“What connects a massacre at a Blockbuster video store in 1999 with the murder of four teenagers fifteen years later?
It’s New Year’s Eve of 1999 when four teenagers working late are attacked at a Blockbuster video store in New Jersey. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, four more teenagers 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 is forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who is convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller, who must delve into the secrets of both nights to uncover the truth about the Night Shift Murders…”
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Night Shift by Alex Finlay. The Night Shift was published by Aries Fiction, part of Head of Zeus, in paperback format on 1st September 2022 and is also available in hardcover, audio and digital formats.
Something about The Night Shift really appealed to me. And I know exactly what it was. This book centres around a massacre which took place in a Blockbuster Video store on New Year’s Eve 1999, followed by a similar event which took place in an ice cream store fifteen years later. Everything you need to know about why I purchased and immediately read a copy of this book is in that previous sentence. Everything! The nostalgia called to me. And I can’t help it but books featuring serial or spree killers really intrigue me. There was no way I was going to let this one pass me by!
New Year’s Eve, 1999. The world holds its breath waiting to see if the dawn of the new millennium will result in untold technological chaos around the world. In Linden, New Jersey, tragedy strikes when the night shift staff of the local Blockbuster Video store are viciously attacked, leaving all but one of them – Ella Monroe – dead. Fifteen years later Ella has trained to become a therapist, helping others deal with trauma. So she’s the perfect person to call when a second attack, this time in a Linden ice cream store, leaves three of the night shift dead, and only one of the teens – Jesse Duvall – alive. The two attacks are so similar it’s hard to believe they’re not connected. But what is the connection? FBI Agent Sarah Keller is determined to uncover the truth…
The Night Shift is a very compelling psychological mystery with excellent characterisation, multiple intriguing points of view and a heart pounding ending. The story is told from three very different perspectives which makes for a riveting read. We have Ella who was the sole survivor of the 1999 Blockbuster attack. Ella is now a therapist helping other victims of trauma come to terms with what has happened to them. She’s also a mess, drinking and partying ’til the early hours whilst her unknowing fiancé is away from home. FBI Agent Sarah Keller is working with the local police force to find a link between the massacre in ’99 and the more recent ice cream parlour attack. I really liked Sarah and would go as far as saying she was my favourite character. However, she’s 8.5 months pregnant with twins and I can’t help but feel that were this not fiction, she wouldn’t be chasing down the bad guys and driving in high speed car chases! It’s also worth mentioning that this is the second (maybe more, I don’t know for sure) appearance Agent Keller has made in one of this author’s books but I didn’t discover that until I’d finished reading. It didn’t make a jot of difference to me. I felt the author told me everything I needed to know. There were no holes in her story. The third point of view is Chris Ford’s, formerly Chris Whitaker. Chris’s older brother, Vincent, was initially arrested for the Blockbuster attack fifteen years ago but the police let him slip through their fingers. Vincent hasn’t been seen since but could he be responsible for this latest attack? Chris is now a lawyer and is determined to find his brother and prove his innocence. The characters are all very well drawn, they’re interesting and really play their part in the story well.
Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Night Shift is a compelling mystery which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I would pick up another of this author’s books without a moment’s hesitation. In fact, I’ve already added Every Last Fear to my wish list as I’ve been told how good it is by several trusted bloggers. The Night Shift is a well-plotted, well-written tale which had me glued to the pages wondering how things were going to turn out for the characters. And what a magnificent ending! I loved it, every single nail-biting second. Marvellous stuff! The Night Shift was a fantastic introduction to an author I will make a point of reading again. Gripping, compelling and very intriguing. Recommended.
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay was published in the UK by Aries Fiction on 1st September 2022 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |
Alex Finlay is the pseudonym of an author who lives in Washington, D.C. His 2021 breakout thriller, Every Last Fear, was an Indie Next pick, a LibraryReads selection, an Amazon Editor’s Best Thriller, as well as a CNN, Newsweek, E!, BuzzFeed, Business Week, Goodreads, Parade, PopSugar, and Reader’s Digest best or most anticipated thriller of the year. Alex’s work has been translated into more than a dozen languages and optioned for film and television.