First dates can be murder.
"Ferociously smart." AJ Finn
"Riveting." Riley Sager
"Addictive." Liv Constantine
"Wonderfully tense." Aimee Molloy
"Irresistible." Mary Kubica
"Impossible to put down." Megan Miranda
Riveting and compulsive, national bestselling author Wendy Walker’s The Night Before “takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go” as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control.
Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.
Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.
When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…
|Publisher:||St. Martin''s Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
WENDY WALKER has worked as an attorney specializing in family law. Her novels include Emma in the Night and All is Not Forgotten. She lives in Connecticut, where she is at work on her next novel.
Read an Excerpt
Laura Lochner. Session Number One. Four Months Ago. New York City.
Laura: I don't know if this is a good idea.
Dr. Brody: It's up to you, Laura.
Laura: What if you try to fix me and I end up more broken?
Dr. Brody: What if you don't?
Laura: I'm scared to go back there. To the past. To that night in the woods. A piece is still missing.
Dr. Brody: It's up to you. Only you can decide.
Laura: It was in my hand. The weapon that killed him. But that night didn't change me. That night made me see what I've always been.
Dr. Brody: Then let's start there. Tell me about the girl you've always been.CHAPTER 2
Laura. Present Day. Thursday, 7 P.M. Branston, CT.
Lipstick, cherry red.
I choose the color because it's bright and cheerful. It's optimism in a tube. And that's exactly what I need tonight.
The guest bathroom at my sister's house is impossibly small, with slanted ceilings and a tiny oval mirror. The lipstick hovers on the edge of a pedestal sink.
I put it on first so I won't change my mind, rolling that optimism right across my lips. Next comes the concealer. Two stripes under my brown eyes, and the dark circles from weeks of insomnia disappear. Rose blush colors cheeks that have not seen the sun for far too long.
Insomniacs sleep during the day.
My sister, Rosie, gave me a pretty dress to wear. Black with tiny flowers.
Wear a dress for a change. It will make you feel pretty.
Rosie just turned thirty. She has a husband and a toddler — Joe and Mason. They have a house in the hills of Branston, six miles from downtown. And one mile from the place where all of this started. The street where we grew up. Deer Hill Lane.
Rosie says she doesn't have any occasion to wear the dress. The skirt gets in her way when she's chasing after Mason and she's too tired to do much of anything at night except grab a beer in the strip mall at the edge of town. She says this like she misses having nothing better to do than put on makeup and dresses. But really, she doesn't need the dress or the occasions to wear it, because her days are filled with bear hugs and belly laughs and sticky kisses on her face.
Her husband, Joe, doesn't care. He adores her. Even now, after thirteen years together. After growing up together on the same street. Even with Mason sleeping in their bed, and an old house in need of constant repair, and Rosie never wearing a dress.
He adores her because when they were young, she wore lots of pretty dresses for him and that's the person he still sees.
That's the kind of person I need to be tonight.
I search for my phone in a pile of towels and clothing that lie on the bathroom floor. When I do, I pull up the profile and unchain the hope. Jonathan Fields. His name sounds like a song.
Jonathan Fields. I found him on a dating website called findlove.com — an actual website. The name says everything about it. Jonathan Fields is forty. His wife left him a year ago because she couldn't get pregnant. She kept their house. He drives a black BMW.
That's what he told me.
Jonathan Fields spoke to me on the phone. He said he didn't like emails or texting because it was too impersonal. He said he hated online dating but that his friend met his fiancé on findlove.com. It was not one of those hookup apps. No swiping allowed. The profile takes an hour to build. They have to approve your photos. Jonathan Fields said it was like having your grandmother fix you up on a blind date, and this made me laugh.
Jonathan Fields said he liked the sound of it.
I liked the sound of his voice, and remembering it now actually sends a surge of warmth through my body. I feel my mouth turn up at the corners. A smile.
A fucking smile.
I told him a lot about my job, and this made it easier to tell him very little about me.
I have an impressive résumé after jumping through hoops all my life. Princeton ... an MBA from Columbia ... a job on Wall Street!
"Wall Street" is one of those terms that won't leave this world no matter how antiquated it's become. I work in Midtown, nowhere near Wall Street, which sits at the very bottom of Manhattan. And the firm I work at isn't quite as sexy as Goldman Sachs. I sit at a desk and read stuff and write stuff and hope to God it's not wrong, because other people at our firm will make trades and deals upon the advice I give. Me, a twenty-eight-year-old who needs a shrink to tell her how to behave.
