The Night Before

The Night Before

by Wendy Walker


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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…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250198679
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 40,216
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.


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 — 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 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?"

"Kind of."

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.

"Good point."

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 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 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 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.


Excerpted from "The Night Before"
by .
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

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
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,

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The Night Before 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Anonymous 2 days ago
LuvSnoop42 5 days ago
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!
Alfoster 5 days ago
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!
bamcooks 5 days ago
*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!
Anonymous less than 1 minute ago
Wow. This book was phenomenal. Laura Lochner has moved back home to live with her sister after getting her heart broken. She thinks she is ready to date again, so Laura creates an online dating profile. She is excited and nervous, but she believes she will get it right this time. And that is what she tells her sister, Rosie. Rosie wakes the next morning feeling worried. Laura is not home and she promised she would be. Where is Laura? I love how this story was written. Going back and forth between the past and present. It took me on a roller coaster ride. So many thoughts were going through my mind and I didn't have any clue what was going on. All of my suspicions were completely wrong. I would probably be a terrible detective. The alternating point of views was a great way to keep me engaged. When one chapter ended, I HAD to keep on reading it. There were so many things happening, so many wild goose chases. I felt as though I could connect to Laura in a way. Always looking for love in the wrong places. Making mountains out of molehills. She was an easy character to get behind. And Rosie was a great sister. I fell in love with these characters. Wendy Walker is great. This was the first book I have read by her, and it certainly will not be the last!
Persephonereads 2 hours ago
5.5 Stars First off I would like to thank Net Galley and St.Martins Press for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is the first novel that I have read by Wendy Walker and I really, really enjoyed this book! Just twelve hours ago Laura was excited to be going on a date with a man she met on the dating app Johnathan Fields seems like a pretty perfect match for her, handsome,intelligent and nice. Now she is missing and her sister Rosie is determined to find her before it's too late. Told in three perspectives Laura's first person starting twelve hours ago and working slowly the towards present. Rosie's third person starting from the moment she realizes that Laura is missing and notes from Laura's session with her psychiatrist. The novel hooked me from the start. I must say that the Laura parts of this book read like a play to me. I could picture every scene between Laura and Johnathon as if it was on a stage. I loved the interaction between the two characters. The tension mounts as Rosie begins to worry more and about what happened with Laura. Is she okay? Did Johnathon do something to her or did Laura do something to Johnathon? We find out that Laura has more than a few bad experiences with men in her past. Well written with interesting characters the story unwinds slowly and holds your attention. I found myself wondering the motives of each character besides Rosie. There is a chance you will figure out the twist but the reasoning behind the twist will really get you!
Jaruwa 3 hours ago
Have you ever tried online dating? Ever thought about it? Imagine your worst fears realized....then multiply by 10. Laura is a troubled woman, struggling to overcome the effects of several traumas in her past to find the love that she desperately craves. She realizes that she tends to make destructive choices in her pursuit of this love and blames herself. Others in her family also worry about her violent tendencies. After one such relationship goes bad, her life begins to fall apart and she moves back to her childhood home town, the scene of many secrets and lies between family members and friends. While living with her happily married sister, she decides to try online dating. On her first date, she meets a man who seems kind and thoughtful, but she is suspicious of everything he says and does. In the end, several people are dead and she barely escapes from a shocking and terrifying situation, but the uncovering of these secrets from her past gives her a renewed understanding and appreciation of herself. Nothing is as it seems in this twisty mystery. It kept me guessing until the end. Recommended for a fast fun read. Note: I received an advance copy of the ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
GGGeiss 10 hours ago
Do not start this book unless you have the time to devote to devouring it! And devouring it, was exactly what I did. I was hooked from the very beginning of the first chapter. I voraciously kept reading, delaying other responsibilities “calling my name,” vis a vis, life at hand! I do not want this review to contain any spoilers nor will I write about the plot, as one can glean a synopsis from the book flap or a review online. Wendy Walker is an author now on my radar. Her characters are well developed. The format is interesting and she never lost me. The plot is intriguing and mysterious. Thank you Nethalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this terrific novel.
