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Emma in the Night: A Novel Hardcover – August 8, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of August 2017: Wendy Walker’s last novel, All Is Not Forgotten was a gritty psychological thriller that put readers on edge with intermittent flashes of brutality. In Emma in the Night, Walker has forsworn any cringe-inducing violence and instead brought her A-game of cat and mouse. Sisters Emma and Cass disappeared one night and, three years later, Cass shows up on her mother’s doorstep with an incredible story of where they’d been and how to find her older sister. The reader very quickly realizes that the mother is as narcissistic as they come and that there is something extremely distorted and ugly going on in this family. When the detective and forensic psychiatrist who first worked the case of the girls’ disappearance are brought back to the scene, more secrets are revealed. Each chapter adds another warped layer to the story, and just when you think you’ve sorted out the villains and the victims, Walker forces you to reconsider. A memorable and highly satisfying thriller. --Seira Wilson, Amazon Book Review
Praise for Emma in the Night:
"Twisty...a thriller that keeps readers guessing." ―The New York Times
"In this searing psychological thriller...Walker's portrayal of the ways in which a narcissistic, self-involved mother can affect her children deepens the plot as it builds to a shocking finale." ―Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"A tense thriller explores the bond between sisters and family dynamics that give new meaning to the term 'dysfunctional'...This thriller aims right for the heart and never lets go." ―Kirkus, Starred Review
"Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators." ―Booklist, Starred Review
Top customer reviews
One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held.”
My description of a thriller has to include a tense and gripping plot with some action to keep me turning pages, well developed characters that I want to keep following and a great ending.
Here is why this book didn’t work for me. I felt like I was reading a psychologist’s notes on a case, a patient. If I wanted to read that I would have read non fiction which described narcissism. The story is told “to me” in dialogue and sometimes stream of consciousness. I never felt that great tingle and tense feeling of a well written thriller, I never felt that I was along for a great ride with these characters but rather I was told what happened to them.
The book focuses basically on the narcissistic mother and do nothing step father of Emma and Cass. We are told about the things that she did to the girls that definitely would have shaped the people they become and their relationships with others. This was a dysfunctional family for sure. When Cass showed up at the door her mother was shocked to see her, we don’t really find out why until the end of the book. The story that Cass tells about where she and Emma were the past three years isn’t very believable and Dr. Winters, Abby, isn’t convinced that she is telling the truth, but doesn’t know why.
I didn’t really like any of the characters very much. Emma seemed over the top narcissistic as well as her mother. Cass is in awe of her sister and basically does whatever she does, always trying to please her. The father and stepfather both come across as ineffectual parents along with their mother. The team of Dr. Winters, forensic psychologist and Leo Strauss the FBI agent had worked the case when the girls first disappeared three years before. After I read the ending, don’t worry I won’t spoil this for you, I just felt that they certainly didn’t do a very good job in the beginning because there were many signs that pointed to the outcome of this case.
I struggled to finish this book and felt that it dragged, there was no action of any kind. I did think that the ending was interesting but also not very believable.
If you like to read deeply psychological books told in dialogue and stream of consciousness then you will probably like this book. There are many positive reviews on this book, it just wasn’t for me.
I received this ARC from the publisher and Netgalley.
Most recent customer reviews
“A war had begun in our home, and it would not end until the night we disappeared. Hunter had not wanted to defeat Emma, because defeat meant the war was over.Read more