Jonathan Fields works at a hedge fund downtown, so he understands about my work.
That's what he told me.
I didn't tell him about my childhood here, running wild in the woods behind our house with the neighborhood kids. Me and Rosie — and Joe, whose family lived up the street until he went to high school and they moved closer to town.
And I didn't tell him why I've stayed gone all these years.
I don't use social media, not ever, so it's not like he can check. I didn't tell him my father's last name. Lochner. Google still finds Laura Lochner and the things she did, or didn't do — they can never decide — years ago. I've used my middle name, my mother's last name, since I left this place. Heart. Laura Heart. Isn't that ironic? Named after the one thing inside me that feels broken.
Omissions are not lies.
Rosie took Joe's last name, Ferro, so there are no Lochners from our clan left in all of Connecticut.
I did tell him that I drive my sister's minivan. It's blue. And humiliating. I'm shopping for a new car, but I've just been so busy.
There's a knock at the door. I open it and find Joe looking at me sheepishly. He's still in his suit from his law office, but he's loosened his tie and undone the top button of his shirt. Joe stands six foot two and can barely see through the frame of the door without ducking. His stomach bulges at the waist of pants that have grown too small. But he still manages to be handsome.
"I'm supposed to tell you to wear the dress," Joe says, as though talking about women's clothing has just cut off his balls.
My sister's voice echoes from downstairs. "Wear the damn dress! The one I gave you!" Joe smiles and hands me the glass of bourbon he cradles in his hands. "The mouth on her, I'm telling you. Our kid is gonna be so fucked up."
I feel the smile growing and I want to cry. Joe loves my sister. She loves him. They both love Mason. Love, love, love. It's all around me, making me regret staying away so long. But then also reminding me why I have. The love is here, but it always feels just beyond my reach.
I take a sip of the bourbon.
"Yeah, well, that was a given, right? You married a Lochner," I say.
Joe rolls his eyes. Shakes his head. "I know. Is it too late to get out?"
Joe sighs. He glances at the dress hanging on the shower rod. "All right. Just wear the dress. And this guy — he'd better not be a douchebag or I will kick his ass so hard...."
I nod. "Got it. Dress. Ass kicking."
Then he adds, and my smile fades, "Are you sure you're ready for this?"
I've returned home because of a man, a breakup, and that's all they know about it. I haven't had the courage to tell them more. They're happy to have me back. More than happy. And I don't have the stomach to see that change by revealing another bad chapter in my life. The fact that they haven't pressed me for answers tells me they're expecting the worst — and that they don't really want to know. Maybe they need to believe I've changed as much as I do. Maybe we will now be a normal family because I'll stop being me.
Still, I know it must seem a bit extreme, taking a leave of absence from a competitive job, a grown woman moving in with her sister, just because of that. One breakup, and with a man they'd never met or even heard of. How serious could it have been? I feel this question seeping from Rosie's skin every second of every day.
I consider Joe's question. Am I ready for this? I look at him and shrug. "Probably not," I say.
Joe replies with sarcasm. "Awesome."
We had this same conversation before I came upstairs. Joe walked in circles, wiping counters, listening to the hum of the dishwasher, feeling satisfied that he'd put everything back in order after being at work all day. (He's neat. Rosie is not.) He's a happy hamster running on his wheel.
Just have fun. Don't make too much of it. I would walk across glass to be free for a night!
Rosie punched the side of his arm, and he sighed dramatically like he was nostalgic for his single life. They both like to do this. Rosie in the kitchen making me coffee, complaining about the long day ahead. Joe in the kitchen at night, just the two of us, each having a bourbon, pulling back his floppy black hair so I can see the receding of his hairline. Look! he says. Can't you see it! I'm balding from boredom!
But all I see is the truth. I see it when they fold Mason in their arms, or steal a kiss when they think they're alone. It's all just talk.
It's the way happy people talk when they want to make the rest of us feel better.
Our friend Gabe was over as well, lending advice. Gabe was the fourth lifelong compatriot in our childhood band of thieves. He lived right next door with his parents and older brother, until the brother went to military school and then enlisted in the army. Now Gabe lives in that same house where he grew up. He bought it from his mother after his father died and she moved to Florida.
It's odd how the three of them are all still here. Right where I left them a decade ago.
Gabe got married just last year to a woman he met through work. Melissa. She was a client of his, but he never talks about that because it's awkward and unseemly — his words. Gabe does IT forensics, sometimes for suspicious spouses like Melissa had been when they first met. He found the evidence that led to her divorce and now she's married to Gabe.
