling way. Even if you guess the culprit, as my reading buddy Marialyce did, there are still surprises in store. There were coincidences to accept, a few threads left unanswered and the ending was OTT. Yet, we both thoroughly enjoyed it!
I’m not sure why the author chose to make agent Keller 8 ½ months pregnant – with twins. Nurse Jan turned a skeptical eye, not buying it. While it’s possible to carry twins to 40 weeks, it’s rare, and the mother-to-be can barely walk across the room, let alone perform the badass feats Sarah Keller did. But she’s such a likable character, along with her Husband of the Year, Bob, that I overlooked it
Anyone who follows my reviews knows I have a low tolerance for implausibility, so the fact that I enjoyed this one is a compliment to the author. It was a fun ride and I was entertained from the first page to the last. I had both the e-book and the audio, and ended up preferring the audio. The narration was perfect and I raced through it in 24 hrs. I can’t wait to see what this author does next.
Totally worth the read!
“All these years, he was a monster in plain sight”
This was at totally enjoyable thriller and one that had me turning the pages quickly seeing if I could figure out who was the killer. It was propulsive and the short chapters made it more so.
A terrible occurrence in Linden New Jersey, in 1999, begins our story and the author takes us into the killings of young girls working in a Blockbuster store. There was one survivor and with the suspect on the run, we have no conclusion to this heinous killing of three young girls.
We jump to the present, fifteen years from the original killings. This time the murders take place in an ice cream store, with once again a lone survivor. The parallels are undeniable and the non-apprehended suspect of the first murders is once again a suspect as a repeat killer.
The author introduces the characters of the past as well as the intermingling of the characters of an FBI agent, the brother of the suspect, and the girl who survived the current murders. This was a very clever technique of joining the old with the new and created a wonderful game of clue that kept on changing the players.
There is a lot going on as the reader’s eyes are focused on one person after another. Along with that, there is the meetings of the families, the people who lost children, the father of the suspect, and the lives that were tragically upended because of the craze of the killer.
I enjoyed this story read with my friend, Jan. We were looking for a well-done thriller and in this story our hopes were recognized. Definitely one I recommend and am glad Alex Finlay has written another book that maintained my interest from start to finish.
Thank you to Alex Findlay, Minotaur Books and NetGalley for this riveting story, published on March 1, 2022
And as a guest reviewer, here is Dorie’s review:
I think I feel a bit differently about this book than some other reviews that I’ve read. For me I felt as though the first half of the book was much more slowly paced than his last novel. In Every Last Fear, the beginning started with a bang and just kept building. For me, this one was a bit of a slower start.
Mr. Finlay’s strengths are many; I love the time and place where this novel was set. The beginning brings a sense of deja vu for anyone old enough to remember the fear of Y2K and how the world was going to literally shut down, computers wouldn’t know how to update, etc etc. It really was quite a fierce buildup TO AN ABSOLUTELY NON-EVENT!!!!
The author is very clever at bringing in twists at a consistent pace while saving the most surprises for later in the book. His writing is excellent and there was no problem with the two timelines, I thought they were clearly defined and easy to separate.
I loved that he chose some really intelligent, hard working and industrious women to advance the plot and be involved in the investigation. HIS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT IS VERY GOOD!!
BRIEF HIGHLIGHT OF THE PLOT: In 1999, New Year’s Eve, there is a murder in Linden, New Jersey, a town not used to a lot of violence. Four teenagers were brutally attacked at the local Blockbuster Video, only one survived.
Now about 15 years later, there is another tragic murder. Same town, this time at the Dairy Creamery. Teenagers are brutally murdered with again a lone survivor. This one also took place during THE NIGHT SHIFT!!
Because the crimes are very similar, both involved teenagers in the same town, there seems there must be a connection right? Why this town? Why always teenagers? Why now, 15 years later??
The novel is told from two perspectives. FBI agent Keller and public defender Chris. They will investigate the possible connection and of course, try to find out WHO THE KILLER, OR KILLERS ARE!!!!!!
Vince Whittaker was arrested for the Blockbuster murder but set free on bail, never to be seen again!!
In the present Jesse Duvall is the survivor of the ice cream parlor massacre. She won’t talk to the police. She requests someone that has gone through a similar experience. She wants to speak to Ella, a therapist now, who was the survivor of the Blockbuster attack.
The second half of the book was more enjoyable and exciting for me. I felt that the pace picked up, I got to know the characters better and things started to come together.
In this novel there are some unanswered questions and coincidences that were a little hard to believe. I also had a hard time picturing Agent Keller, 8 ½ months pregnant with twins doing some of the things that she did!!
All in all this was a great thriller, well written that I can definitely recommend and I look forward to Mr. Finlay’s next novel!!
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. It was a pleasure to read and review this title.