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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
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That said, parts of the story were intriguing enough to keep me reading, and a few plot twists were a little surprising. No major thrills or shocking reveals (too heavy a hand with the foreshadowing), but a pleasant enough summer vacation read.
Three years before, Cass, then 15, and her 17-year-old sister Emma disappeared in the night. According to Cass this is what happened: A man and a woman took them from a Connecticut beach on Long Island Sound to a remote island off the coast of Maine. Emma was pregnant. The couple kept the sisters captive and took the baby away from Emma. Cass escaped but without Emma and is desperate to find her.
Cass’s narrative alternates with chapters about the investigative work by FBI forensic psychologist Abigail Winter and her supervisor Special Agent Leo Strauss. Abby wonders if the sisters’ disappearance is related to their family’s troubled dynamics. The mother is a pathological narcissist, who craves to be the center of attention and sets one member against another. It reminds Abby of her own mother. She is puzzled that the usually precise Cass – who compulsively counts seconds – is vague about important details of her ordeal.
Abby convinces Leo that they must tell a lie to Judy and her second husband to find Emma. But how that turns out is not the end. There are more surprises. Like the fate of the baby who was born on the island.
Cass says at the beginning of Chapter 1: “We believe what we want to believe.” The statement reappears several times. Near the end, Abby realizes there is a truth no one wants to believe.
Author Wendy Walker, a former family lawyer, writes at home in Fairfield County, Connecticut, while raising three sons. She says in the Acknowledgements that her mother “bears no resemblance to Judy Martin.” “Emma in the Night” is Walker’s second suspense novel. Her first was “All Is Not Forgiven.” Both are humdingers. Believe me.
Most recent customer reviews
Are not in short supply. Highly recommend.
The story is based on the Tanner sisters, Emma and Cass.Read more