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Monday, May 12, 2014

And for my first trick...

It's not a trick at all, but a book review!  Now, I'm a big fan of the website Goodreads.  The nice people there do book giveaways and I've won my first advance reader's edition of a book: That Night, by Chevy Stevens. 

I'm not a stranger to Ms. Steven's writing: I read her first book, Still Missing, and loved it.  I'm actually a bit bummed to realize how long ago I read that book--so much so, I missed a few in between.  Now the folks at St. Martin's Press were kind enough to send me the advance reader's edition of this book, and I loved it! 

Here's the basic premise: a young lady is wrongly convicted of her sister's murder.  The book starts off with her release from prison on parole--she's angry and wants to find out what really happened the night her sister was murdered.  I've read some other reviews of Ms. Steven's novels, and think that some are unbelievably harsh.  Don't get me wrong--if there's something I don't like about a book, I'll put it out there so people with similar interests and preferences know ahead of time.  Nothing against Ms. Stevens, but don't go into this expecting fine literature.  I mean, we read out of necessity and for entertainment, no?  And that's what Stevens does.  She entertains.  I read this book in two sittings.  Two sittings!  That's pretty much unheard of from me nowadays, but this novel was just utterly compelling.  I could not stop. 

I'm no writer, so don't judge me for my lack of knowledge of literary terms, but this novel is not written in chronological order.  It bounces back and forth between the 90's (when the murder happened) and the present (well, 2013).  I thought Ms. Stevens did an excellent job handling it.  Normally, I have a hard time following that type of narrative (I'm reading for pleasure, for crying out loud!), but this was a piece of cake.

She also did a pretty good job of developing some of the characters, but I felt like a disproportionate amount of time might have been spent on character development versus plot development.  Maybe that's the formula for a good thriller, I don't know, but I didn't find myself rushing through them.  She created a sympathetic enough protagonist that I found myself wanting to know more about her.  That being said, the conclusion felt a bit rushed.  Granted, I was probably determined to read through it that fast anyway, but it could have lingered on a little longer, fleshed out a little bit thicker.  I didn't enjoy it any less, though. 

I'll have to go back and read the novels I missed now.  Ms. Stevens, I hope you keep writing--I know the subject is dark, but I want to keep getting lost in your Canadian world. 

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