That Night: A Novel
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That Night: A Novel

4.5 51
by Chevy Stevens

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Toni Murphy had a life full of typical teenage complications: a boyfriend, Ryan, whom she adored; a strained relationship with her parents; and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her suffer. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one night—and Toni


Toni Murphy had a life full of typical teenage complications: a boyfriend, Ryan, whom she adored; a strained relationship with her parents; and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her suffer. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one night—and Toni and Ryan were convicted of the murder.

“An emotional rollercoaster you’ll be sorry to get off of when you finish the last page.”—Jennifer McMahon
Now thirty-four, Toni is out of prison and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to her new reality. Meanwhile, Ryan is convinced he can find the real murderer, Toni’s own mother still doubts her innocence, and the group of women who made high school a nightmare for Toni may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, Toni can no longer ignore her old life…But before she can truly move on, Toni must risk everything to find out what really happened to her sister. Even if the truth is the most terrifying thing of all…
“Fast-paced and thought-provoking.” —Kimberly McCreight

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A thriller that will grip you from page one.” —Harlan Coben

“Fast-paced and thought-provoking, That Night is a taut psychological thriller which skillfully explores bullying in its most terrifying forms. From the high school parking lot to the prison yard to a family's own living room, That Night shows just how fast those closest to us can become our most brutal enemies.” —Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia

“Intense and disturbing - a terrific psychological thriller.” —Lee Child

“Chevy Stevens has done it again, crafting a story fraught with suspense that weaves back and forth through time and keeps you guessing. A gripping tale of secrets, betrayal, heartbreak, and ultimately, redemption, That Night is an emotional rollercoaster you'll be sorry to get off of when you finish the last page.” —Jennifer McMahon, New York Times Bestselling author of The Winter People

Publishers Weekly
In this riveting, if overly ambitious thriller, Stevens (Always Watching) raises significant themes—bullying, troubled families, the difficulties ex-cons face—but doesn’t do them all justice. In 1998, high school sweethearts Toni Murphy and Ryan Walker went to prison for killing Toni’s younger sister, Nicole—a haunted girl with secrets no one guessed. The most damning—and false—testimony came from classmate Shauna McKinney and her friends, who had tormented Toni for months before the murder. Fifteen years later, Toni and Ryan return home on parole to Campbell River on Vancouver Island. Although they’re legally prohibited from contact, Ryan asks Toni to help him clear their names. Meanwhile, Shauna is determined to send them back to prison. Toni finds an unlikely ally in Shauna’s teenage daughter, Ashley, perhaps the only person who wholeheartedly believes Toni and Ryan are innocent. Despite some wooden secondary characters, this is an exciting page-turner with an incisive twist. Author tour. Announced first printing of 150,000. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Agency. (June)
Library Journal
★ 03/01/2014
Stevens (Still Missing; Always Watching) has crafted yet another suspenseful thriller with this tale of heartbreak, the cruelties of fate, and redemption. Toni Murphy is a woman in her mid-thirties who spent 15 years in prison for a crime she didn't commit. Back when she was in high school, she and her boyfriend Ryan were convicted of killing Toni's younger sister, Nicole. The story skillfully moves between past and present as flashbacks reveal Toni's transformation from rebellious teen to depressed inmate. The reader follows Toni on a journey marked by cruel classmates and a hateful mother as she eventually discovers the shattering truth behind her sister's untimely death. Stevens not only gives us a fresh perspective on the power adolescents hold over one another,but she also explores the way secrets can destroy lives. VERDICT Fans of layered mysteries will love this novel as they try to guess the players in Nicole's death and try to figure out exactly what happened "that night." A compelling, exceptional read. [Prepub Alert, 1/15/14; 150,000-copy first printing.]—Mariel Pachucki, Maple Valley, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Stevens (Always Watching, 2013, etc.) draws a dark crime drama from the beautiful blue-green of Canada’s Vancouver Island.In the town of Campbell River, Toni has a rough home life; she can't wait for high school graduation to escape her mother’s angry disapproval. Ryan’s home is worse, his father an alcoholic abuser. Together, however, Toni and Ryan make the broken pieces fit. In school, Toni runs afoul of mean girls Shauna, Rachel, Kim and Cathy, who harass her and spread ugly rumors. Toni has an escape planned—a post-graduation apartment with Ryan—but then her younger sister, Nicole, her mother’s favorite, joins Shauna’s clique and starts dabbling in booze and boys and harassing Toni. It seems like kid stuff, until Nicole is bludgeoned to death. Toni and Ryan immediately become suspects; they're convicted of murder and sent to prison. Stevens' masterful plot spins into evil with "teen girls turning on each other, the viciousness and pack mentality that can arise." She writes from Toni’s point of view, shifting easily between past and present while delving into family tensions before the murder, then prison life, then back to Campbell River after Toni’s parole. Entirely believable, Toni evolves from a misunderstood, resentful and frightened teenager into an intelligent yet closed-off woman tempered by 15 years in prison. The writing is crisp and the dialogue realistic as Toni speculates about possible suspects and motives, knowing all the while that finding the killer may reveal one of Campbell River's ugliest secrets. Tension cranks to the breaking point when Cathy, now a drug-addled misfit, is murdered. Ryan and Toni become suspects again, but they realize it’s a sign that the conspiracy that jailed them has fractured. Still vulnerable yet clinging to optimism, the outcasts decide they must find Nicole’s murderer. Stevens has woven a warped psychological drama, a melancholy tale that comes to an existential and yet hopeful conclusion.Think James Lee Burke and Sue Grafton: Stevens' dark psychological thriller shares their damaged people and distinctive senses of place.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
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5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt



