Thursday, March 14, 2019

Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

The Night Before
The Night Before by Wendy Walker
St. Martin's Press
Publication: May 14th, 2019
Hardcover. 464 pages.

About The Night Before:

"'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…"

It had been a while since I'd picked up a good thriller, so I figured I'd rectify that and check out Wendy Walker's upcoming release since I enjoyed one of her previous books, All is Not Forgotten. Unfortunately, I'm sorry to report that this book did not live up to my hopes in any way and ended up being quite a disappointment. With thrillers, I like to keep my reviews on the vague side since almost every detail can be an important reveal. That being said, there's not a whole lot within this book that's surprising--the majority of things in this book were fairly predictable, with a few exceptions that I'll get into.

In The Night Before, we follow sisters Laura and Rosie, two women who have led extremely different lives, but who still hold a strong bond with one another. The two women grew up with childhood friends Gabe and Joe, the latter of which is now married to Rosie, and the foursome continue to hang out and spend time with one another as adults, especially since Laura decided to move back to live with Rosie for the time being. The friendship dynamic is fairly normal overall and although there is no present drama that the group deal with, but there is the thriller favorite 'momentous life-changing event that happened during childhood and changed everything' trope at play, which adds an underlying element of drama and suspense as we get to uncover what happened throughout the book.

The first problem I had with this book is that I didn't care about any of the characters. Okay, scratch that: I thought Rosie and Joe's son, Mason, was relatively harmless. He was also a toddler and hardly in the book at all, but you know, he was cute. Laura was...well, Laura has some personal struggles that she's been working through since she was a child, which makes her a somewhat difficult person to get behind. I never judged her for her actions that occurred as a result of her childhood, as I know well how trauma can cause lasting effects, but I was still frustrated with her actions throughout the book--she would blatantly and repeatedly tell herself not to do things, but she still did them. Even when she had a very easy out of the situation. I know we all do things like this in some format, but in Laura's case it was beyond reckless and potentially dangerous. 

Rosie was slightly more interesting than Laura and I appreciated that she took Laura's disappearance seriously from the start, but she's also rather forgettable. Same goes for Joe and Gabe--I'll probably forget everything about them in the next week or so and I really don't have much to say about them other than the fact that Joe seems like a really solid, stand-up guy. And speaking of boring characters, the person who ends up being the 'villain' in all of this was probably one of the most lackluster, utterly predictable, and uninteresting ones I've seen in a while. I'm really not trying to trash this book, but I just had such a hard time with it, especially the characters.

Despite all of the negative things I've mentioned, I will give this book the props it deserves in created one pretty big twist that I didn't actually see coming. It was extremely out of left field to me so it took a second to understand what it meant, but it worked in adding some depth to the thriller aspect of this book. I appreciate the ideas that went into this book, but it didn't execute very well for me.

Overall, I've given The Night Before two stars. I debated lowering it, but I wouldn't say I hated it enough to give it a one star; I can appreciate Walker's attempts to add in some new ideas, but the result ended up being predictable and like something I've read a thousand times already. Most of the early reviews so far are 4+ stars, so perhaps I'm just missing something, but nonetheless I can't say I enjoyed this book that much. I would still pick up another book by Wendy Walker in the future because I know she can write a good book, this just wasn't it. 

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

1 comment:

  1. Predictable is never a good word when it comes to thrillers!