He's happy, but not the kind of happy that makes you talk shit about it. I imagine it will take more than a baby to get him there. Melissa was broken, and Gabe likes to fix things — people, especially. But Melissa is an outsider to Rosie and Joe, and to me now that I've come home. She moved here from Vermont to be with her first husband and now she's here for Gabe. It's difficult to see her in three dimensions.
It doesn't help that she is tolerated here rather than welcome, though we all try to hide it. She's tall and stick thin and that makes Rosie feel short and fat, even at five four and 130 pounds. Melissa doesn't like how much Joe swears, her back arching every time he drops the f-bomb. Which, of course, makes Joe say it more. He managed to use it four times in one sentence last week at a barbecue. And me — well, I'm a single woman with a lifetime of stories lived with her husband. She's too simpleminded to understand our friendship.
So, as Joe says every time she leaves and wants Gabe to follow, Fuck her. The band of thieves from Deer Hill Lane is a tough crowd.
Gabe stayed today, after Melissa left. He gave me a cheese-ball wink and said something encouraging like, Laura will eat this guy for lunch. She's always been fierce and fearless.
I tried to smile. But the truth is, I left a great job because a man broke my heart. Not so fierce and fearless after all, am I? Not exactly Lara Croft or Jessica Jones, kicking ass and taking names. Men falling at my feet — but I have no time for them because I have to save the world.
This talk, like the ones before it, stopped before we got to the good part. To the bad things this fierce and fearless girl has done. Right here, in this town.
Mason calls out for Joe. His voice melts my heart. Rosie probably put him up to it. I can hear her — Mason — go call for Daddy! She's enjoying a glass of wine.
Joe rolls his eyes.
"Want me to leave the bourbon?" Joe asks.
"Which one of us needs it more?" I reply.
Joe takes the bourbon and leaves me with the dress and the makeup.
And the mirror.
I did not find Jonathan Fields right away. I was a novice on findlove.com and did everything wrong. The first mistake was being honest in describing myself. I said I was independent but compromising. I preferred tequila to chardonnay,scuba diving to sunbathing,sneakers to high heels. I said I didn't know if I wanted children. Cringe.
And the worst, most colossal mistake — the pictures. They were current and unfiltered. Me on a hike with an old friend. Me playing with Mason on the front lawn. Me standing in the kitchen in a T-shirt, my mousy brown hair in a ponytail. No boobs showing, not even my poor excuse for them.
I thought they were attractive — the pictures, that is (I'm not a good judge of boobs). All of it, the entire profile, was me. The old me.
When we were just kids who ran through the woods like hooligans, thoughts of romantic love a million years away, our mother used to hold court in our kitchen. One day Rosie and I came inside undetected. I can't recall what we needed from the house, but we stopped at the foot of the kitchen door when we overheard her say my name to Gabe's mother, Mrs. Wallace. I was six, Rosie eight. They were drinking coffee.
I don't know. ... She was just born that way. Born with fists for hands. It's hard to love a girl like that.
I've never forgotten it, that expression. Fists for hands. Or the conclusion she'd come to about my fate. Rosie pulled me away, back outside, where we were free and easy. She made a joke about it, about how our mother was always wrong about everything, anyway. Rosie was trying to protect me from words that should have been hurtful, but all I remember feeling was a sense of pride that our mother had bothered to see me at all. I had always felt invisible to her.
We never spoke of it again — about how hard it was to love me. Rosie got her hands on Joe and held on to him like the golden ring at the carousel. And I rejected everything remotely feminine, beating it all away with my fists for hands. The color pink. Smiles. Dresses.
In the race for love, she learned to walk and I'm still crawling. Though she's never stopped trying to teach me.
I find my reflection in the tiny oval mirror and give it a look of admonishment. My brown eyes and mousy hair.
No, no, no.
Nope. No looking back. Lipstick, cherry red ... Old Laura woke up every morning to an empty mailbox on findlove.com. Not a wink or like or message. So, in spite of the worry Rosie hides behind smiles, she helped me change my profile and the new me got a date with Jonathan Fields.
I put on the dress, wrapping it around my body and tying it at the waist. We've always been the same size, though Rosie has boobs and curves and high cheekbones and gold highlights that light up her face. Sometime I think I willed those things away too, when I was a little girl. Still, I let myself look in the mirror and see what I knew I would see. It is pretty. I am pretty.
