EXCERPT: I’m close enough now to see. The pile of kelp is not kelp at all, and it’s not a clump of clothing. It’s a woman in a long black coat. She’s lying on her stomach, her head turned to the side, her legs at a peculiar angle, one bent backward. She’s barefoot. Her dark hair blows across her face.
I rush toward her, kneel next to her. I’m lightheaded, afraid I might faint. I try to shake her, but she doesn’t respond. A part of me pulls back, suspended outside my body, watching from a distance. Behind her, a rockslide has left a large pile of debris at the bottom of the cliff. She must have fallen. All the way down. Time slows. The world backtracks. I see her the way she was only yesterday, her magnetic smile, the black sheath dress clinging to her curves. I’m leaning over her now, shouting at her to wake up, say something, but she doesn’t move. Her cheek feels cold to the touch. Her lips are blue; her eyes have turned to clouded marble.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Beware of friends with secrets…
Imagine your closest friend utterly betraying you. Years later, when she seeks forgiveness, you invite her to your engagement party as a gesture of reconciliation. But seething hostilities rise to the surface, ruining everyone’s evening. After an awful night, your friend’s battered, lifeless body is found at the bottom of a rocky cliff.
Newly engaged Marissa Parlette is living this nightmare. She should be celebrating her upcoming wedding, but she can’t shake the image of her friend lying dead on the beach. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or did she take a purposeful step into darkness? Desperate for answers, Marissa digs deep into the events of the party. But what she remembers happening after nightfall now carries sinister implications: the ugly sniping, the clandestine meetings, the drunken flirtations. The more she investigates, the more she questions everything she thought she knew about her friends, the man she once trusted, and even herself.
MY THOUGHTS: ‘Holy Canoly Batman!’ What a ride that was!
I had previously read The Good Neighbor by A. J. Banner and really enjoyed it, but she has taken her writing to a whole new level with After Nightfall. These people have history, a very mixed bag of it. There is infidelity, lies and flirtations, jealousies and resentments, a mixed up teenager and an even younger child, the product of a broken home, and death. No wonder Marissa’s loyalties are all over the place. No wonder she sometimes doesn’t know which way is up. No wonder she doesn’t know who to trust.
I didn’t always like Marissa, but when I stopped to think about it, had I been in her shoes, I don’t know that I would have acted any differently.
At first this seems like a fairly stock standard family drama. But it slowly morphs into something deeper. Nothing is as it seems. The clues all point in different directions. The outcome is surprising. I raced through the second half of this book, unable to put it down until I had turned the final page in the early hours of this morning. I will be a definite starter for her next novel.
😍😍 😍 😍.5
THE AUTHOR: A. J. Banner grew up reading Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, and other masters of love and mystery. She enjoyed sneaking thrillers from her parents’ library, which gave her excellent fodder for her first two novels of psychological suspense, The Good Neighbor and The Twilight Wife. The Good Neighbor was a #1 Kindle bestseller for 34 days in a row, and The Twilight Wife became a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Born in India and raised in North America, she always dreamed of writing gripping stories in which nothing is what it seems. She’s hard at work on her next novel in her home office overlooking a Pacific Northwest forest.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of After Nightfall by A. J. Banner for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.
This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2283384518