This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Susan Lobban
It is the end of high school for Toni Murphy and she is simply counting down the days until she can get away from her mother’s disapproving household and leave the mean girls that lurk in the school hallways far behind. She is moving in with her long-term boyfriend Ryan and is determined to prove everyone wrong and life happily ever after. However one night when she lets her guard down, tragedy strikes and her sister Nicole is murdered. Toni and Ryan are the only suspects and the case is nailed shut.
Now 34, Toni is leaving prison on parole and trying to put her past behind her. She knows that she and Ryan are innocent, but has long since given up convincing anyone else. When she returns to her hometown, Ryan risks their parole terms by making contact, but for good reason as he is determined to find out exactly what happened ‘that night’.
Still Missing was Chevy Steven’s debut novel and was one of my favourite reads last year, so I was really looking forward to the another dark read. However, That Night does not have the same intensity. For the first part of the book, one minute Toni is leaving jail, the next she is a teenager pre-tragedy and then it jumps to when she is arriving in jail. This narrative did not have me hooked, I just wanted Toni to hurry up and get to the night in question quicker. When we did reach the pivotal moment, it was definitely tense even though you knew it was coming. The dark, almost deserted woodlands added to the eerie atmosphere, especially as even after Nicole is discovered you are as clueless as Toni and Ryan as to who actually committed this heinous crime.All the time I was reading about Toni’s time in prison I was continually reminded of Orange is the New Black as she is a complete fish out of water forced to adopt a tough facade and make friends with people she would have crossed the road to avoid before. This book was a slow burner and to begin with I was able to put the book down all too easily, but as it progressed the pace picked up, albeit in a fairly predictable fashion. The ending did throw up a couple of surprises though and Toni’s story was rounded off in a timely and realistic manner, which was great considering some thrillers tend to rush towards an implausible conclusion.
All in all I did enjoy this book once I got past the jumpy start and thankfully my perseverance was rewarded with a satisfying ending. I would have liked a more mysterious plot, but would still recommend this as a holiday read as I suppose you don’t want too dark a plot to cast a shadow over your lazy sunny days.