cover image The Night Shift

The Night Shift

Alex Finlay. Minotaur, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-26888-4

The pseudonymous Finlay’s strong sophomore effort (after 2021’s Every Last Fear) opens on New Year’s Eve 1999 at a Linden, N.J., Blockbuster Video store, where the manager and three teenage employees are murdered; only a fourth employee, Ella Monroe, survives. The chief suspect, high school student Vince Whitaker, disappears. Fifteen years later, the words the killer whispered as he stabbed Ella, “Goodnight, pretty girl,” still haunt her. When the Linden high school principal asks Ella, now a therapist, to counsel student Jessica Duvall, the only survivor of a copycat crime at a local ice cream store, she reluctantly agrees to do so. Thrust back into her nightmare, Ella struggles to help Jessica, who’s fixated on the Blockbuster slayings. When Jessica is charged with the ice cream store murders, her public defender has reason to conceal his own ties to Whitaker. Meanwhile, as an FBI agent and a Linden police officer investigate, small-town secrets from the past and the present start to emerge. Finlay does a fine job weaving the tangled lives and crimes together in a suspenseful tale that’s marred only by a forced conclusion. Thriller fans will eagerly await Finlay’s next. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron Priest Literary. (Mar.)