Title: That Night
Author: Chevy Stevens
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Release Date: January 1st, 2014
Source: Borrowed from my local library
They said she was a murderer.
They said she killed her sister.
But they lied.
As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.
Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.
Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.
But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.
I’ve read one other Chevy Stevens novels (Never Knowing), which I enjoyed, but it wasn’t until Jennie Shaw (awesome sparkly unicorn that she is) was singing Stevens’ praises that I remembered I haven’t read all of her books. And after reading That Night, it’s now my goal to read all of her books.
This book keeps the tension going from page one. As someone who is fierce about fairness and justice, I was so emotionally involved with Toni it hurt. She’s a typical teenager who ends up being the scapegoat because she isn’t “normal” (boy did I see a lot of that during my high school days) and also is being harassed and bullied by a girl gang (that, too, although thankful nobody as vicious as these girls).
I actually liked this one better than Never Knowing- it felt more engaging and full. There are characters in here you’ll despise, and ones you’ll recognize. She covered a lot of ground with the social atmosphere of prison (which I assume she researched), and even when people can’t let go of the rage part of their grief.
The audiobook narrator started out very nasally, which drove me nuts, but it eventually mellowed out and she made a believable 34/18 year old (the story flip flops in time as it goes). The mystery stayed tense until the end, and the denouement was satisfying while retaining some real-life bitterness. Just the way I like it.
I recommend it for fans of mystery and thriller that focus on a character’s messy life as much as justice and solving the case.