Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night
Title: Emma in the Night
Author: Wendy Walker
Publication Date: 8/8/2017
Pages: 320
Genre: Thriller / Fiction
How I Found It: I saw it on someone else's blog last year as a recommended thriller. I'd give credit for the recommendation, but I can't remember where I saw it!
Date Completed: 2/19/2018

Summary: Teenage sisters, Emma and Cass Tanner disappeared three years ago. The highly publicized case explodes back into the public consciousness when Cass returns alone with an incredible story. 

What I Thought: I put this on my TBR list back in the fall when I was looking for a good Halloween-time thriller. After reading it, I wouldn't categorize it as quite what I was looking for, but it's a pretty good psychological thriller. 

The narration alternates between returned victim Cass and a psychologist working the case, Dr. Abby Winter. At first, the dual narration concerned me as I thought it would be harder to sustain suspense that way. However, Cass reveals her story in small pieces, both to Dr. Winter and to us. She holds her cards close to her chest through the whole book. At times, that suspense feels manufactured (I mean, this is a fiction book, so of course it's manufactured, but Walker's machinations felt a bit clunky at points). Overall, however, I stayed engaged and interested in guessing the outcome.

This book is part of my 2018 TBR Challenge!
There are several big twists in the book, most aggregated in the last third. I didn't find any of them particularly shocking, but they are good twists. I think Walked telegraphed some clues early on that diminished my surprise at the reveals. If you are not someone who constantly tries to guess the ending, though, you'll probably find the twists more satisfying. 

I really liked the psychological element to this story. Having the law enforcement element of the story be told by a psychologist rather than a detective gave the book a nice change from the typical form for this genre. We do a lot of armchair psychology at our house; Kevin was a pysch major and I'm just interested in why people are they way they are, so we're constantly having conversations about people in our lives. Reading about characters doing the same appealed to me. I liked that Dr. Winter was so insistent on her theory, even before there was credible evidence to support it. I wish we would have learned more about her own backstory which led her to that theory, but we didn't really need it. Adding in that subplot could well have made the story more chaotic and less focused. While I'd have liked that information, I think it kept the plot tight to not include it. 

This is a good one. If you're looking for a quick read or a psychological thriller, Emma in the Night will certainly fit the bill. It's not a literary masterpiece by any means, but it does its job well. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Doubtful
If You Liked This, Try: The Widow / Fierce Kingdom / The Kind Worth Killing

A Reduced Review: A decent psychological thriller that, though a bit clunky at points, keeps you reading and guessing the story behind the disappearance of two sisters. 

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