I put on the one pair of high heels that's not in a box in the basement. Black pumps. I can't stop now.
Dark circles erased. Lips bright red. Rosy cheeks. Pretty dress. I'm feminine and fun-loving. Smart but obedient. Ready to move into some man's life like a new piece of furniture. I look just as good in jeans as I do in a black cocktail dress. That's what men say they want. That's what women say they are.
It feels dishonest, but what I feel doesn't matter. Not tonight.
Rosie has been teaching me — how to be sexy but not sleazy. How to be smart but not intimidating.
It's a game, Laura. Do what you have to do to get the first date. Then you can be yourself. People don't know what they want until it's right in front of them.
Yes. That's true.
Joe was more pragmatic.
Men don't read the profiles. They look at the pictures and measure their hard-ons.
Sometimes I think I will lose my mind trying to understand. The shrink told me that I would find it here, at home. The answer to this question about me and men. Me and love. Why I lack the skills to find it, and why I beat it away when it finds me. Me with my fists for hands. The girl no one can love. So here I am.
Our mother was beautiful and she did everything that was asked of her. She would have killed it on findlove.com. Even so, our father left her when I was twelve. He left her, left us, for a woman who was older than our mother. A woman who didn't wear dresses. He left us and moved to Boston with her. Now our mother lives alone in California, still trying to get past that first date.
Our father's name was Richard. He hated when people called him Dick, for the obvious reason.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Night Before"
Copyright © 2019 Wendy Walker.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Laura Lochner. Session Number One. Four Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Two: Laura. Present Day. Thursday, 7 P.M. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Three: Rosie Ferro. Present Day. Friday, 5 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Four: Laura. Session Number Six. Three Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Five: Laura. The Night Before. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Six: Rosie. Present Day. Friday, 5:30 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Seven: Laura. Session Number Two. Four Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Eight: Laura. The Night Before. Thursday, 8 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Nine: Rosie. Present Day. Friday, 11 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Ten: Laura. Session Number Seven. Three Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Eleven: Laura. The Night Before. Thursday, 9 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Twelve: Rosie. Present Day. Friday, 12 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Thirteen: Laura. Session Number Nine. Two Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Fourteen: Laura. The Night Before. Thursday, 9:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Fifteen: Rosie. Present Day. Friday, 2:45 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Sixteen: Laura. Session Number Eight. Three Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Seventeen: Laura. The Night Before. Thursday, 10 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Eighteen: Rosie. Present Day. Friday, 11 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Nineteen: Laura. Session Number Eleven. Two Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Twenty: Laura. The Night Before. Thursday, 10:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Twenty-One: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 2 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Twenty-Two: Laura. Session Number Thirteen. Two Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Twenty-Three: Laura. The Night Before. Thursday, 11 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Twenty-Four: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 8:30 a.m. New York City.,
Chapter Twenty-Five: Laura. Session Number Fourteen. Seven Weeks Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Twenty-Six: Laura. The Night Before. Thursday, 11:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Twenty-Seven: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 10 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Laura. Session Number Three. Four Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Laura. The Night Before. Friday, 12 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Thirty: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 10:30 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Thirty-One: Laura. Session Number Ten. Two Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Thirty-Two: Laura. The Night Before. Friday, 12:45 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Thirty-Three: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 11 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Thirty-Four: Laura. Session Number Twelve. Two Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Thirty-Five: Laura. The Night Before. Friday, 1 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Thirty-Six: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 1 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Thirty-Seven: Laura. Session Number Fifteen. Six Weeks Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Laura. The Night Before. Friday, 1:15 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Thirty-Nine: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 1:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Forty: Laura. Session Number Five. Three Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Forty-One: Laura. The Night Before. Friday, 1:30 a.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Forty-Two: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Forty-Three: Laura. Session Number Sixteen. Six Weeks Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Forty-Four: Laura. Present Day. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Forty-Five: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 4 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Forty-Six: Laura. Present Day. Saturday, 4:15 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Forty-Seven: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 4:20 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Forty-Eight: Laura. Present Day. Saturday, 4:25 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Forty-Nine: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 4:25 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Fifty: Laura. Present Day. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Fifty-One: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Fifty-Two: Laura. Present Day. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Fifty-Three: Rosie. Present Day. Saturday, 4:32 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Fifty-Four: Laura. Present Day. Saturday, 4:35 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Chapter Fifty-Five: Laura. Before the Sessions. Five Months Ago. New York City.,
Chapter Fifty-Six: Laura. Present Day. Saturday, 10 p.m. Branston, CT.,
Also by Wendy Walker,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Oh my goodness! This book captured my attention throughout the story! I was afraid to read it at night!