GripLitGrl 1 days ago
This story captivated me from start to finish with a satisfying ending that was impossible to put down. No doubt this one is a 5 star must read for psychological thriller fans! Walker takes a simple first date & takes you down a wild page turning journey through the POV of two sister's filled with twist & turns from past to present leaving one sister missing & the other figuring out where her sister is & how much danger she is in. Walker defiantly comes outta nowhere with some plot twist that caught me by surprise. The story dives from past to present in short quick flowing chapters keeping the reader in suspense with each chapter. The suspense builds so much through out the book it's impossible to put down. I devoured this book in two nights, if I didn't have a job to go to the next day I would've finished in a day, it's that great of a read.
SL22268 2 days ago
Suspenseful Thank you to St. Martin's Press and the author for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Rosie and Laura are sisters - complete opposites - and have a long history with 2 other friends. Rosie has a husband and young son; Laura is trying to put her life back together. Laura is staying with Rosie and her family and has decided to give online dating a try. One night, after a blind date, Laura ends up missing. As Rosie tries to find her sister, things from the past come to light. Can they all break free from the past? Where is Laura, and will Rosie find her before it's too late? This book was told in a time sequence of the night before, and the day after. It was a good suspenseful read.
Nycol 2 days ago
The Night Before by Wendy Walker is a masterpiece of psychological suspense. Laura, who has had a troubled past, and a track record of picking the wrong men, finds herself on a dating website looking for a new start. She makes plans to meet a blind date and then, she’s gone. The Night Before is officially one of my favorite books of 2019! Wendy Walker is a genius at character building. This book has well-developed characters, great characterizations, with an amazing plot and perfectly placed shifting points of view and timelines. Can you say psychological intrigue to the second power?!? I mean, I read it in 10 hours and then purchased the audiobook because I needed to hear this as well. I’m a full-on Wendy Walker fan now! Her other book, Emma in the Night, was one of my favorite reads of 2018. Do you like suspense? Would you like to read a book that will keep you guessing? Then The Night Before is your ticket to a phenomenal journey! I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
LlamaJen 2 days ago
I didn't love or hate the book. I really looked forward to reading it because I LOVED Emma in the Night. I enjoyed the story and twists and turns. I didn't guess many of the things that happened, so the book definitely kept me in suspense. I never really loved the characters. Rosie and Joe were fine, my problem was more with Laura. The book alternates between the characters, which I didn't mind. Throughout the book I had doubts in my head about what was really going on and who was involved with everything. I didn't know if I could believe Jonathan. Plus Laura wasn't that reliable of a person and didn't make good decisions. Actually, Laura made AWFUL decisions. Ones that could lead to being kidnapped, locked in basements or being murdered. Doesn't she watch the ID Channel, Dateline or even the news? I kept shouting in my head-- Just go home! Don't take drinks from him! He's probably drugging you! (Yes, I read too many creepy books and watch too many shows on the ID Channel) Then I changed my mind and thought maybe Jonathan should be scared of Laura. She definitely seems crazy. Laura goes out on a date with a man she met online and doesn't come home the next day. Her sister, Rosie, is immediately worried that something went horribly wrong. Laura doesn't have the best track record with men or make great decisions. She recently moved into Rosie's house after a breakup with a boyfriend. That's not the worst part. When Laura was in high school she suffered a traumatic event involving a boyfriend, bat and a ton of blood. Not everyone thought she was innocent. I enjoyed the story and the writing style. I just didn't love any of the characters. I would probably give the book 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the twists and the secrets that were revealed. Was I surprised by the ending? No, not really. I had a suspicion that there had to be more to the event in high school. I was more surprised about what Joe revealed. Definitely recommend the book. It's a good mystery/ suspense. I look forward to reading more from the author. Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and the author, Wendy Walker, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
Anonymous 2 days ago
I loved Emma In The Night so I was so excited to receive an arc of Wendy Walkers latest! This book drew me in from page one and kept me guessing for most of the book. I definitely thought I had "figured it out" part way through the book, but boy was I wrong. Such a fast paced and fantastic thriller! I highly recommend it! I received an advanced copy in exchange of an honest review.
CCinME 2 days ago
Twelve hours earlier, she was... Hopeful. Excited. Safe. Now she's gone. This is the synopsis and I don't want to spoil any of the twists and turns of this fantastic psychological thriller! Wendy Walker is unique in her storytelling and always has many surprises for her readers. Very well done!
Cristine Paquette 3 days ago
