Midnight on Beacon Street
December 27, 2023

Book Review

Midnight on Beacon Street

reviewed by Warner Holme

Emily Ruth Verona’s Midnight on Beacon Street is a gripping period thriller set in the 1990s, blending old secrets and horrors into a narrative that would be equally at home as a horror film or a novel. The story revolves around a babysitter and her boyfriend, whose ordinary night takes a sinister turn.


The novel is deeply rooted in the 1990s, with cultural and technological references that vividly evoke the era. The rarity of cellphones and the prevalence of VHS tapes for movie viewing are just a few details that paint a nostalgic picture of the decade.

Verona openly showcases her influences throughout the book. A notable example is the detailed discussion of Halloween on page 95, where the reuse of leaves to simulate autumn is humorously described. Despite its non-chronological storytelling, the book successfully captures the essence of the ’90s, resonating particularly with those who experienced lower to lower-middle-class life during that time.

The narrative structure, beginning with a flash-forward, effectively sets the tone for a tale filled with disturbing events. The central character, Amy, is given substantial depth, with the plot focusing on her babysitting responsibilities and their connection to her past and the present’s violence.

The story also explores the Jewish identity of the main family and the impact of success on religious practices. The portrayal of faith and how it intersects with family dynamics, particularly through Ben’s questioning of their decreased attendance at Temple, is handled thoughtfully, adding a layer of emotional complexity to the narrative.

Midnight on Beacon Street stands out as a compelling thriller that pays homage to the 1990s. It features engaging characters, sustained suspense, and a tangible sense of danger, heightened by the standalone nature of the book which leaves characters’ fates uncertain. This novel is a strong recommendation for fans of Halloween-themed stories and thrillers, offering a nostalgic yet suspenseful journey.

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