Book Review: That Night

I received my copy of That Night through an ARC giveaway at Goodreads.

When I first received the novel in the mail I was not hopeful.  The cover copy did not do it any favours, reading “They said she murdered her sister…..they LIED!” How very dramatic.  But as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover, so I gave it a go.

It took me a long time to get into the story.  I think I read the first 75 pages and then put the book down for over a month.  To be fair, once I picked it back up again I finished the rest of it in one sitting, so clearly it eventually held my attention.

The plot was certainly intriguing enough.  I mean, yes, the book begins near the end so we do know that certain characters end up in prison, although the book never made me doubt their innocence.  If I was supposed to wonder if the main characters did it, the book failed in that regard, but I’m not sure that was the case.  And while the whodunit aspect of the mystery was clearly obvious – the author was not subtle in this regard – Stevens definitely surprised me with a twist or two at the end of the book that I definitely hadn’t expected.

The characters were a mixed bag, although realistically so.  I had a hard time believing that 18 year old Toni would be such a prison bad-ass, or that she and Ryan would still be attractive to each other after more than 12 years away. But in my opinion these were easy to overlook, especially the romance aspect.  Clearly the author didn’t have much choice.  Following the more realistic path would have been stunningly boring. Readers want to cheers for the ‘good guys’ and that means they end up together in the end.

Nicole drove me crazy – exactly as she was meant to – throughout a vast portion of the book – and Toni’s mother did her share to piss me off in her own way as well, which is a compliment to the writer.

The writing was decent, and improved over the course of the book.  It started out a bit cringeworthy with far too many references to “the Joint” or “the Inside”.  A stricter hand with editing could have helped that.  I appreciated the alternating timelines, although the flashbacks were hard to read knowing what would befall the characters.

Overall That Night was a good book, a quick read, with an inviting plot.