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 Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.
Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”
In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.
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 Alex Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers.
I loved this author’s previous book, “Every Last Fear,” so I was excited when this novel came to my attention. The Night Shift is a nail-biting thriller surrounding two murder scenes: 1) the night Blockbuster employees were murdered on New Year’s Eve in 1999 with one survivor and 2) the night the crew at a local ice cream shop were killed in the same manner fifteen years later and again, with one survivor. The question is: are the two crimes related? And if so, how?
I enjoyed how the story was told via multiple POVs: Sarah Keller, the FBI agent investigating the Ice Cream Shop killings (who was also in Findlay’s previous book “Every Last Fear”), Chris, a public defender who has a connection to the suspected murder of both killings, and Ella, the sole survivor of the Blockbuster massacre. Each POV provided different angles on the cases and added an extra dimension of depth to the story as well. The author also does a fantastic job connecting all of the characters and their stories. The character development was phenomenal, and I felt an immediate connection with all of them. I found almost every character to be engaging and multi-dimensional.
With extremely clever red herrings and misdirects, Findlay brilliantly obscures the truth about what was really going on behind the scenes until the surprising and explosive ending. I enjoyed how the revelations were slowly revealed among the many twists and turns in the story, and there was no shortage of shady characters to suspect as the culprit. It’s fun how the author leads the reader to suspect everyone.
While it took a bit for the story to get going, once it did, it was fast-paced, twisty, and suspenseful, with the author continuously ratcheting up the uneasy tension. I enjoyed how the plot intertwined and disentangled quickly into an intricate tale of lies, secrets, manipulation, unexpected twists, heart-wrenching motivations, brutal violence, and deception.
All in all, The Night Shift is a well-plotted, engaging, and suspenseful page-turning thriller with captivating characters and a compelling mystery to solve. I literally had shivers down my spine while reading certain sections of the story. So if you’ve given up on thrillers because many are less than thrilling, my recommendation is to put this on your radar for its March 2022 publication date. This one just might restore your faith in the genre.
A huge thank you to Netgalley for providing a review copy of this book.