I gave this book an extra star just because it was so engaging and thrilling that I read it all in one sitting! (It’s been a while since a book has sucked me in that intensely) I had to know what happened next. It’s no small feat to be able to write a book that takes place all in one day (for the most part) and even a bigger one to keep it fast paced and interesting! It combines past, present, and multiple views perfectly to be just the right amount of mysterious and yet not too confusing. The twists and turns are mildly predictable but still pleasantly surprising! Having read Emma in the Night, also by Wendy Walker, this book far exceeded my expectations! This had the same family rooted drama and mystery but was much more on the thriller side of things!
Anonymous 3 days ago
I enjoyed The Night Before more than I did Walker's Emma in the Night. Alternating timelines and viewpoints made for a fast-paced novel I devoured in a few sittings. Although, as someone who is very well-versed in the psych thriller genre, the plot did not feel entirely unique. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for this ARC.
JReppy 4 days ago
This book was great! I loved the psychological mind games. The story revolves around Laura Lochner, who returns home to small town Connecticut and is staying with her sister and her family after a breakup. However, home is a place that Laura has been largely avoiding for years because as a teenager, her first boyfriend was killed and she was found standing over him holding a bloody bat. The boyfriend's car was later found in the woods with a mentally ill homeless man living in it and he was charged with the murder, but some people had remained suspicious of Laura. Laura has been unlucky in love ever since the first boyfriend (Mitch), but while staying with her sister and family, she decides to try online dating and she agrees to a blind date with a guy named Jonathan. She fails to return from the date, which worries her sister, Rosie, who assumes that something horrible has happened -- though she worries less about what Jonathan might have done to Laura, but rather what Laura might have done to him. The story alternates between the night of the date and the day after the date, with some chapters dealing with earlier events. This alternation of the storyline between characters and events helps build the suspense, creates new questions, and adds to the overall psychological creepiness of the story. There are a number of surprising plot twists in the book; I do not want to say too much about the storyline itself because I do not want to spoil the fun for other readers. If you like psychological suspense, you will enjoy this book. I received an uncorrected proof copy via NetGalley.
Momma_Becky 4 days ago
I did something with this book that I rarely do. I finished it and then sat with it, trying to decide how I felt about the story. First of all, I will say that I didn't find the riveting thriller that's promised in the blurb, although it does eventually get thriller-like toward the end. The story jumps back and forth between Laura and Rosie, one happening in the present and one happening the night before. Then, we get snippets of therapy sessions thrown in here and there. The jumps are frequent and at times served to pull me out of the story rather than the opposite. For a large chunk of this one, we're left to wonder whether Laura is out with a psycho or if she's the one who's unhinged, which is a decent enough plot device except Laura's waffling about her date grew tedious much too soon in the story. The writing is a little too dry for the amount of tension this type of book should have, and the big reveal didn't produce the shock I think the author was going for. Once you figure out the who, which is pretty easy, the why kind of falls into place. I did finish the book, and I suppose my feelings about it are somewhere in the mid range. I didn't hate it, but it's also not one that I'll think about down the road.
OwlishReader 4 days ago
I enjoyed this very much. It wasn't perfect and there were some predictable plot points, but it was a very well done thriller. If you like the idea of Emma in the Night , also by Wendy Walker, but weren't a big fan of the execution; The Night Before would be worth giving a try. This story follows Laura, who goes on a blind date that she found via a dating site, and does not return home the following morning. It also follows Laura's sister Rosie, who Laura lives with, as she tried to piece together what happened to her sister. There is a third point of view which is snippets of therapy sessions between Laura and her therapist Dr Brody. The story is told from these three points of view where Laura's is the past, Rosie's is the present, and the therapy sessions are just randomly sprinkled in. There are other little mysteries throughout the book, particularly an incident from Laura's teen years where her boyfriend was killed and she was present but she can't remember who killed him. I enjoyed that there were lots of questions and mysterious circumstances throughout the story, as opposed to just one big mystery. I was kind of surprised by the big reveal at the end of what happened to Laura, but I wasn't completely shocked. I think that most readers would come to the same conclusion that I did by the time that the reveal is done.
Christine_QueenofBooks 4 days ago
Did one of my favorite things a mystery/thriller can do: kept me guessing! (Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an e-arc in exchange for honest review!) The story in this book unfolds in a couple ways: through flashbacks to Laura's time in therapy months prior, chapters detailing Laura's experience the night before, and chapters on the current hunt for her. Wendy Walker did a great job operating within this structure; the perspective-switching never felt too jarring or slowed the pace of the book. Some parts were more believable than others for me (that's why I'm giving it 4 stars rather than 5), but the bottom line is that I was engaged throughout. The Night Before would make a great movie, and I'm absolutely excited to read whatever Walker writes next.
ReadABookNow 5 days ago
