The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

THAT NIGHT By Chevy Stevens ⭐️⭐️⭐️

That Night by Chevy StevensPublisher:  St. Martin's Press
Expected Release Date:  June 17, 2014
Pages:  384
Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Book Description: As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. 

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Wanda's Thoughts:  I received an Advanced Readers Edition of THAT NIGHT to read and give an honest review.

2012-Rockland Penitentiary, Vancouver - 34 year-old Toni Murphy is being discharged from prison.  Toni has been in custody since she was 18 years old, when she and her boyfriend, Ryan, were arrested and convicted of her sister’s murder – a murder she says they didn’t commit.  And the story unfolds as the past 16 years are played out into the present – Toni as a teenager, and Toni as an adult. 

Toni is a bit hard to like, perhaps because of her dysfunctional family.  Her mother never seemed to care about her, always giving her sister, Nicole, most of her attention.  And she believed that Toni was guilty of her sister’s murder.  Toni’s father believed she was innocent of the crime, but most of the time sided with her mother.  Nothing is, as it seems, in Toni’s life, with the multitude of lies, deception, and dark secrets that develop throughout. 

In my opinion, this book read as a YA novel, although I can’t imagine recommending it to a young adult.  There is scene after scene filled with teenage bullying, which at times was over-bearing and implausible. The book was drawn out, with a storyline that was a bit unrealistic, and cluttered with too many unnecessary scenes.  I found myself skimming over a few chapters, hoping the storyline would soon pick up.  The last third of the book did finally develop into a crescendo of suspense, with an exciting drama that develops into a good ending.  But, in general, the book was just lukewarm, and not one I’d enthusiastically recommend.  My rating is 3 stars.
Chevy StevensAbout the Author:  Chevy Stevens is the New York Times Bestselling author of STILL MISSING, NEVER KNOWING, and ALWAYS WATCHING. Chevy grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still lives on the island with her husband and daughter. When she’s not working on her next book, she’s camping and canoeing with her family in the local mountains. Her debut novel, STILL MISSING, won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. 

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