THE NIGHT BEFORE by Wendy Walker


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A first date takes a sinister turn for a troubled young woman in Walker’s third psychological thriller.

It’s the day after Laura Lochner’s date with a man she met online, and she hasn’t returned to the Connecticut home of her sister, Rosie, her brother-in-law, Joe, and their little boy, Mason, where she’s been staying after a bad breakup. Rosie fears the worst, but Joe advises caution. After all, Laura is an adult and can have some fun, right? But Rosie has a bad feeling. Laura won’t answer her phone, and Rosie only has more questions after poking around online for info on Laura’s date, Jonathan Fields. Rosie eventually calls the police, and events begin to cascade like dominoes. Interspersed with Rosie’s attempt to trace Laura’s movements and get a handle on the guy she went out with is Laura’s first-person account of the actual date as well as enlightening snippets of sessions between Laura and her therapist. Laura’s is the most compelling part—a tormented, often prickly piece of storytelling by a woman carrying the pain of a horrible event that happened in high school and feelings of abandonment by a father who always seemed to love Rosie more. Laura’s desire to be loved is all-consuming, but her conviction that she is not worthy of love is heartbreaking. She sees subterfuge in nearly everything Jonathan says and does. Meanwhile, Rosie must come to terms with some ugly surprises of her own as she digs into their past. As the timelines inevitably converge, Walker’s clever misdirection paves the way to a truly chilling finale, and she has plenty of insightful things to say about the blame placed on women by society and themselves for the idiotic, careless, and sometimes downright evil things men do.

Twisty and propulsive.

Pub Date: May 14th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-19867-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2019


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