MARCH 2012

I followed the escorting officer over to Admissions and Discharge, carrying my belongings in a cardboard box—a couple pairs of jeans, some worn-out T-shirts, the few things I’d gathered over the years, some treasured books, my CD player. The rest, anything I had in storage, would be waiting for me. The release officer went through the round of documents. My hand shook as I signed the discharge papers, the words blurred. But I knew what they meant.

“Okay, Murphy, let’s go through your personals.” The guards never called you by your first name on the inside. It was always a nickname or your last name.

He emptied out a box of the items I’d come into the prison with. His voice droned as he listed them off, making notes on his clipboard. I stared at the dress pants, white blouse, and blazer. I’d picked them out so carefully for court, had thought they’d make me feel strong. Now I couldn’t stand the sight of them.

The officer’s hand rested for a moment on the pair of my underwear.

“One pair of white briefs, size small.”

He looked down at the briefs, checked the tag, his fingers lingering on the fabric. My face flushed. His eyes flicked to mine, gauging my reaction. Waiting for me to screw up so he could send me back inside. I kept my expression neutral.

He opened an envelope, glanced inside, then checked his clipboard before dumping the envelope’s contents into my palm. The silver-faced watch my parents had given me on my eighteenth birthday, still shiny, the battery dead. The necklace Ryan had given me, the black onyx cool to the touch. Part of the leather cord had worn smooth from my wearing it every day. I stared at it, felt its weight in my hand, remembering, then closed my fingers around it, tucking it securely back in the envelope. It was the only thing I had left of him.

“Looks like that’s it.” He held out a pen. “Sign here.”

I signed the last of the documents, put the belongings into my box.

“You got anything to dress out in?” the officer said.

“Just these.” The officer’s eyes flicked over my jeans and T-shirt. Some inmates’ families send clothes for them to wear on their release day. But no one had sent me anything.

“You can wait in the booking room until your ride gets here. There’s a phone if you need to call anyone.”

*   *   *

I sat on one of the benches, boxes by my feet, waiting for the volunteer, Linda, to pick me up. She’d be driving me to the ferry and over to Vancouver Island. I had to check into the halfway house in Victoria by seventeen hundred hours. Linda was a nice lady, in her forties, who worked with one of the advocacy groups. I’d met her before, when she’d taken me to the island for my unescorted temporary absences.

I was hungry—I’d been too excited to eat that morning. Margaret, one of my friends inside, had tried to get me to choke something down, but the oatmeal sat like a lump in my stomach. I wondered if Linda could stop somewhere. I imagined a Big Mac and fries, hot and salty, maybe a milkshake, then thought of Ryan again, how we used to take burgers to the beach. To distract myself from the memory, I watched an officer bring in a new inmate. A young girl. She looked scared, pale, her brown hair long and messy, like she’d been up all night. She glanced at me, her eyes drifting from my hair, down to the tattoos around my upper arm. I got them in the joint—a thin tribal bar for each year behind bars, forming one thicker, unbroken band that circled my right biceps, embracing me.

