The Night Shift
I’m a sucker for a great opening line – one that entices me to buckle up and settle in for the long haul confident I’m in for an all-nighter. The Night Shift’s first sentence – The night was expected to bring tragedy – grabbed my attention and yes, compelled me to read this one in mostly one sitting.
Finlay’s signature short, bare-bones chapters with mini-cliffhangers ensured that I kept burning through pages and even though I repeatedly said “just one more chapter” and I’ll retire for the night, I found it impossible not to read on.
December 31, 1999 – Y2K and the world held its breath . . . and lo and behold nothing happened. The next day dawned bright and people went on with their daily routines. Except for the people of Linden, New Jersey where the overnight savage slaughter of four teenagers ending their night shift at the local Blockbuster paints the town blood red, leaving three dead and one lone traumatized survivor. Fast forward fifteen years and four teenage girls are ending their night shift at the local ice cream shop in the same town when someone enters and brutally attacks them with a knife . . . and yet again, one lucky girl survives. Are the two tragedies related?
The Night Shift is a multi-layered, complex thriller delivered in two timelines. Three well-developed characters with unknown connections narrate the story. The original survivor Ella is now a therapist counseling troubled teens although she herself carries dark, debilitating secrets, the second survivor Jesse is a mysterious, complicated teenager with an uncanny ability to scope out hidden details and truths, and FBI Agent Sarah Keller who is heavily laden with twins due within two weeks but allows nothing to stop her mission to find the missing link between past and present. And then there’s Public Defender Chris Ford who stands for the lost and weary regardless of innocence or guilt – he too carries a potentially life altering secret.
As the investigation proceeds, the paths of these characters and their past and present lives begin colliding, spurning plot twists and turns that wreak damage and destroy lives with the velocity of a tornado as new shocking revelations pursue the light of day. Finlay’s ability to toss several viable red herrings into the mix is sure to keep readers second guessing. His expertise in inserting jaw dropping scenes into the mix keeps readers on the edge of their seats, hearts pulsating to the rhythm of the expeditious pace. Excellent character development is crucial in The Night Shift as readers are slowly brought up to date on past events and the manner in which past tragedies affect current lives. I like that Finlay doesn’t waste words on fluff or filler. Like a well fought court case, he presents his story in concise, short but highly effective chapters through characters he manipulates to build empathy from readers.
The Night Shift is an intense, soul searching thriller that delivers as promised – a fantastic, entertaining follow up to Finlay’s previous novel Every Last Fear. Fans of mystery, suspense and thrillers will devour this book. And whether or not your sleuth skills lead you to discover the killer’s identity prior to the reveal, you won’t be disappointed in the epic ending.
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