What a great, edge-of-your-seat, twisty thriller! I read this in almost one sitting because I couldn't put it down; I just had to find out what was going on! After a bad break-up, Laura has moved in with her sister and brother-in-law, and she at last gathers her courage to try dating again. She ventures out on a date with an older man she meets through an online dating site. Her insecurities are strong, not just because of her recent break-up, but because of past traumas that she has been holding onto since childhood. She takes a chance and goes on the date anyway...and disappears. Knowing about her traumatic past, her sister Rosie and brother-in-law Joe, and childhood friend Gabe suspect the worst and try desperately to find her. Through all of this, the author leads the reader down one road and then another, always tantalizing us with details from the past as well as the present. This novel was quite the page turner, and I was kept guessing throughout as to what was going to happen - my favorite kind of thriller. Well-written, highly readable and thoroughly enjoyable! Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. A strong 4 stars
ColoradoGirl71 5 days ago
This tale from Wendy Walker is full of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. There are two sisters, Rosie and Laura, that are very different. As you might expect, one sister, Rosie, is living the typical good life – a husband and an adorable child. The other sister, Laura, is struggling to forge her place in the world and seems to be followed by bad luck with relationships. Laura has recently left her job in New York and moved back home to live with Rosie. She’s enjoying time with her nephew and reuniting with childhood friends. When Laura goes on a blind date and doesn’t come home, Rosie needs to find her, but is afraid of what she’ll discover. This tale has dual timelines that were perfectly paced, we are following Rosie on the search for Laura after the date and this is contrasted with Laura going on the date. I felt like I couldn’t wait to get to the resolution of the date, but then there was an unexpected twist! The tension builds up and ultimately wraps up very cleverly in the end. I really enjoyed the author's first book "All is Not Forgotten" so I was excited to get an early copy of this one. I missed her book “Emma in the Night” so someday I’ll get to that one as well. Thank you to NetGalley, Wendy Walker, and St. Martin's Press for my early copy of the book to read in return for a fair review.
TJReads 5 days ago
What a cat and mouse game this was. I really liked so many things about this story, first, I loved the way the author started each chapter identifying the narrator and the date and time, this kept the timeline very easy to follow. Second, I loved the short chapters and each one covered either the past or the present of the characters. This is a great mystery who done it, so many tidbits of information that keep you coming back for more. I read this one in just a couple days, totally kept my interest. Laura, the main character is a complicated individual with many issues, she is really kind of a spooky individual. Rosie, her sister is just trying to hold things together and take care of her sister. Then we have Joe and Gabe, long time friends and brother-in-law. And finally enters the main suspect, the on-line dating guy who definitely has issues to. Is Laura really a killer? Who is the bad guy? Read this gem and find out. I am happy to give this one 5 stars. I did not see the ending coming at all, very well written, just a good book. If you enjoy a well told mystery with lots of twists and turns, this is for you. I was given an advanced copy from St. Martin’s Press through Net Galley for my honest review, this one gets a high 5*****’s.
TJReads 5 days ago
What a cat and mouse game this was. I really liked so many things about this story, first, I loved the way the author started each chapter identifying the narrator and the date and time, this kept the timeline very easy to follow. Second, I loved the short chapters and each one covered either the past or the present of the characters. This is a great mystery who done it, so many tidbits of information that keep you coming back for more. I read this one in just a couple days, totally kept my interest. Laura, the main character is a complicated individual with many issues, she is really kind of a spooky individual. Rosie, her sister is just trying to hold things together and take care of her sister. Then we have Joe and Gabe, long time friends and brother-in-law. And finally enters the main suspect, the on-line dating guy who definitely has issues to. Is Laura really a killer? Who is the bad guy? Read this gem and find out. I am happy to give this one 5 stars. I did not see the ending coming at all, very well written, just a good book. If you enjoy a well told mystery with lots of twists and turns, this is for you. I was given an advanced copy from St. Martin’s Press through Net Galley for my honest review, this one gets a high 5*****’s.
CarolD59 5 days ago
The Night Before is a psychological thriller with enough suspense, twists and surprises that will keep you up reading all night. It is well written with great characters and interesting plot. The story is told with multiple points of view in the past and present by Laura and her sister Rosie. Laura is so devastated by a break up that she leaves her high profile job and moves back to her hometown and in with her sister Rosie. Rosie convinces her to try online dating. Laura had a tragic event happen when she was younger that causes her to have problems falling in love. Laura reluctantly goes on the blind date, but never returns. Rosie frantically looks for Laura. Knowing Laura's past, she wonders if Laura was hurt or if Laura hurt her date. This is the second book I have read by Wendy Walker. A must read author for me. Thank you to Wendy Walker, Netgalley, and St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this book and this is my honest review.