The officer yanked the girl’s arm, pulled her to Booking.

I rubbed my hands across the top of my head. My hair was short now, the middle spiked up in a faux-Mohawk, but it was still black. I closed my eyes, remembered how it was in high school. Feathered and long, falling to the middle of my back. Ryan liked to wrap his hands in it. I’d cut it in prison after I looked in the mirror one day and saw Nicole’s hair, thick with blood, and remembered holding her broken body in my arms after we found her that night.

“You ready to get out of here, Toni?” A friendly female voice.

I opened my eyes and looked up at Linda. “Can’t wait.”

She bent down and picked up one of my boxes, grunting a little as she lifted it. Linda was a small woman, not much taller than me. I was just a shorty at five feet—Margaret used to say a mouse fart could blow me over. But Linda was about as round as she was tall. She had dreadlocks and wore long flowing dresses and Birkenstocks. She was always railing at the prison system. I followed her out to her car, my box in my arms, as she chatted about the ferry traffic.

“The highway was clear all the way out to Horseshoe Bay, so we’ll make good time. We should be there around noon.”

As we pulled away, I watched the prison grow smaller in the distance. I turned back around in my seat. Linda rolled the window down.

“Phew, it’s a hot one today. Summer will be here before you know it.”

I traced the lines of my tattoos, counting the years, thinking back to that summer. I was thirty-four now and had been in custody since I was eighteen, when Ryan and I were arrested for my sister’s murder. We’d been alone with her that night, but we hadn’t heard Nicole scream. We hadn’t heard anything.

I wrapped my hand around my arm, squeezed hard. I’d spent almost half of my life behind bars for a crime I didn’t commit.

The anger never really leaves you.

Copyright © 2014 by Chevy Stevens Holdings Ltd.

Meet the Author

Chevy Stevens is the author of Still Missing and Never Knowing. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a realtor. When she held open houses, she had a lot of time waiting by herself between potential buyers, and Stevens would spend this time scaring herself with all the things that could happen to her. The most terrifying scenario she thought up became the story behind Still Missing. Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island, and she still calls the island home. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking with her husband and her dog in the local mountains.