Call me crazy, BUT "All is Not Forgotten", Wendy walker's first novel, was a 4 star read. I gave "Emma in the Night 5 stars because it was THAT awesome. BUT her third novel knocks it out of the park!!! Obviously Wendy Walker just gets better!! Sister drama! LOVE it! No spoilers. just READ IT!!! Thank you #NetGalley for the ARC!
I love Wendy Walker's books so I was excited to read this one. Wow! Seriously, it hooks you from the beginning and doesn't let up for one minute. Each chapter I kept thinking, "Wait. Huh?? What just happened?" Secrets, lies, obsession, internet dating...what's not to like? Plot revolves around sisters, Laura and Rosie as Laura is attempting dating life again after being dumped. But of course it's a man she met on a dating website so he's a virtual stranger, and when she goes missing after the date...well, you may think you know where this is going but I assure you that you don't! Prepare to have your head spin! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
*4.5 stars rounded up! An exciting thriller from start to finish that is very well constructed. It starts off with a short conversation between Laura Lochner and her therapist in NYC four months earlier, then switches to the present evening as Laura prepares for a first date, the connection made through an online dating service. She is currently living with her sister Rosie and her family in Branston, CT, after a bad relationship break-up. It is sort of like returning 'home' as she is surrounded by old friends and old memories. Laura has a troubled past and in many ways, has stayed trapped in her childhood. She has always felt unlovable and seems to make life choices that reenforce this belief, causing her to make the same mistakes over and over. She borrows her sister's minivan to go off on her date and promises to be back later that night but the next morning, her sister discovers that Laura hasn't yet returned and fears the worst. So the story unfolds in three ways, three timelines: through Laura's first person recounting of the evening of the date, through third person pov as Rosie desperately searches for her sister, and through tidbits of Laura's conversations with her therapist that are interspersed. Along the way, the reader begins to wonder if Laura is an unreliable narrator as more and more lies and secrets are revealed. Is she the poor girl who cannot find true love no matter how hard she tries or is she a violent murderer? For in her search, Rosie uncovers some startling family secrets as well. There are many layers to this story! I received an ebook arc of this terrific thriller from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review as well as a paper arc from Jordan Hanley @St Martin's Press. Many thanks!
3.75 stars Thanks to St Martin's Press for allowing me to read and review this book. At the center of Internet dating, Laura, never lucky in love, takes a chance - again. But upon meeting this new man, a blind date, she goes missing. Her sister, her brother in law and a childhood friend are all looking for her. They are scared for her life - but also scared of what SHE may have done. A real 'who-dun-it' mystery. Many twists and turns coming to the final outcome. Just when you think you have it figured out another twist happens.
Wendy Walker did it again! Absolutely thrilling read with believable characters and interesting premise. Thoroughly enjoyable read. Didn’t have any idea where it would go and it was a startling ending!
I've never read anything by Wendy Walker but I've heard great things about her books so I was eager to dive into one. This story follows a woman named Laura, who is preparing to go on a date with someone she met online. Her sister Rosie becomes very concerned when Laura doesn't return home the following morning and goes on a search to find out what happened to her. This book was full of twists and turns and most of the chapters ended with a small cliff-hanger that made it difficult to put down. I enjoyed the story and the twists but I felt like it wasn't very memorable. The story bounces between 3 different timelines, the night before, present day, and several months in the past. I wasn't thrilled with this format because I would really become interested in one of the timelines and have to wait to get back to it. Overall, this was a decent thriller but a bit forgettable. I received an arc from Netgalley and the publisher to review honestly. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Laura Lochner is having a difficult go of it and returns to her sister Rosie's home to get her life together. She has been unlucky in love and decides to go on a date with a man she met on an Internet dating site. When Rosie wakes the next morning and finds out her sister hasn't returned home all she can do is think the worst. There is a lot more to this story than I first thought and it has a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end. Fast and gripping read.
