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 Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.
Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”
In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.
The Night Shift (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks) is the second Alex Finlay book I’ve devoured, the first being the newly released What Have We Done? . It’s not a genre that I normally read, although I do love mysteries, but tend to avoid ones with gruesome scenes. While I wouldn’t call The Night Shift a cozy mystery, the violence is written in a way that it didn’t bother me in the least. Part mystery, part thriller, part police procedural, this was another book I could not put down.
I can see why this book was a 2022 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best mystery/thriller. It’s got all the twists and turns you’d expect in an Agatha Christie novel and then some. The novel is fast-paced; chapters change point-of-view and there are many characters to follow. I loved that the start of the story is set in 1999 at a Blockbuster Video, so there’s some nostalgia at how the world used to be: renting videos on a Friday night, before anybody of significance had cell phones.
I do have to say that some of the plot twists were a little unbelievable, as to who was who and why they were involved in the story, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel. I still couldn’t figure out everything, although early on I pegged the killer. The problem is, in this work, there is more than one killer, and more than one person connected to the old and new cases, so that throws a whole monkey wrench into figuring out the ending.
I enjoyed this book enough to give it a four star rating, but it’s not a perfectly written crime thriller. It’s a popcorn thriller in the way Dan Brown’s books read.
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