After Nightfall falls firmly under the umbrella of the latest, hottest genre that everybody is reading, everybody is writing, and everybody is talking about. I don’t usually do well with what everybody likes and this genre has been more Miss than Hit for me lately.
But A.J. Banner changed the game with this one, my own personal game of trudging through whodunit stories of toxic friendship versus happily devouring every word and being sad when it’s over.
This book is one I devoured and mourned the end of.
It was a little sketchy to start, what with wine-drunk adults at a dinner party flirting with everyone they weren’t married to or about to marry and a kid sitting ignored, and maybe a little crazy, in a corner. I was not hopeful about where it might go.
And then one of the dinner party guests got murdered/died/was no longer alive for some reason, which seemed mostly like another box ticked on the way to a meh book.
But things escalate quickly from there, in an intensely readable sort of way. To be fair, some of the other boxes were ticked – know-it-all woman thinks she can solve the case before the detective, detective suspects know-it-all of crimes when she keeps stumbling into crime scenes, everybody in a relationship harbors a deep mistrust of the one they love, bossy man telling know-it-all to leave it alone because everybody else is crazy and she shouldn’t be that way too.
Yet somehow this manages to make the story better. Possibly because it makes everyone, quite literally everyone, an entirely legitimate suspect in what may or may not be a murder.
Mystery thrillers where it’s hard to even guess who might’ve definitely been the killer are the absolute best thrillers. I don’t want to figure it out early, you know? I want to get to about 95% read and be like “holy crap on a cracker, I did not see that coming!” and I want that moment to be believable, legitimate, and fitting.
A.J. Banner ticked that most important of boxes for me in After Nightfall and I cannot recommend this book enough!
(I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.)