Laura Lochner has come home. She's on the run from a broken heart (again) and has abandoned her Wall Street job and New York City apartment, hiding out in the home of her sister, Rosie, who never left the small Connecticut town in which they grew up. Laura's life has been defined by a tragedy that occurred in her youth, and opened her up to suspicion and gossip. She has never dealt with that reality. Rather, she has been involved in a series of relationships with the wrong men. Rosie understands her sister and has always been her protector. So of course, she allows her to take up residence in the home Rosie shares with her husband, Joe, and son. Because Laura has not been completely candid about the reasons she gave up her life in New York City, Rosie is left to surmise and attempt to understand this latest chapter in her sister's troubled life. But Rosie is supportive when Laura announces that she has a date with a man she met on an internet dating site. Rosie helps her gt ready and loans Laura her car. Rosie is understandably upset the next morning when she discovers that Laura next came home the previous night. Worse, Laura is not responding to calls or texts, and Rosie has no idea how to reach the man Laura was scheduled to meet. Rosie saw his photo on the dating website, but has no way of knowing whether that picture was genuine or if he provided Laura with his real name. All Rosie knows is that her sister is missing, Rosie's vehicle has been abandoned, and the only person who might be able to help is their mutual childhood friend, Gabe, who lives next door in his boyhood home. Gabe performs IT forensics -- sometimes tracking down cheating spouses -- and offers assistance tracking calls to and from Laura's telephone, as well as the telephone's whereabouts. Author Wendy Walker relates the story of the desperate search for Laura through alternating narratives. She relates the details of Laura's sessions with a New York City psychologist, commencing four months earlier, along with Laura's present-day first-person account and a third-person present-day narrative told from Rosie's perspective. The result is extremely effective. Walker reveals details about Laura's life that she disclosed to Dr. Brody as readers go along with Laura on her blind date. The focus then switches to the frantic search for her undertaken by Rosie, Joe, and Gabe. Walker switches the story's focus as deftly-times intervals, compelling the story forward and keeping readers intrigued. Along the way she expands upon Laura's history and why she has always been the dysfunctional sister, Rosie's resentments about that and fear not that Laura has been harmed but that, perhaps, she has done something untoward to her date, and grants readers an unfettered look at Laura's feelings -- her self-recriminations, lack of confidence, and awareness of how her sister regards her. Walker deftly keeps the pace moving, providing clues to Laura's whereabouts, some of which are valid and some that prove disappointing. The suspense builds to the point that Walker reveals what happened to Laura and her location, but the focus then switches to to the desperate attempts to get to her in time. The Night Before is a creative, tautly-constructed contemporary thriller & exploration of a troubled sibling relationship. It's a smart, crisp mystery that proves first dates can be murder. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
This was a suspenseful thriller that was easy to read and kept me wanting to read.... even when it was time for bed. Definitely a great thriller that will keep you wondering what will happen next.
The Night Before is the story of Laura, who goes missing after being out on a date with a man she met online, and Rosie, her sister who is desperately trying to find her. The story is told in dual POV, alternating between Laura's date and Rosie's search for her sister. Wow, this story is captivating and the twists definitely managed to surprise me without being too out there. I feel like I could have figured them out, but I was busy looking in the other direction. There's definitely enough going on in the plot to keep you interested. The only problem I had was I wasn't sure I really cared about the characters. I found Rosie's babying of her sister annoying and I didn't believe the narrative Laura had in her head about how she sought out men who couldn't love her since she felt unloved by her dad. I think this is in part to the way that some of her background is revealed and had I learned things in a different order I would have understood Laura better. (Sorry, but Rosie is still annoying.) This was my first book by Wendy Walker and I'll definitely be reading more from her. Thanks to St Martin's Press and Netgalley for my free copy in exchange for an honest review.
This mystery thriller was okay, not terrible but not mind blowing either. Pro: I enjoyed that the author decided to give this a modern twist since it involves online dating websites. I enjoyed the first 3/4 more than the end because it was mostly centered around the online dating. Cons: I did not care for the ending. I definitely did not predict the twist at the end but it left me unsatisfied; if the book had ended how I predicted it would I probably would have liked it better. Overall a decent modern day mystery thriller and I will definitely be reading from Wendy Walker again.
Three weeks ago, Laura Lochner, reeling from a split with her current boyfriend, took a break from her job as a financial analyst in New York City and relocated to a small town in Connecticut to moved in with her sister Rosie and her family. Laura has a lamentable tract record when it comes to men as well as the accompanying emotional baggage. With Rosie’s encouragement Laura has gathered her courage and accepted an invitation for a first date from a man she met on line. Now Laura is missing and Rosie has not been able to get the police to act. She, her husband Joe and their trusted friend Gabe take it upon themselves to investigate and track Laura’s movements the previous night. As author Wendy Walker spellbindingly spools out the evening’s events the more revelations and insights into Laura’s life are divulged until the reader is caught up in this psychological roller coaster ride of secrets, misdirection and multiple timelines culminating with an ending you didn’t see coming.
