Review: The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

I had this book sitting on my TBR shelf forever. While I was on vacation I knew I wanted to read a fast paced thriller/murder mystery but I didn’t really have any idea what I wanted to read or what might fit the bill. But this one kept coming up on my recommended lists in Goodreads and on Audible. Finally I gave in and picked it up on the plane ride down to Salt Lake City.

This book was an absolute perfect fit for me. It was fast paced with short chapters that advanced the plot nicely. I loved the characters and the mystery so overall it was a solid read and a good choice for a vacation read for those that prefer murder over beach reads while on vacation. Author Alex Finlay is a seasoned writer with quite a few well received thrillers under his belt and while this is my first book by him, it will NOT be my last!

I think the biggest thing that appealed to me about this book was the nostalgia factor (the original murders are set in 1999 in a video store) mixed with the now modern day copy cat murder. I knew this would be a book that I could get into quick but also set down if I needed to for something and come back to without feeling lost and that’s exactly what I got. A well written thriller that held my attention but that I could get through quickly.

Summary

It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.

Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.

Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”

In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.

Twisty, poignant, and redemptive, The Night Shift is a story about the legacy of trauma and how the broken can come out on the other side, and it solidifies Alex Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers. (summary from Goodreads)

Review

I really loved the Blockbuster Video store murder as the catalyst for this larger copy cat style thriller. The book opens with the 1999 murder and then flat forwards to modern day with an ice cream store murder that’s essentially identical to the 1999 killings. There were clearly parallels and similarities, enough to make people wonder if the same killer was responsible for both. I found the characters in the book very compelling and interesting even if I didn’t like them all that much, they made the book interesting.

Ella was the survivor form the original killings and even though her character bugged me in some ways, I thought she was the most authentic, same with Chris the now prosecutor who’s brother is the suspect from the original murders. Both had this great back story which clearly showed the effects of trauma. I loved how well they were written and I just loved reading both of their POVs. I didn’t love Agent Keller or Atticus (the young cop). I didn’t think they had as much depth and interest as the others but that’s mostly a personal preference. I think the author did a nice job creating a backstory for both Agent Keller and Atticus but I thought the backstories for Ella and Chris were much stronger and more interesting.

The mystery was well written with appropriate layers of information unfolding at just the right moment. I loved how things came together in the end. It wasn’t perfect and I did feel like the ending was a little rushed with some lingering questions surrounding the characters themselves but generally the story wrapped up well and should leave readers feeling satisfied. This was very much a book that I could pick up and set down as needed and not feel lost. I read it on the plane and when I stopped to switch flights I could easily jump back in without having that few minutes of orientation. It was fast paced and well written I think thriller fans will find a lot to enjoy with this one even if the ended was a bit rushed!

Book Info and Rating

Format: 312 pages, hardcover

Published: March 1, 2022 by Minotaur Books

ISBN: 9781250268884

Review copy provided by, personal collection, all opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: thriller, murder mystery

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