Reviewed: “The Night Before” by Wendy Walker

The Night Before is the story of two sisters who are not as close as they could be, thanks to a wild ride of a childhood. It starts off sounding like it’s going to a be a thriller based on the perils of online dating, and it essentially is. It morphs fairly seamlessly into a thriller based on a very troubled woman and the violent ends that befall the men she dates. And then, then it takes a turn that isn’t expected and seems to come out of nowhere.

Laura Heart Lochner is the very troubled woman. Rosie Ferro is her sister. Rosie is married to Joe. Their best friend, since childhood, is Gabe. They are on odd quartet and that’s part of what makes The Night Before readable… you just want to figure out why it works between the group of them. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t, not really… too many secrets, too many lies.

A good deal of The Night Before is based off a death that happened when the foursome were teenagers. Nobody is quite sure exactly what happened that night, even though they were all there, and nobody has ever quite learned to trust themselves or the others. Rosie medicates herself with Benadryl and wine, Joe drinks after Rosie goes to bed, Laura had an affair with her psychiatrist, and Gabe made a career of investigating other people’s lives.

Laura, recovering from an unexpected breakup (or was it?), is staying with Rosie and Joe when she decides to try online dating, figuring a site dedicated toward older men with established careers would be a safer bet than a Swipe Right-Swipe Left app. Of course, people lie online. Laura lies online. This causes a host of problems for everyone involved, including Rosie, Joe, and Gabe when Laura doesn’t return from her date with the man they don’t know.

Because this is a thriller and a mystery, writing a review is hard, especially when it’s a fairly good mystery and thriller, because spoilers could so easily be tripped into. And I don’t want to do that because The Night Before is definitely worth your time to read. If you do read it, let me know in the comments what you think of the twist. The twist bothers me a bit, but the book is sticking with me and maybe that says more than a wonky twist does.

I received an advance copy of The Night Before through NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own and my review will be posted on multiple sites.