Firstly, I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion. It took me a while to read this book, as I couldn't get into it, and now that I've finished it, I wonder what I was thinking! Lauren has had a difficult life. Her father left their home to be with his girlfriend when Lauren was young, and as a teenager, Lauren's boyfriend was murdered. These instances have led Lauren on a quest to find out if she is capable of being loved, and finding that perfect man to give it to her. After a messy breakup, Lauren moves back to her hometown and moves in with her sister Rosie. She goes out on a date with Jonathan Fielding, a man she met on a dating site. When Lauren doesn't return home after her date, Rosie becomes worried, knowing her sister's anger issues, and the circumstances under which her first boyfriend was killed. I felt the characters were all equally unlikable,but this was a good story which kept me guessing until the very end.
The Night Before – Wendy Walker Laura Heart is back in her Connecticut hometown after a sudden nasty break up via a text message with a man she really thought loved her. Staying with her sister and her husband, Laura has taken to online dating sites in hopes of finding love . Formerly Laura Lochner, she has changed her name because of a significant event in her teenaged years, that she wishes to leave behind her. She heads out Thursday evening to meet a man she met online and does not return home. Calls to her cellphone go to voicemail. Frantic with worry, her sister Rosie, husband Joe & childhood friend Gabe all begin a search for her. Very quickly they find the vehicle Laura was driving – but no sign of Laura. They create a fake account on the dating site Laura used, and quickly identify her scheduled date, a man named Jonathan Fields. They are also able to connect with some of his former ‘dates’ who have less than desirable stories to tell – and with still no sign of Laura, they involve the police. Now as the clock ticks, the search is on for Laura… Told from the viewpoints of Laura & Rosie, along with excerpts from Laura’s psychiatric visits several months ago, the reader is drawn into an exploration of the close relationships they all had as childhood friends, as well as Laura’s attempts to ‘be loved’, as the reader learns that not all men are nice, and not all relationships are healthy… A suspenseful, riveting, hard-to-put-down read that will have you asking yourself just how well you really know someone… I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.
I read The Night Before in a day and a half because I could not put it down! I have read other books by Wendy Walker and loved them, and this was no exception! Laura doesn't understand why she can't seem to find love. Is it her? Is it them? She recently moved back to her hometown with her sister and brother-in-law and joins a dating site. She goes on her first date in a long time...and nothing goes the way it should. And she can't seem to get past being accused of killing her ex boyfriend. This book took off fast and flew until the last page. Loved it!! Thank you #NetGalley for the ARC!
This is my first book from Wendy Walker. I was surfing Netgalley, I was looking for thrillers with mystery and suspense and since I read the author’s brief synopsis I was totally in. Twelve hours earlier, she was... Hopeful. Excited. Safe. Now she's gone. THE NIGHT BEFORE was written in multiple POVs and in dual timelines between the two sisters, Laura and Rosie. In the beginning, I thought it would be difficult to read, but the story was so well written that it made the reading flow. I was easily caught inside this intense thriller. I loved that this story was very believable. This can happen to any of us and that was pretty scary. The characters make you live the story and it’s a constant search for the truth. You build all these theories in your mind and it has a non-foreseeable twist that will leave you with an open mouth and your stomach in knots. Now I know that I can expect the unexpected with this author. Not scared enough? Let me warn you that you might have nightmares because of the intensity and because it plays with your mind. Can’t wait to read more of this author in the future.
As someone who enjoyed author Wendy Walker's prior two novels, ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN and EMMA IN THE NIGHT, I was grateful to have an opportunity to read an e-galley of her new book THE NIGHT BEFORE, coming out next May. I just checked this author's bio to see if she was a psychologist in another life (not)! I was sure she had a background in this field, so well does she write about the psychological issues affecting some of the characters in her books! THE NIGHT BEFORE starts out with brief notes from a therapy session, so we know right away that there are "issues" being dealt with by at least one of the characters. Laura Heart has returned to her hometown to live with her sister while recovering from a bad breakup. She wants to get her life back together and find love like her sister has found. But something happened in that town many years ago, when Laura was in high school, and as we continue to read, we start to wonder what kind of person Laura really is.... Non-linear timelines and dual narratives (by Laura and her sister, Rosie) are used to tell this story - with brief snippets from therapy sessions that heighten the already palpable tension.. It takes quite a bit of talent, in my opinion, for an author to hold a complex plot such as this one together in such a way that the reader feels so rewarded at the end. And, as I mentioned, the psychological issues addressed in this story are spot-on, making it a true tale of psychological suspense. Well done! Readers won't be disappointed.
