Out March 1, 2022
“The night was expected to bring tragedy.” So begins one of the most highly-anticipated thrillers in recent years.
It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in New Jersey, four teenagers working late at the store are attacked. Only one inexplicably survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, more teenage employees are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive.
In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who’s convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller who must delve into the secrets of both nights—stirring up memories of teen love and lies—to uncover the truth about murders on the night shift.
Twisty, poignant, and redemptive, The Night Shift is a story about the legacy of trauma and how the broken can come out on the other side, and it solidifies Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay is a compelling tale of two mass murders that occurred 15 years apart in the same town. Both events left only one survivor who remembers the murderer whispering, “Good night, sweet girl,” before they left the scene. The story focuses on discovering the truth behind what happened 15 years ago and the identity of the murderer in both cases.
What I Enjoyed:
Every once in a while, the ending is just so perfect that I have to start my review by talking about the end. And The Night Shift has just that ending – I found it clever, unexpected, and wholly satisfying. It added such a surprising twist that it will stay with me for a while to come.
I loved that this story is not solely a police procedural as all stakeholders seek to discover the truth. This led to a combination of police procedural and soft-boiled mystery that held me entranced with all of the twists and turns and secrets uncovered. There are so many jaw-dropping revelations that I never saw coming, and the only one I did notice from early on was the identity of the murderer they were trying to find.
I also enjoyed the YouTube traveler channel that was interspersed throughout the story. I find little bits of current-day media in a novel always work to add interest and ground that story in this period, as well as helping to maintain the suspended disbelief from page 1 until the end.
The narration is third-person but switches focus between the main characters. The switching is never confusing, and all pov’s are just as interesting as the other. This style of narration, coupled with the novel genre, would have typically been seen in a plot-driven story. Still, the characters are so well-developed by the switches in pov that the story is equally as character-driven as it is plot-driven and arguably solely character-driven.
What I Wish:
Technically, I can think of no wish to improve my reading experience. The Night Shift is masterfully crafted, well-developed, and, generally, a read that is impossible to put down once you start.
The characters are amazingly well-developed and layered with flaws and scars that bring them to life. I think I loved Jesse the most. Spunky, clever teens always grab my heart, and Jesse is just that and more.
Ella is the survivor of the first mass murder and has since become a counselor. She is called to help Jesse because she is uniquely qualified to understand what the girl is going through. Ella is thoughtful, accepting, and determined to figure out the truth behind these two horrible events.
Sarah Keller is an FBI agent, and I would happily follow into a series with her as the main character. She is incredibly clever and unapologetically tough and courageous, which I could not help but love and admire. Even pregnant with twins, she does not hesitate to do what is right even when dangerous.
Chris is a young lawyer who volunteered to help with Jesse’s case. He has secrets of his own that threaten to come out unless he is cautious. He comes across as someone who wants to do good in the world and doesn’t care about money or fame.
Reminds Me Of:
Something about the atmosphere and the character development reminded me of The Night Swim by Megan Goldin.
To Read or Not to Read:
If you enjoy lots of twists, turns, and jaw-dropping surprises in a story with strong, well-developed characters and a perfect ending, then The Night Sift by Alex Finlay should be at the top of your list.