“Goodnight, pretty girl.”
Those are the last words Ella remembers before she blacked out on the night she became the lone survivor of an attempted quadruple murder at a Blockbuster Video on the eve of the new millennium. Fifteen years later, another survivor of a similar murderous spree recalls the killer saying the exact same words to her.
Ella, now a physical therapist, is enlisted to help the latest victim, Jesse, but in doing so must face her own memories of her horrific past. Ella works alongside FBI agent Sarah Keller, who is tasked with uncovering the connection between the two cases, and Chris Whitaker, the brother of the man initially accused of the 1999 slayings, to piece together the clues that will lead them to the murderer—or is it murderers?
Author Alex Finlay, whose breakout debut novel, Every Last Fear, enticed readers and critics alike, returns with the tense, edge-of-your seat thriller The Night Shift. Keller, who first appeared in Every Last Fear, shares narration duties with Ella and Chris, and Finlay does a masterful job of diving deep into each character’s thoughts and emotions in tight, fast-paced chapters. Ella’s and Jesse’s trauma is especially poignant, as is Chris’ inner turmoil over his brother’s possible involvement.
Keller works on the fringes of the local police investigation, interviewing witnesses past and present in her search for clues. The novel takes a straightforward path, and Finlay wisely does not overcomplicate an already compelling plot. Everyone from the local high school principal to the victims’ families holds potential clues, and The Night Shift’s trio of sleuths must discern what is true, who is holding back information and if (or when) the killer will strike again.
Fans of Grady Hendrix and Riley Sager will tear into this sophomore-slump-defying thriller.