cover image The Night Before

The Night Before

Wendy Walker. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-19867-9

Financial analyst Laura Lochner, the narrator of this devilishly plotted if intermittently heavy-handed psychological thriller from Walker (Emma in the Night), has a disastrous track record with men—dating back to the murder of her first boyfriend in circumstances sufficiently murky that she fled her hometown and created a new identity for herself. A devastating recent break-up has prompted her to take a leave from her job in Manhattan and move in with her sister, Rosie, and Rosie’s family in suburban Connecticut. Three weeks after the move, Laura fails to return to Rosie’s house after her first date with a man she met online. When the police treat the disappearance as less than urgent, it’s up to Rosie, husband Joe and their lifelong best friend, Gabe, to track her down. A frantic race against the clock ensues. While the psychoanalysis of the roots of Laura’s feelings of unlovability can get tedious, Walker excels at exploiting multiple timelines and ample misdirection to maximize the suspense of her twist-filled tale. Readers will be eager to see what she comes up with next. Agent: Wendy Sherman, Wendy Sherman Assoc. Literary Management. (May)