I have just finished The Night Before and it was trying to killing me (in a wonderful way)!!! This is one of the best books that I have ever read. The people are great...and surprising. I couldn't put it down. I found myself sneaking off (and hiding) just in order to read another chapter. The book jumped back and forth between now and then, and it just fed my anxiety. I fell in love with Laura...maybe even identified with her a little. I was definitely surprised by the ending. This is the second book of Wendy's that I have read. The other, Emma in the Night, was also wonderful.
I started reading The Night Before on 4/30/2019 and finished it on 5/3/2019. This book is a fantastic read! I enjoyed the dual perspectives and the timeline leading up to the big reveal. There were suspense every step of the way. I like the touch on online dating and googling the other person for social media presences. There were many twists I didn’t see coming and they were all good. The focus on family, lies, and childhood friendships were interesting. This book is told in the first person point of view following Laura, 28 as she prepares to go out on a date with Jonathan whom she met through an online dating website. Laura came back to live with her sister after being away for a decade. She has trouble with finding the right guy. Laura’s view is focused on the night before the date and during the date. The alternative point of view told in third person is Rosie, 30, sister with a loving husband (childhood friend) and son. Rosie’s view is of the day after the date. Rosie is protective of Laura because she knew of Laura’s past. This book also has Laura’s sessions with her doctor starting from four months ago when she still lives in New York and it gives more backgrounds to Laura’s struggles. The Night Before is very well written and a fast paced read! This thriller is an easy read and I was hooked right from the start. It’s not too gruesome which I normally prefer to stay away from. I like Laura’s analysis of a stranger as she gets to know him and keeps track of whether he’s lying. I don’t know how she can go on the whole night and day with just alcohol in her stomach and not passed out. I like Rosie’s view, especially when she connects about herself having children to how her parents treat her and her sister when they were kids. I don’t get how if Laura thinks her past is her darkest secrets then why would she shares it so willingly to Jonathan. Overall, this book is still an enjoyable read and I highly recommend everyone to read it. Pro: fast paced, page turner, suspense, sisters, online dating, childhood friendship, Con: none I rate it 5 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
THE NIGHT BEFORE is an engaging, propulsive read featuring two sisters—one with a dark past and one who seemingly has it all together. Half of the book is told in the present day where one sister races to figure out what happened the night before … and the other half is told by the other sister, who slowly reveals the truth. This twisty novel kept me guessing until the end!
I received an advanced digital copy of this book. Thanks to Netgalley.com and St Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review. Ms. Walker has written a well crafted thiller that could easy make it's way to the big screen, so long as they change NOTHING about the story. The Night Before is a twisting ride which asks the question how well do we really know ourselves and more over how well do we know the people we love and trust. A must read, not to be missed. Add this to your TBR immediately.
4.5 stars! Wendy Walker, you have a new fan in me! This is the first I've read from this author and it won't be the last. The Night Before is about a woman who struggles with relationships. We've all been there, right? After a devastating break up, she moves back to her childhood town to live with her sister as she mentally recovers. She decides to give online dating a try. Again, we've all been there, right? I met my husband on match.com seven years ago so I can totally relate. But when she doesn't come home from her first online date, her sister will panic and desperately search to find out what happened the night before. The thing that really struck me about this book is how well the story unfolded. Wendy Walker did a fabulous job of releasing information to the reader at just the right times and places along the way so as not to reveal too much information but also to keep the story moving and exciting. While I found it a tad unbelievable that the main character would have revealed so much personal information on a first date with a stranger, I decided to look past it for the sake of entertainment. Who knows, maybe people are more open that I am with their personal information on first dates?! I really enjoyed the story being told from different perspectives. It's somewhat common in the thriller genre, but it worked really well here. And I appreciated the timeline changing from past to present and back. It added a lot of mystery to the story line and kept me guessing. There were plenty of twists in this book and I would say about 50% of them surprised me and 50% of them I saw coming. But the ones that surprised me were really shocking and unexpected. I can't say much more without giving away key plot elements, so I'll just leave it at that. This is a really solid thriller that I think a lot of people would enjoy. It is exciting, shocking, twisted, and clever. I look forward to reading future works by Wendy Walker. -I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Wendy Walker, and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to review.-