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That Night 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Lucie More than 1 year ago
Everything she writes is so good! This one I had ordered and read previously - but forgot and ordered it again. Usually I get a message saying "you already own this", but didn't realize that until I started reading again, and was glad to do so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could go on and on about this book, but I won't, I'll keep it short and sweet. I have not read such a good book like this in a long time. The characters came alive and the plot held my attention and kept me wanting more. You are going to love and root for some characters or want to punch the others in the face :)...seriously. It's easy to guess whodunit, but not why. Even with knowing whodunit early in the story, it's still a good book to follow to get all of the information. I've never read any books by this author, but will look at her other works. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book now!
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
Having read all of Chevy’s novels, delighted to have the opportunity to read an ARC of THAT NIGHT, otherwise, not sure I could stand the suspense of waiting. Wow, what a night, “THAT NIGHT” was! Stevens is at the TOP OF HER GAME with this upcoming release -- her best novel to date! A page-turner and riveting thriller, which will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end- you will not be able to put down! THAT NIGHT is about one mysterious night, which changed the lives of three teens –Toni, her sister Nichole, and her boyfriend, Ryan. This novel is so different than most teen murder mysteries, with a new twist, which I found very engrossing and satisfying. Chevy Stevens masterfully crafted the plot, suspense, and characters--as goes back and forth from present day (2013), as Toni is getting out of prison, at the opening of the book, from Rockland Penitentiary, Vancouver, having served her time, now on parole, at age thirty--four, as well as boyfriend, Ryan for a murder they did not commit (they still are not allowed to be together as would violate their parole) -- With flashbacks from (1996) and events leading up to “That Night”, when they were teens in high school, at Woodbridge High in Campbell River, and the time she was incarcerated and after. However, when they get out, their troubles do not end. Toni and Ryan were in love as teens, spending their high school years planning for the day of graduation so they could be together, and move out on their own, as each had to fight their own battles at home and found solace in one another. However, due to constant bullying and threats to Toni’s life, (these girls were devils), she was almost afraid to go out that night after graduation, to a party at the lake. Then oddly, her sister Nichole, which has sided with her nemesis for months, wants to tag along after she has been acting weird. What happened on THAT Night led to the arrest of Toni and Ryan? Who was the real killer? Stevens definitely knows how to create bullying --Shauna, was the queen of manipulating with her ring of gal followers, with a capital B, and even a cop for a dad! I enjoyed how Stevens maintained the focus on this one night, adding to the suspense and drama, versus creating a number of secondary side story lines. It was like one set up after another, and could not believe Toni was going back for more, to this same town where these people still lived! Of course, when she was in prison, the halfway house, and everywhere she turns – (in or out), she is in the middle of, one hell of a nightmare. A mystery with lots of twists and turns, dark secrets, tension, and cover ups, a psychological thriller which will keep you guessing until the end (so hated when I was at the park reading, at the good part near the ending, and my battery dies on my e-reader – so scrambling to get to my car charger, so I could finish). THAT NIGHT is a winner, 5 star +++, and one you will WANT to pre-order---you will not want to miss reading this one . . Would love to see a movie based on this novel – what a cast – can you imagine? Well done, Chevy! A special thank you to St. Martins Press and NetGalley for an ARC, in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her and Gillian Flynn are now my 2 favorites! Another great read!
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Wrongful Conviction the Focus of That Night At 17, Toni Murphy was a surly and unruly teenager. She felt suffocated by her parents, had a boyfriend they didn’t like, was bullied at school, and fought with her sister. For many, this sounds like a typical teenager, but for Murphy they were all evidence of her guilt. You see, at 17, Toni was sent to prison for murdering her sister along with her boyfriend, Ryan. The thing is, she didn’t do it. Now 17 years later, Toni is out and trying to keep herself out of trouble, but the pull to find out the truth about her sister’s murder is too great. Alternating between present day and 1996, when the murder was committed, That Night by Chevy Stevens chronicles Toni’s life story and is broken down into two halves. In the first, we learn about Toni’s teenage antics, her relationship with Ryan, and her difficult time in school. Bullied relentlessly by a group of girls and constantly fighting with her sister, she and her troublemaker boyfriend are obvious suspects when her sister is brutally murdered. In the second half, Toni is released from prison and returns to her hometown, where she does everything in her power to stay out of jail. The problem is that whoever killed her sister isn’t comfortable with her freedom and is doing everything in their power to ruin her life. While I wouldn’t say that this book is YA, it does remind me of it (honestly, I don’t read enough YA to make an accurate assessment, but it’s the vibe I got). Despite the heaviness of the book, the writing style is short and simple (which I’m not accustomed to),glosses over many of the gritty parts of prison life, and leaves out Ryan’s experiences entirely. Although this doesn’t take away from Toni’s story, it does make it harder to connect with and relate to a hardened and determined post-prison Ryan. That said, it was still a great book. It was quick, fast-paced, and hard to put down. Although you know early on who probably did it (and is a driving force behind the story), the revelation of what happened That Night was not something I was expecting. If you’re looking for a good whodunnit, then try it out.  Allison @ The Book Wheel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! Wow that was a great read! The plot was so good and the characters were great! This was a great suspense novel! Wow, what a great book! I couldnt put it down until I was finished! Loved it! I love all of Stevens books and can't wait for more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book I could not put down.  So many facets to the book.  Bullying, drugs, a mother with a favorite child, murder and so much more
InspirationalAngel531 10 months ago
Title: That Night Author: Chevy Stevens Published: 6-17-2014 Publisher: St Martin's Press Pages: 381 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: General Fiction, Women's Fiction ISBN: 9781259934601 ASIN: B00H6ETCUC Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4 1/2 Stars . Dark and Suspenseful That Night tells the story Toni Murphey. She and her boyfriend Ryan are arrested and convicted of the brutal murder of her sister with the testimony of the bullies who tormented her all thigh high school. Sentenced to fifteen years she is now out on parole. Knowing she and Ryan were innocent, but banned seeing Ryan, from confronting those who lied on the stand about her or anyone else who could help clear their names. Soon those around her are making her life and following the rules harder than necessary. Toni decides that she must solve the mystery of what really happened the night her sister died or she will never be able to start over and put the pieces of her life back together again. The danger in digging up the past is that someone wants it to stay burried and is not afraid to kill again to keep their secrets. This book is a lot darker and more intense than the cozy style mystery than I usually read, but it dynamic character structure and the theme of the plot had me riveted to the book. Bullying and the fall out it causes is something everyone needs to be aware of. Columbine, Sandy Hook, and so many other news stories show that those who bully and those who are bullied both have emotional and social problems. This is the story is no different. Toni has no one to go to, to trust with what is happening. We question her innocence because we hear it in the news every day. I enjoyed going with Toni as she searched for answers all the while trying to stay out of trouble and not getting caught when she steps over the line a time or two. A great novel that is part psychological thriller, part mystery, with a lot of suspense thrown in for good measure. All rolled into one spine tingling story to keep readers on the edge of their seats as the follow the clues peppered throughout to find the killer before Toni does. My rating is 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I got into the story so deep quickly when I started reading. But it's also not easy to read, because I couldn't stand those b**ches including her mother. I felt so angry what they have done to her and feel so sorry for Toni. I needed to calm down myself from anger every chapter. But this book made me cry that scenes with Margaret.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
jessrobs More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read and could not put down. You may figure out "who done it" but not the why. Totally recommend. The author does a great job drawing you into Toni and her world. Just like any teenager feeling that they know all and no adult can truely understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is VERY good. I read a lot ans this one is in the top five of my favorites.
ColaLynn7 More than 1 year ago
Another Chevy Stevens book that I couldn't put down. Only down fall is the end left me wanting more.
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
An Amazing Book Contemporary Suspense with Romantic elements Vancouver Island Toni Murphy is a typical teenager with the usual complications. Parents with whom she has a strained relationship, a younger sister she can’t relate to, classmates that seem to want to make her life miserable and a boyfriend that she adores. Life wasn’t always easy but she never thought it would turn horrific like it did when her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. Toni and her boyfriend Ryan were sent to prison when they were convicted of the crime. Toni is now thirty-four back in her hometown on parole and struggling to adjust to life on the outside. She doesn’t want to go back so she is doing everything possible to avoid violating her parole. No one seems to be making that easy either. Especially her mother that doesn’t believe in her innocence, the group of women that made her life hell in high school or Ryan who is determined to find out the truth. There are those that just might have darker secrets than anyone imagined in particular the women that Toni had problems with in high school. Toni is finding that no matter how hard she wants to ignore her old life to start a new one that is impossible. If Toni truly wants to move on she is going to have to find out what really happened that night even if she must risk everything to do so. The most terrifying thing of all though just might be the truth. This is a story that pulls the reader in and keeps them guessing as to just what happened and who is behind everything. Just as the reader thinks they have the solution another tidbit is thrown out that will have them doubting they have it figured out at all. The twists and turns that this story takes will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they try and figure out the truth behind what really happened. It will also have readers hoping things will work out for Toni and Ryan. This is also a book that will stay with the reader long after they are done with the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Chevy Stevens and this is my absolute favorite novel by her!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be buying her other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have read in a long time and I read a lot of books. I had a hard time putting this book down. Read it in two days. Thoroughly engrossing and suspenseful!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! My heart went out to Toni & Ryan. Great suspense that kept me turning the pages. This was the first book I read by this author & I'm glad I found her! Starting Still missing tonight! If you haven't read this one, just get it now!
Mrs_Humpy More than 1 year ago
I've been an avid Chevy Stevens fan since Still Missing and I've got to say- this is her best work yet! I devoured this novel in one day! The plot was suspenseful and kept me hooked.  It's been awhile since I read a book that made me feel strong emotions toward characters; I couldn't believe the amount of anger I felt toward many of the people surrounding Toni and Ryan.  If you love a good suspense novel, pick this up IMMEDIATELY.  I'm eagerly awaiting her next novel this summer!
tlc123 More than 1 year ago
Loved it; very suspenseful, the story was believable and quite interesting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down! Such a great mystery!