The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

The Night Shift

The Night Shift
by Alex Finlay


312 Pages

Published by Minotaur Books (1st March 2022)

Purchase From | Booktopia | Fishpond AU* | Book Depository | QBD | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK |

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My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Actual rating of 3.75

The year is 1999, and it’s new years eve. While everyone is out ringing in the new year and worrying about the effects that Y2K will have, a group of teenagers are working the closing shift at Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey. Only one of them will make it out alive. The suspect is is identified, but flees, never to be seen again. Fifteen years later, another attack happens, this time at an ice cream parlor, once again, only one teenager leaves alive. Both surviving victims claim that the same line was whispered to them as they held on for dear life “Goodnight, pretty girl”. What follows is three intersecting lives: the survivor of the Blockbuster attack who is forced to relive her worst nightmare, the FBI agent who’s determined to solve both crimes, and the brother of the original suspect who believes that the police have had it all wrong for years. What they will uncover will change their lives forever.

This was my next most anticipated read for March, and another book that bookstagram made me buy (I feel like I’m saying that a lot lately). When I read the synopsis for it, it gave me major 90s slasher vibes, thinks Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Valentine (2001 movie, but you get my drift). I was a huge fan of slashers in my teen years and this had me feeling all nostalgic and keen as pie to get into it. While I wasn’t TOTALLY disappointed, this read more like a general run of the mill crime novel, with a teeny bit of police/lawyer procedural (in parts), than the slasher I was hoping for. And that’s no ill will to the author, I feel like I had set myself up for a different book so that’s on me. This was still a pretty enjoyable read and it did keep me glued to the page.

I enjoyed the flashback scenes and the opening of the book, it’s 1999 and it’s new years eve and Y2K is coming to ruin the electronics around the world and video stores are still a thing, and it just made me all warm and fuzzy for the ‘olden days’ of my youth (dramatic, I know). This part read like the slasher I was wanting. The attack that happens fifteen years later, we didn’t get too much information about but we do get to see a fair bit of the survivors. I’ll admit, I kind of had the killer pegged pretty early on, and I feel like that’s simply because I’ve read a lot of books and I go with a gut feeling, it’s not so much that Finlay gave it away, but I was still surprised by some events that took place that were revealed in the end, so that’s a huge bonus. There was still an element of surprise which was nice.

The characters were well written, but I found I just didn’t care too much for the FBI agent’s point of view and the lawyer’s point of view was also not what kept me going, I was mostly invested in the final girls, the survivors. And I think that may be in part because I really wanted it to be written from their points of view as the stereotypical slasher movie is. I won’t say I wasn’t endeared to the FBI agent or the lawyer, because I was. I did care about them and what was going to happen to them, I just wasn’t as invested in their parts of the story.

The story itself was well written, as said above a million times, not exactly what I was expecting, and that’s okay, that’s on me, not the author. The mystery kept me guessing and a certain part of the story to do with a support, background character was so well done, it kept me glued to my seat and really had me rooting for them. I was really hoping that our original survivor got some closure for what happened to her fifteen years prior and how it changed her life, and I feel like we got that.

This was a fast paced book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I liked that we got to see the after effects of living through an event such as this, because that’s one thing you generally don’t get from the movies (unless there’s a sequel), we don’t see the way that the MC becomes effected by what happened, we don’t see the way that it impacts their life, so it was nice getting to see that in a sense here.

All in all, this was a good read, just not what I was expecting when I picked it up. If you like a good mystery/crime novel, give this one a go. There’s not too much more that I can say as I don’t want to give anything away.

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