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Fantasy Friday: The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

From the author of the breakout thriller Every Last Fear, comes Alex Finlay’s electrifying next novel The Night Shift, about a pair of small-town murders fifteen years apart—and the ties that bind them.

“The night was expected to bring tragedy.” So begins one of the most highly-anticipated thrillers in recent years.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in New Jersey, four teenagers working late at the store are attacked. Only one inexplicably survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.

Fifteen years later, more teenage employees are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive.

In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who’s convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller who must delve into the secrets of both nights—stirring up memories of teen love and lies—to uncover the truth about murders on the night shift.

Amazon Link: The Night Shift

Author: Alex Finlay

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 4/5 stars

Part of what drew me to this book was the timeline. When I was a teen, my first job was at an ice cream shop and sometimes I worked until closing at 10 pm. I wouldn’t have called it a “night shift” (unlike jobs that worked literally overnight, like 9 pm until 5 am), but it felt pretty late at the time. But since I was in a small town, it didn’t really feel unsafe to be working that late. Obviously, the characters in this novel felt the same way until the murders happened.

I liked the way the author switched between multiple POV characters to give us different perspectives on the case as it unfolded. It felt like I was getting just enough information to follow along while also increasing the tension. Since it was fairly obvious who the murderer was from early in the story, I was waiting to see how the characters would piece together the solution to the mystery.

However, I didn’t feel either of the two main female characters was written realistically. The therapist/survivor was very one note in the way she reacted to her trauma. Meanwhile, the FBI agent was trying too hard to be a Strong Female Character ™ and prove herself despite being heavily pregnant. It was hard to picture her risking so much physical danger in her condition.

Then the final reveal/confrontation with the killer was also a ridiculous Hollywood-style sequence that just had me shaking my head.

But overall, it was a fast-paced read that had me turning pages. I wouldn’t call it one of the better books I’ve read this year, but it was entertaining.

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, domestic abuse, murder, violence.


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