The Night Before

Written by Wendy Walker

Review written by Carole Tyrell

Carole Tyrrell worked in the theatre for nearly 10 years and was always fascinating by the way death and the supernatural formed many of the greatest and most enduring works. She has read crime fiction for many years and enjoys the broad range of the genre.

The Night Before
Orion Publishing
RRP: £7.99
Released: March 19 2020

‘She was born with fists for hands. It’s hard to love a girl like that.’ These words, overheard from her mother’s conversation with a friend, have haunted Laura Heart all her life. 

As Laura Heart prepares and reconstructs herself for a blind date with a man she found on the website (Jonathan Fielding) - she wants her life to move forward again. 

After having been cruelly dumped by text by her previous boyfriend, , she has returned to her home town in Connecticut. Laura has the small attic room in her older sister’s house.  She’s the guest in the happy family of Rosie, her husband, Joe, and their son, Mason.  And so, the old gang of childhood friends are back together again; Laura, Joe, Gabe and Rosie. They have shared so much over the years and know each other so well.

But Laura has never forgotten, and neither has Rosie, the night in the woods when she was seventeen.   Rosie heard a scream and discovered Laura standing over the lifeless body of her first love, Mitch Adler. A bloodied baseball bat in her hand, blood on her clothes and a horrific story of a man attacking Mitch while they were making out in his car. A homeless man, Lionel Casey, was charged with the crime and died in a psychiatric institution still protecting his innocence.

However, someone else in town hasn’t forgotten either as Laura receives poison pen letters that warn of consequences to come.   Will she be able to forge a new life when the past refuses to be buried?

When Rosie discovers that Laura hasn’t returned from her date, she goes into full protective big sister mode and starts to track her down with Joe and Gabe’s help.  Laura’s mobile has died, her car is discovered near the harbour with a parking ticket on it and Rosie resorts to going through her emails for information. But the most disturbing element is when Gabe convinces her to put out an appeal on asking other dates of Jonathan Fielding to come forward. One reply is concise in instruction - ‘RUN’.   But who is Jonathan Fielding? He seems to have several aliases and knows how to manipulate women to his advantage.  What has he done to Laura or what has she done to him? 

But, as an intruder bursts into Jonathan’s apartment, badly injuring him and seizing her, Laura realises that danger can be closer to home.   In fact, returning to the cosy embrace of old friends can be a stranglehold from which you may never escape as she finally remembers who really killed Mitch Adler.  Will she survive from someone who claims that he just wants to protect her?

The story is told from Laura’s first-person viewpoint and Rosie’s is in the third person. These are interspersed with Laura’s psychotherapy sessions with her analyst in New York who becomes her lover.  Laura is a touching character; strong but also with a need to be loved, to be noticed and full of anger. She’s trying to recover from her last love affair and we share in her nervousness on going on a date and then her disappointment and disquiet over Jonathan as the evening progresses. He isn’t driving a BMW; he has a barely furnished apartment and a wedding ring hidden in a bottle of aspirin in his bathroom cabinet.   Rosie also discovers more about Laura’s flight from New York and what she was running from and fears that she will be the one to pick up the pieces for her again. 

It’s a convincing plot line with several surprises and blind alleys along the way.   There are betrayals in the apparently cosy-group and I thought that the narrative structure worked very well. 

In a word - unputdownable.

Book Reviews
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor