One Night Gone: A Novel

One Night Gone: A Novel

by Tara Laskowski


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“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling novel.” —TANA FRENCH, author of The Witch Elm

It was the perfect place to disappear...

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all...

“A heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel of betrayal and revenge. Stunning!”

—Carol Goodman, award-winning author of The Night Visitors

“Featuring a brilliantly executed dual timeline with two unforgettable narrators, One Night Gone is a timely and timeless mystery that will keep you obsessively reading well past your bedtime.”

—Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781525832192
Publisher: Graydon House Books
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Edition description: Original
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 56,261
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

TARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which The Guardian named a best book of 2017. She has had stories published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and Mid-American Review, among others, and is the editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Tara earned a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Virginia. One Night Gone is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt



September 2015

You'll feel like a new woman.

That's what Annie said. The perfect opportunity to reinvent myself.

Annie was raving excitedly, brushing her hair away from her face as we sat outside on the patio of Chez Monsieur, a name that sounded way fancier than the actual restaurant. Perhaps that was why I was skeptical of her enthusiasm — I was uncomfortable, distracted by the sucking sound that came each time I pulled my forearms off the sticky plastic tablecloth. And that loaded term: new woman. Was Annie suggesting that I was damaged?

Perhaps I was skeptical of everything. Nothing worked out to be perfect. There was no perfect, no happy-ever-after. No happy ever, it seemed.

Still, my younger sister was almost the only thing I had left, so I nodded, sipping my water from a filmy glass with only a few chips of ice still withstanding the late-summer Philadelphia sun.

"The off-season at the beach," she said wistfully, staring off into our very un- beach-like surroundings as a taxi driver honked his horn and tossed a select finger at another driver trying to back into a space on the narrow street. "It's a great opportunity to relax, recoup — recover." She smiled reassuringly. "And the house — oh, Allison. It's divine. You won't even believe it."

I tried not to roll my eyes at my sister's undying optimism. "And I'm sure these heavenly people are just going to hand me over the keys, right? Without even checking up on my ... background?" I asked.

A large cumulus cloud whipped over the sun, dimming the patio and turning the strong wind cold. An omen, my mom would say, but quickly dismissed it.

"No, no, no." Annie leaned forward, and I caught my reflection in her large lenses — a hunched-over, thin waif of a person with hair too long for forty. Ever since I'd gone off-air I'd let it grow past my shoulders, though vainly I still dyed it every five weeks. I could never stand the gray roots.

I sat up straighter, adjusted my chair. Annie was still going. "Like I said, my friend Sharon knows the couple really well. And the town — she grew up right near there. I can vouch for you, no problem. They want someone they can trust — not just someone off the street. Oh, Ally. It's so perfect for you. A chance to get away from ... from all this."

I thought about making a snide comment along the lines of, you mean get me out of your apartment, but that would've made her feel self-conscious about Mike, and I didn't want her to feel guilty for having a stable relationship. So instead I said, "Do you think I could really ever get away from any of it?" Because, contrary to what Annie believed, despite the protests she was now making at my negativity, I didn't need to become a new woman — I needed to get back to the old me. The me I was before. Before it all crashed.

Yet in spite of my sarcasm and doubt, already, already the idea was beginning to appeal. An oceanfront home, rent-free for the winter. The couple had just bought the place last year, but the wife's job was unexpectedly calling her abroad and they didn't want the house to be vacant for that many months. But they also didn't want to bother with the mess of renting the place out — distrustful of random strangers trooping in and out of their home week after week. All those horror stories you heard about people renting their homes through Airbnb on the internet —

"Do they use Google?" I asked, half joking.

Annie just shook her head at me. "Allison, please don't."

"YouTube? I'm just being practical."

"You just need to see this house," she said, ignoring my comment.

My sister had a talent for ignoring subjects she didn't want to discuss. It came as part of her nurse package — cute kitten-adorned scrubs, a cheery sing-song voice and a no-nonsense attitude for dealing with grumbly, pessimistic patients. The best medicine is a positive attitude, she always said, and I mostly admired it, though sometimes I wanted to do what one of her patients once did — dump a filled bedpan on her. She put up with a lot, but she always did it with a smile.

"Four bedrooms, a back deck, a sunroom overlooking the ocean. You could use the time to relax. Or you know, figure out your next steps. The beach is a great place to study weather, right?" Annie snaked her hand across the table to squeeze mine, but I picked up my water glass and watched her pull her hand back. "Besides, you're doing much better."

"Well, according to everyone else, that bar is pretty low, isn't it?"

Annie ignored that, too. She knew where this conversation was headed. It was a relief, really. I didn't want to talk about Duke anymore either — the same ground over and over again.

"Just think about it, okay? We'll take a look tonight — they've got pictures. We have to act fast, though, because someone's going to snatch this up, I just know it. It's like a dream come true."

* * *

It turned out that Annie wasn't exaggerating. Divine was a good word for Patty and John Worthington's beach house. Cozy, but also lavish. The place looked like it had morphed out of an issue of Architectural Digest. Wooden siding on the outside, cute A-frames. On the inside, an open living room with a ceiling that stretched to the top floor. A sunroom off the back with views of the ocean and a second-floor back deck with sun chairs.

"Built in 1986," the online ad read. The house had an opulent charm, and I immediately fell in love. It was exactly what I needed. A chance to get away. A place of beauty to run to.

"See? I told you." Annie squeezed my arm, shaking me until I broke into a grin. She squealed like she used to when we were kids and pressed snails or earthworms we'd found near the neighbor's pond into each other's palms. Or later, as teenagers, when we'd slip into each other's beds after a night out and whisper secrets about the guys we'd met, the way their clove cigarettes had smelled, sweet and smoky, the way their hands had nestled onto the smalls of our backs. Annie would giggle, her face pressed into her pillow, then sit up, hair streaming around her, eyes gleaming in the moonlight with all the possibility. We'd always been each other's ears, there to absorb both the delights and the horrors. So when Duke betrayed me, Annie was the one to help me pick up the pieces.

Annie kissed the top of my head and jumped up from the couch. "I'm going to call Sharon."

I sat back and closed my sister's laptop, staring up at the ceiling of her little apartment in Manayunk. My home for the last nine months.

This was not where I was supposed to be. This was not in any of the New Year's resolutions I'd sketched out each year in my leather-bound planners. I was supposed to be in Annapolis, living in a large, single-family home not far from the water, giving the morning weather report on WDLT Annapolis with a beaming smile and a jaunty flair, married to Dennis "Duke" Shetland. I was supposed to be finding tile to remodel our kitchen, planning a trip to Greece, fighting with my mother about not having kids. In other words, turning forty with a husband, house, job and friends — like everyone else I knew.

Instead I had regular appointments with a divorce attorney, sleeping pills, antidepressants, jaw pain and a tiny bedroom my little sister let me crash in while I sorted out my life. Instead, for the first time in my adult life, my compass was twirling around and around, unable to find direction.

Maybe the house was the solution. A chance to prove I was just fine, to show everyone — including myself — that I was no longer the Allison- puddle-toxic-hot-mess that I had been for the past year. In a new space, I could get perspective. Annie's apartment had its charm — with her stacks of dog-eared paperback books, colorful afghans over every chair, cross-stitch framed inspirational quotes posted slightly askew in the halls (You can't see the sunshine with your eyes closed!) — but it was nowhere close to the breathing room I'd have in a three-story house right on the coast.

I tried not to, but I started to get excited. An actual new start. The possibilities were whirling inside me, gaining momentum like a tropical storm gathering strength just off the coast. I could use the time to figure out my next steps, as Annie had said. Repair the self-confidence that Duke had systematically filed down to a small sliver. Find a new job or take a class. I could start a blog — my lawyer had told me to bump up my online presence with good things, positive things, that would push the bad stuff down in the search results.

Page two, my lawyer had chanted. Your goal is to get them to page two. Do you know what the percentage is of people who click to page two of the search results? It's low, Allison. Very low.

How sad my goals and aspirations had become.


October 2015

Opal Beach was about a two-hour drive without traffic from downtown Philadelphia. It was somewhere halfway between Ocean City and Atlantic City and way less touristy. The beach always reminded me of vacations as a kid, running barefoot on hot sand, creating lopsided sand castles with plastic buckets, breaking crab legs and sucking out the meat. But there was also a sense of slowing down, of taking it all in, and I needed that now. I could feel the air change, the way it clung, coated, opened everything up. Through the car windows, the October air was shockingly cold but also reviving. The salty air had always bothered my mother and sister, who complained it was too humid and their tongues felt strange, but I loved the way it worked its fingers into my hair and curled around the tendrils. It made me feel a little wild, a little different. Untamed. Like anything could happen.

Was I really doing this? Was I really pressing on this pedal, steering, guiding these four wheels to a stranger's beach house, where I would live for the next three months alone? It had all happened so fast. A blur, really. Annie's friend Sharon, with that same nurse-like efficiency that Annie had, set it all up so quickly that I'd barely had time to adjust to the idea before it was actually happening.

But I was used to life messing with me now, used to tripping over a curb or forgetting to eat breakfast or chipping a nail, waking up only to discover that everything I'd known to be true was suddenly different. So in some ways this jour- ney, the picking up and leaving behind, felt like an emerging. Like Rockefeller, the hermit crab I'd bought on our family vacation one year at a boardwalk shack, I was crawling out of a dingy shell and moving into a shinier, larger home. (Unlike Rockefeller, though, I hoped I wouldn't die from the soap residue that was left inside the new shell when someone tried to clean it too vigorously before setting him inside the cage.)

I drove down a two-lane road just off the ocean, the main drag for all the beachfront houses. I could imagine that on a weekend in July it looked like a parking lot as families navigated in or out of town, canoes and coolers tied up on their roof racks. But now it was eerily vacant, and I had the sense I was the last woman on earth, that in my quiet drive alone the rest of humanity had vanished. I was trying to decide if that was a good thing or not when a giant orange Hummer zoomed into view behind me and passed without slowing down. "Well, so much for that. Asshole," I said.

The houses were dramatically large and looming, blocking what otherwise would've been a magnificent view. You could tell which ones were just rentals — the monstrosities with thirteen bedrooms and a six-car garage that five families could rent out at once. But further down the road, the houses had more style and character. The kind of places — lots of windows, big porches, nice landscaping — that would make your mouth water even without the lush ocean backdrop as icing on the cake.

I slowed as my GPS indicated I was getting close, but even so I almost missed the tiny driveway and its faded, weather-beaten road sign declaring my new mailing address: Piper Sand Road.

I had made it.

The long gravel drive split off halfway up, with one side leading to the Worthington house and the other side to their neighbor's. When I'd first met the Worthingtons for my "job interview" just a few weeks before, I'd been so nervous about the whole thing that I'd taken the wrong driveway and parked in the neighbor's lot and stared at it for a good minute before realizing the house number was wrong.

But now, pulling into the correct driveway slowly, it felt like an adventure movie soundtrack should be swelling. And our heroine finds her destiny.

I could imagine Annie's reaction when she finally saw the house in person. It was stunning. The surrounding homes were propped up on beams, like old ladies hitching up their skirts so they wouldn't get wet in the surf, but that just gave the Worthingtons' house an understated effect. It stood confident and modest between them, a beach gingerbread house right out of a fairy tale, with light blue curtains and sweeping eaves.

I parked right at the porch steps and got out, wrapping my cardigan around me to stave off the whipping wind. The front porch was small but quaint, with two wooden rocking chairs and a small white table with flaking paint. I ran my palm along the back of one of the tall chairs, and it creaked from my touch. The chairs seemed to be more for decoration than sitting.

Dolores, Sharon's sister who lived in town, was supposed to be meeting me to hand over the keys. Yet it seemed I'd arrived first. I'd had to come one week sooner than planned, as Patty and John had been whisked away to her mysterious assignment in Eastern Europe a little earlier than expected. Patty had called me from the airport with the news. I'd pictured her in her white visor and tennis sneakers rushing through the terminals, bags bouncing off her lower back as she breathlessly gave me instructions.

Still, I half expected Patty to appear in the window as I squatted down and peered inside the house. It was hard to see with the bright sun glaring at my back, but I could make out the shadowy silhouette of the large island counter in the middle of the kitchen. Beyond that room, I remembered, was the living room, with doors and stairs leading to all the many nooks of the house.

All empty now, waiting for me. A shiver curled from my spine up to my neck, unwinding inside me. Calm down, you idiot, I told myself. Not everything is a trap. Think positively, and positive things will come.

You'll be safe here, Patty had told me that day in the kitchen, leaning up against the kitchen island, popping a grape into her mouth and patting me on the shoulder. Her voice, otherwise booming, had been low, possibly so her husband couldn't hear from the next room.

"Sharon told me — well, she told me you were having — she mentioned the divorce."

"Oh, well, thank you, but —"

Patty held up a hand. "No buts here. Just ifs. I didn't mean to say anything to you — it's all your business. You don't have to explain anything to me. I know every situation is different. I don't need the details. I just know that Sharon said a friend could use some escape, some time to recoup from a major life change, and this is what we want."

* * *

A crunch of gravel brought me back to the present. I turned. A car was coming up the driveway, its headlights cutting through the thin mist of the afternoon. A small, beat-up red Toyota, music blaring. The car jerked, stopped messily behind mine, and I could see Sharon through the windshield, waving her hand at me. But no, it wasn't Sharon. As she got out, her car door squealing in protest, I realized it was a punk version of Sharon. Her hair looked almost purple, curled in tight ringlets around her face. Her nose stud sparkled, and a tattoo peeked out from the neckline of her black sweater dress. This must be Dolores.

She gave a wave, and I left the porch to meet her.

"I'm sorry I'm late. We were just closing up at the gallery and someone walked in. Can you imagine? We get no one for days on end this time of year and the one time I've got somewhere to be, we get a customer." She extended a thick hand. "I'm Dolores. You must be Allison."

"Thanks so much for doing this," I said. "I'm sorry to put you through the trouble."


Excerpted from "One Night Gone"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Tara Laskowski.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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One Night Gone: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous 11 days ago
I thought it was stupid.
Librarirun 7 days ago
In One Night Gone, the debut novel by Tara Laskowski, two women, three decades apart seek refuge at Opal Beach during a three-month stay, each focused on regrouping and moving forward with her life . . . Maureen Haddaway is at loose ends when she comes to the island during the summer of 1985 as part of a traveling carnival. Allison Simpson arrives off-season in 2015 to house-sit after an ugly divorce. These women have something in common: a determination to improve their prospects and live life on their own terms despite personal setbacks that damaged their sense of self-worth and emotional stability. And each in her own way discovers that small towns like Opal Beach aren’t always kind to outsiders, especially when there is a difference in social status. While living at Opal Beach, Maureen becomes fast friends with Tammy Quinn, a local girl; and soon she’s dating Clay Bishop, whose wealthy family owns a restaurant chain. Although Maureen’s stay is meant to be temporary, she unexpectedly vanishes without a trace before summer’s end. Tammy has been haunted by Maureen’s disappearance for the past thirty years, certain that she was murdered on the island. Years later, as Allison settles in, she encounters many of the same residents Maureen once knew. And Tammy, who now owns the local coffee shop, draws Allison into investigating the mystery of Maureen’s disappearance. Allison’s search for information threatens to expose long-buried secrets and transgressions, and connecting the dots between Maureen’s relationships with people in Opal Beach puts both Allison and Tammy in danger. Will they uncover the truth without risking their own personal safety? One Night Gone is an engrossing mystery with a page-turning plot. Laskowski infuses the story with characters harboring dark secrets who are credible murder suspects, and uses multiple twists and turns to deliver a thrilling read. Although One Night Gone is first and foremost a solid suspense novel, it is also a story about independent women who stand up for themselves, never giving up or feeling sorry for themselves. Issues of social and gender status add dimension to the plot, and the author also creates a unique kinship between Maureen and Allison—women who never met and lived thirty years apart—a bond that ultimately honors Maureen’s struggle and helps Allison move forward with her own life. This finely-crafted novel showcases Laskowski’s impressive writing skills, which are well-suited to the suspense genre. I hope that One Night Gone is the first of many novels from this talented author.
3900980 9 days ago
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski is an intriguing novel of suspense told between two time periods with an explosive ending you will never see coming. Maureen Haddaway is a young teenager who ran away from her drug addicted mother and joined a travelling carnival. One summer the carnival stops at a place called Opal Beach a lavishly rich town with beautiful views and opulence. Maureen becomes friends with some of the local teenagers and finally feels happiness and freedom for the first time. Until she disappears. Years later, Allison Simpson, an on-air meteorologist who has a melt-down during her live weather report and is fired is looking for somewhere to hide until her notoriety wears off. When her sister discovers a housesitting job in a place called Opal Beach, Allison agrees to it thinking that what she truly needs is a quiet place to decompress and figure out just what is next for her. What she did not see coming was her involvement in the mystery of a young teenager who disappeared years ago. When asked by her new Opal Beach friend Tammy, to assist her in finding out where Maureen is or what could have happened to her becomes an obsession Allison cannot let go of. Suddenly Allison realizes whatever happened to Maureen all those years ago has put her own life in danger. But why? What is the connection? But more important what really happened to Maureen? One Night Gone was a terrific read with many plot twists and turns which kept me guessing until the ending was revealed.
3900980 9 days ago
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski is an intriguing novel of suspense told between two time periods with an explosive ending you will never see coming. Maureen Haddaway is a young teenager who ran away from her drug addicted mother and joined a travelling carnival. One summer the carnival stops at a place called Opal Beach a lavishly rich town with beautiful views and opulence. Maureen becomes friends with some of the local teenagers and finally feels happiness and freedom for the first time. Until she disappears. Years later, Allison Simpson, an on-air meteorologist who has a melt-down during her live weather report and is fired is looking for somewhere to hide until her notoriety wears off. When her sister discovers a housesitting job in a place called Opal Beach, Allison agrees to it thinking that what she truly needs is a quiet place to decompress and figure out just what is next for her. What she did not see coming was her involvement in the mystery of a young teenager who disappeared years ago. When asked by her new Opal Beach friend Tammy, to assist her in finding out where Maureen is or what could have happened to her becomes an obsession Allison cannot let go of. Suddenly Allison realizes whatever happened to Maureen all those years ago has put her own life in danger. But why? What is the connection? But more important what really happened to Maureen? One Night Gone was a terrific read with many plot twists and turns which kept me guessing until the ending was revealed.
Persephonereads 9 days ago
5 out of 5 stars Thank you to Netgalley and Graydon House for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It's the 198o's and Maureen is working at a carnival in the wealthy community of Opal Beach. Into Maureen's wife come Tammy, local townie girl and Clay a "Yachter" who is wealthy. A fast friendship grows between Tammy and Maureen while she and Clay fall in love. First the first time in ages she feels that she isn't alone. She has a best friend and a boyfriend that care for her. Opal Beach seems like the perfect town and just maybe Maureen's life is going to be good. Then she disappears..... In the present Allyson who is recovering from a nasty divorce and recently lost her job as a TV meteorologist is desperate to start life anew. Her sister gets her a job house/cat sitting in Opal Beach for a a few months. There she meets Tammy and gets wrapped up in the long ago disappearance of Maureen. As Allyson helps Tammy find out what happened to Maureen she discovers the ugly truth hidden behind the lux lives of the residents of Opal Beach, The story goes back and forth from Maureen in the past and Allyson in the present. Maureen's story is haunting and heartbreaking. Her desire to belong and her strength of character will move you. Allyson is a fantastic character who you will root for. I loved this book and I can only hope that Tara Laskowski will write another novel featuring Allyson. This truly felt like a start of a new series. This was a great psychological thriller/ mystery that will keep you guessing.
Momma_Becky 10 days ago
One Night Gone is told through dual timelines. We get Maureen, a girl who went missing in the mid-80s and Allison some thirty years later trying to figure out what happened. There is a decent mystery here, but it's completely predictable, and if I was supposed to get some thriller-like vibes, I missed them. I just didn't feel that tension that should come with a thriller. What it all really boils down to is the haves and the have nots and those who dare to cross that line between them. For a storyline that has been done so many times in various forms, I would've really liked a little less predictability to make it stand out. In the end, this one was just an okay read for me.
labmom55 11 days ago
One Night Gone is the typical story of the haves and the have nots in a New Jersey beach town. “Slap some sun and sand on anything and it’ll look pretty, but don't venture too far off. You want to talk inequity? Let’s talk inequity. Opal Beach has it all. The top 1 percent run everything and the rest of us can just suck it up.” Told from two different timelines, 1985 when a young teenage carnival worker makes friends with the town’s rich boy and then current day, when a young divorcee agrees to housesit one of the big beach houses over the winter. I have to say initially, I much preferred the historic story. Although as the book went on, I got invested in both. The ending was a tad predictable and yes, I figured out who was to blame. This was a decent mystery, but nothing earth shattering. If it were coming out in the summer, I’d classify it as a good beach read. My thanks to netgalley and Harlequin for an advance copy of this book.
lee2staes 12 days ago
WOW! What a thriller! I love this book! “One Night Gone” is a fast paced riveting thriller! It’s a suspenseful novel about the power that wealth and prestige can buy, and the secrets it can bury. It’s a story told by two characters, one from the present and one from the past. It is an exceptional, well thought out mystery, with believable, true to life characters. I love this authors story telling ability. The writing is beautifully detailed and descriptive. This is an Intense, compelling, and wholly original novel that I absolutely love and highly recommend. An advance reader copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
TJReads 14 days ago
I am an avid reader and woe be to the books I read that come behind some really stellar ones. That is where this one fell in. This story did have its moments as we follow Allison along while she is trying to find herself after a not so stellar moment on air as the weather girl giving a dicey umbrella forecast to her wayward husband. I enjoyed that little situation as one of the more entertaining aspects of the story. I found the time frames switching between Maureen and Allison were done well, but Maureen’s story was way more interesting then Allison’s. In a nutshell this is a mediocre who done it story with an unlikely twist in the end. Not a bad book, but not a remarkable one either, no great suspense or cliffhangers here. Some of the events and happenings were either to convenient or close to unbelievable. I am glad to have been given the opportunity to receive this book from Harlequin-Graydon House Books through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This one gets 3 stars.
JerseyGirlBookReviews 14 days ago
In her debut novel, One Night Gone, author Tara Laskowski transports the reader to the seaside town of Opal Beach for an intriguing mystery / suspense / thriller story that will keep the reader guessing and turning the pages. In June of 1985, Maureen Haddaway came to Opal Beah with a travelling carnival looking to start over. Maureen's dreams of a fresh start in this beautiful seaside town comes to an unexpected end when she suddenly disappears without a trace. Thirty years later in October of 2015, forty year old disgraced meteorologist Allison Simpson is fired for calling out her cheating husband Dennis "Duke" Shetland while on the air. Now divorced, Allison seeks a fresh start in life, and agrees to house-sit in Opal Beach for a couple working abroad. Allison hears about the missing girl from thirty years ago, and becomes interested in the mystery and finding out what happened to the girl. Will Allison solve the mystery of the missing girl, or will someone do just about anything to keep their dirty little secrets hidden? Author Tara Laskowski weaves a fast-paced and suspenseful tale written in an alternating first person narrative that follows Maureen's story leading up to her disappearance, and Allison's journey to start her life over while investigating Maureen's disappearance. I loved reading this action-packed story, it had a little bit of everything that immediately drew me in from the start, and kept me intrigued and guessing. You can't help but become engrossed in the story as the alternating dual storylines / timelines revealed dark pasts, hidden secrets, possible motives, danger, and clues that are uncovered as Allison investigates Maureen's mysterious disappearance. One Night Gone is an intriguing and suspenseful story that has enough drama, tension, action, dark secrets, betrayals, revenge, and unexpected twists and turns that fans of mystery / suspense stories will surely enjoy!
Shelley-S-Reviewer 14 days ago
This was such an unexpected surprise, it was a psychological thriller, a domestic suspense, a twisted relationship tale and to be honest, having just finished it in one sitting, I am in both shock and awe. I am not really astounded as I had read all the reviews and most people enjoyed this book. One Night Gone is different but it’s still a dark twisted tale that has you questioning every single characters motive and madly turning pages to try and unlock the next piece of the puzzle. I wasn't prepared to like this book as much as I did. I did not like the main character at first, she seemed whiny and and pitiful but as the character developed I had empathy for her and her situation. The plot was amazing, especially in how the author wove and blended the situation/plot with the community's mindset. Descriptions of settings, weather and emotions were spot on. I guessed whodunit early on, which may have been the author's intention, but devoured the rest of the book to see if I was right and as always to know the "why" of the situation. My interest was piqued from the first page, and the body and conclusion of the story did not disappoint. Tight writing, realistic characters and plot, I was very happily surprised and totally recommend.
Samantha1020 14 days ago
Summary from Goodreads: "It was the perfect place to disappear... One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes. Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all..." My Thoughts: I really enjoyed my time with this book! I was in the mood for an atmospheric read and this one really fit what I was looking for. The story begins with Allison getting the opportunity to house sit in this gorgeous house for a few months while she works on figuring her life out. As the reader, we know that something major has happened to Allison in regards to her work and marriage that she is now dealing with the aftereffects of. She moves into this house which is situated in this almost deserted beach town due to it being offseason. Before too long, Allison is pulled into the mystery of a missing young girl and what happened to her so many years before. This book just totally sucked me in from the very beginning. Who knew that a deserted beach town with hints of mystery would be so intriguing? Add in the fact that the weather (and especially the winter storms) added another element of almost darkness to the book and I was completely hooked! I tried to take my time with this one but the pages just flew on by. And if all of that wasn't enough for you, there were these hints of paranormal where just maybe Maureen's spirit was trying to get Allison's help as well. It all added up to one very solid read that I wasn't ready to see end. I especially enjoyed the fact that I thought that I had all of the answers at one point only to realize that I didn't. I also really liked seeing Allison coming in to her own and getting stronger. Allison's past also plays an important role in this book so it was good to see her come into her own and find both her confidence and strength. I'm really eager to see what other readers think about this book as it was one that I enjoyed immensely! Overall, I'm so excited to see what this author comes up with next because I thought that this was an really great read! It was just so atmospheric and perfect for this time of year! I loved the way that the author used the weather to build up the suspense in this book. And I also really just loved the story that she was telling. The book is told from both Allison's viewpoint and also from Maureen's viewpoint and it switches between the two so perfectly. I came to care about Maureen just as much as Allison even though we the reader know that something bad has happened to Maureen. I just wanted Allison to find the answers and to finally get some closure on the entire situation. I obviously can't say enough good things about this one. An easy book for me to recommend! Bottom Line: An atmospheric read perfect for the colder temps that are coming around the corner! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publis
SheTreadsSoftly 14 days ago
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski is a recommended novel of suspense where a decades old mystery is solved. Allison Simpson arrives in Opal Beach to house sit at a beautiful cottage on the beach. She has been let go as a meteorologist in Philadelphia and experienced a messy divorce so this may be a good place to reexamine her life and begin looking for new opportunities. The manager of the local coffee shop, Tammy, immediately befriends Allison, and soon tells her about her friend, Maureen Haddaway, who disappeared thirty years earlier. Maureen was working for the carnival on the boardwalk when Tammy befriended her and the two began to party with the summer crowd. Allison is drawn into the mystery of Maureen's disappearance, especially after a strange package appears on her front step and the contents belonged to Maureen. The narrative of the story alternates between the points of view of Maureen and Allison. Both tell their story and the reader has to connect the clues to try and figure out the answer to the decades old mystery of Maureen's disappearance. The stories begin to intertwine and people in Maureen's story appear in Allison's present day narrative. The writing is good and Laskowski has a gift for character development. While I knew where the mystery was going early on, what I really wanted to know was more about Allison's life. She was depicted as a much more interesting character, with little details that could have been developed into an interesting story about starting over. Then again, Maureen could have also been the main character in her own novel. But, together, the two didn't quite merge seamlessly for me into an intriguing mystery that I would care about because it is based on caring about Tammy. To be honest, I didn't and if I were house sitting and had her so eagerly want to befriend me, I'm politely turn down her overly intense attention. A package on the front porch with something odd in it? I'd see if there was some town lost and found to leave it at. The mystery does go in the direction I predicted and there is a satisfying denouement. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Harlequin.
marongm8 14 days ago
This book was received as an ARC from HARLEQUIN - Graydon House Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Usually I am not into psychological thrillers but this one caught my eye from the cover and the description. One Night Gone tells the story of Maureen and Allison. Maureen moves into Opal Beach and gets invited into the Party scene and makes all of these new friends and it looks like a perfect world until at one minute she vanishes, 30 years later Allison moves into Opal Beach to move on from her divorce but she uncovers a secret of a mystery disappearance and a getaway turns into a dark secret life or death situation. Page by page, chapter by chapter was a new twist that was so shocking that no one even saw coming. By the end, jaws will be dropped, words will be lost and just maybe, breath no breathe. We will consider adding this title to our Mystery Thriller collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
BlondeswithBooks 14 days ago
“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling book.” - Tana French If an author receives this kind of praise from Tana French, you better believe I’m going to read their book. And it did not disappoint- wow what a debut! Allison Simpson, a meteorologist, has just lost her job and her husband to another woman. She’s been crashing at her sister’s apartment when an offer comes to house-sit for a couple in Opal Beach. This feels like the first perfect opportunity to regroup and recover from her messy divorce. As she settles into her new home and meets some of the locals she learns about a young girl, Maureen Haddaway, who simply vanished thirty years ago on a summer night. Maureen was never heard from or seen again. Allison finds herself completely consumed by the mystery behind Maureen’s disappearance. When she pushes for answers from those who were closest to Maureen she gets more than she bargained for. I read this in a matter of hours- suspenseful, perfectly paced, and riveting! This is a must read for those that love mystery/crime fiction. I hope to see more from Tara Laskowski.
whatsbetterthanbooks 15 days ago
Tight, mysterious, and pacey! One Night Gone is an atmospheric, suspenseful thriller that takes us into the life of Allison Simpson, a depressed, heartbroken meteorologist who after moving to Opal Beach to house sit for the fall inadvertently gets drawn into a thirty-year-old missing persons case involving the young carnival teen, Maureen Haddaway who one day just vanished without a trace. The prose is descriptive and intense. The characters are troubled, vulnerable, and tenacious. And the plot using a past/present, back-and-forth style unravels and intertwines into a compelling, cunning tale full of deception, manipulation, familial drama, swirling emotions, violence, mayhem, and murder. Overall, One Night Gone is an eerie, sharp, ominous debut by Laskowski that highlights the selfish, scheming, desperate side of human nature and reminds us that skeletons often find their way to the surface no matter how well they are hidden or buried.
Anonymous 15 days ago
Opal Beach - Summer 1986 Maureen in a teenage girl who works for the carnival that sets up at the beach each summer. Some of the people she works with are rather rough but she enjoys making friends with some of the wealthy locals who are her age. They come to the beach with their families for the summer. One guy Maureen likes is Clay. His father owns several restaurants. But that summer Maureen disappears and is never seen again. Opal Beach - September 2015 Allison has recently lost her job as a television weather girl. She is an intelligent meteorologist. She was angry at her husband constantly flaunting his girlfriend at her and ending up mentioning his name in a derogatory manner on the air while giving a forecast which resulting in her being fired. Now, she is divorcing her husband and is looking for a place to stay for awhile while she looks for another job. After staying with her sister for awhile, she helps her get the position of house sitter for a couple with a large home on Opal Beach. The owners will be away for quite awhile and rather than worry with the hassle of renting the place, they want a house sitter for free. Of course, she has a list of things she needs to do to keep it all up which she willingly does. They also has a sweet little cat that she will be caring for. She meets some of the locals in town and learns about Maureen. She enjoys getting with some of the women and enjoying their company. When her neighbors ask her to attend the country club with them, she is surprised to find that their son is Clay, the guy who had known Maureen. She meets Tammy who had been Maureen’s best friend and she also wants to know what happened to her friend. As the story builds, Allison realizes she is getting closer to discovering what happened to Maureen…but at what cost? Someone is on to her and doesn’t want her to know the truth. Her fear increases as she wonders if they will try to stop her. There was some tension as Allison began to uncover some secrets, but I found the rest of the book to be a bit too far fetched and the plot set up to fall into place too easily. I know we are supposed to feel sorry for Maureen but I couldn’t help but think how she kept putting herself in harm’s way and messing with the wrong people. That’s definitely a way to get burned. Sorry. Not my favorite thriller. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
onemused 15 days ago
ONE NIGHT GONE is a subtle psychological thriller that hooked me from the start. We follow two women, thirty years apart. Maureen came to Opal Beach as part of a traveling carnival. Her life growing up was really difficult, and she's trying to make her own way in the world, something which is difficult due to the situations in which she finds herself. However, she's made a good friend in Tammy and a boyfriend who comes from the wealthiest family there. Thirty years later, Allison has come to Opal Beach to house sit after becoming unemployed, due to an embarrassing situation and the dissolution of her gaslighting marriage to a wealthy adulterer. Allison was a meteorologist with a great spot on local news, and now that is gone and she is a little directionless. When her sister finds this house sitting opportunity, Allison takes it to get out of her life for a little while. Once in town, she meets Tammy and learns about Maureen's disappearance thirty years before. As clues start appearing, Allison is pulled into a new investigation. In alternate chapters, we follow Maureen leading to her disappearance and learning about the troubles she encountered. The book felt like women's fiction for the first half or so, before taking on more intensity as the case heats up. Although it was a slow-burning book, I had a really hard time putting this one down. I would classify it as a light thriller, as it didn't have a lot of heart-pounding moments until the end. I will say that the end surprised me- the twists it took make sense and I loved the surprise and going back in hindsight to pick up the hints. I did not particularly like Maureen's character, but I was still invested in learning what happened to her. Engaging and lightly thrilling, this was a book I read in less than a day. Highly recommend for fans of then-and-now mysteries like THE GIRL BEFORE and/or more intense women's fiction. This was an engrossing and compelling read that surprised me with the heart-pounding ending. Please note that I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.
JHSEsq 23 days ago
One Night Gone is about two women separated by three decades. In the summer of 1985, Maureen was working with a traveling carnival group & grifting to survive, but drawn to handsome, popular Clay Bishop, whose family owns area seafood restaurants and the biggest, most ornate home in Opal Beach. And wields the most power in town. She dreams about a real relationship rather than just a summer fling, even though Clay will soon be going away to college. And she is sure that her other new friend, Tammy, also has feelings for Clay. In October 2015, Allison arrives to commence a stint as the housesitter for the Bishops' next-door neighbors. Allison enjoyed a career as a meteorologist until she learned about her husband's affair. Now she is known as the Weather Girl, the star of a viral video of the newscast during which, instead of just forecasting the weather, she suggested that her husband bring along his umbrella when slipping off with his girlfriend to their beach house getaway, telling him, "Women aren't disposable, Duke." Her on-air meltdown cost Allison her job, dignity, and home. The housesitting job represents a chance for rejuvenation, emotional recovery, and contemplation of how to get her life back on track. Shortly after Allison arrives, she meets Tammy, who runs the local coffee house, who confides that she still feels guilty about her inability to save Maureen. She insists Maureen was murdered. Lawkowski employs two first-person narratives to relate the stories of the two women. Maureen is naive, an idealistic dreamer, despite everything she has endured. Lawkowski describes Maureen's descent into dangerous, reckless behavior in heartbreaking fashion. Allison is lonely, but feels a kinship with the young woman who, like Allison, was viewed by society as disposable. She is encouraged when she discovers clues to what might have happened to Maureen. Like Maureen, Lawkowski deftly makes Allison an empathetic character -- a woman who is intelligent and accomplished, but has lost her way temporarily. Lawkowski manages to make virtually every character a suspect, injecting red herrings amid actual clues and surprising plot twists that relentlessly compel the story forward. As Maureen makes a series of bad decisions and Allison gets closer to the truth about what happened to her, the story's pace accelerates toward more than one shocking revelation and, ultimately, a jaw-dropping conclusion. But it is also a character study. The tales of Maureen and Allison unfold three decades apart but there are engrossing parallels that elevate the story. Both women have encountered challenges that have tested their strength and resolve, but neither has given up. Maureen's unrealistic attempts to find quick but lasting solutions to her problems stand in stark contrast to Allison's realistic assessment of the extent of the damage she did to her career and the embarrassment she brought upon herself with every event archived on the internet in perpetuity. Both women are guilelessly taken in by the unscrupulous persons they let into their lives, and both find themselves in danger as a result. Allison is determined to secure justice for Maureen and, in the process, redemption for herself. Betrayal, deception, and danger are at the heart of Lawkowski's plot, but empowerment, self-reliance, and second chances are the theme of One Night Gone, an impressive debut thriller. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
JulieB 26 days ago
A slightly spooky and mysteriously suspenseful thriller! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book when I saw the cover! The author does a great job of describing the setting of Opal Beach. A small town filled with excitement, beach parties and fun during the summer months. But all good things come to an end. It’s cold, dreary, and lonely when summer ends. I could feel the eerie chill in the air! Inhabited by the rich, also known as “yacht squats”, abandoning their summer homes at the end of each peak season. And the “townies”, the year-around inhabitants, who make their living catering to the summer crowd. This was a quick read...well would have been if we weren’t on vacation. My husband’s idea of vacation doesn’t include as much reading time as mine does. He wanted to act like tourists. Tara Laskowski’s debut novel and she did a great job! She captured my attention from the start, with the way she centered the story around two women, in Opal Beach 30 years apart. Randomly linked by mutual acquaintances, with deep dark, buried secrets. Maureen was my favorite character and the chapters narrated by her were the ones that kept me flipping the pages. She’s a carnival worker with big dreams. And she believes Opal Beach might be the place to make those dreams come true. My own childhood memories of carnival rides, games and food came flooding back! Pretty rough around the edges, Maureen had a big heart. Allison narrates the chapters that are told in the present. Although they weren’t quite as interesting, they were a necessary part of piecing the story together. Like Maureen, Allison has a past that she wants to keep hidden. I had my suspicions early on, and they were fairly close. There were still enough hidden twists to keep me engaged until the final reveal and I still enjoyed it. Thank you NetGalley, Graydon House and Tara Laskowski for this digital ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion! @TaraLWrites @HarlequinBooks #OneNightGone #NetGalley #GraydonHouse My Rating: 4 ⭐️’s Published: October 1st 2019 by Graydon House Pages: 352 Recommended: Yes. If you like whodunnits, with a bit of creepiness, you should enjoy this one!
mtlibrarylady 3 months ago
Contemporary murder mystery that switches narratives between present and the past. The main character, Allison, has come to a sleepy, small, coastal town just as it moves towards the off-season. As Allison meets people within the town, she learns about Maureen. A young adult girl who arrived in town more than two decades earlier, a stranger with the carnival, looking to find her way in the world. As the story moves between Maureen's life and Allison's, the suspense of what really happened to Maureen builds with a definite plot-twist in the end! Overall, I'd give this book a solid 4 stars and would recommend to anyone interested in suspenseful mystery! Thanks to Net Galley, Graydon House Publishing, and Tara Laskowski for an advanced review copy. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
Doreena Silva 3 months ago
Thank to Netgalley and Graydon House for the ARC of this E book in exchange for an honest review. I loved everything about this book! The characters meshed together but they didn't. It as a fast paced, exciting read. A definite cat and mouse game with an ending I didn't expect/see coming. I definitely will be following and reading more from this author.