In The Night by
Wendy Walker is a psychological thriller about two sisters.
This dysfunctional family adds a whole new meaning to this
Judy Martin always used her beauty and charm to manipulate
her family, requiring her daughters to flatter her to win
her affection. Threatening Judy’s fragile ego are her
daughters’ looks. Now the family’s life has been
in limbo since the two daughters have been missing for three
years. Cass, then 15, and her 17-year-old sister Emma disappeared
in the night. Only one sister resurfaces randomly, with an
outlandish story and a plea to help find her sister. According
to Cass, a couple took them from a Connecticut beach on Long
Island Sound to a remote island off the coast of Maine. The
couple kept the sisters’ captive and after finding out,
Emma was pregnant, took the baby away from her. Assigned to
investigate the disappearance three years ago are FBI forensic
psychologist Abby Winter, who also grew up with a narcissistic
mother, and her partner Agent Leo Strauss. Upon Cass’
return, Winter and Strauss must try to coax out of her details
necessary to find Emma. Abby Winter and her male partner are
desperate to find out what happened and to find Emma before
it’s too late.
This narcissistic personality disorder, the kinds of chronic
behaviors exhibited by Judy (who Cass, tellingly, thinks of
only as Mrs. Martin) damage relationships, pit sisters against
one another, and result in nearly unimaginable levels of family
dysfunction and betrayal.
The author explained, “I had in the beginning of the
book, a description of the Greek myth about Narcissus, a hunter
who was exceptionally beautiful and proud. He was so proud
that he rejected anyone who tried to love him. This eventually
killed him after he fell madly in love with himself and stared
at his reflection until he died. I then thought how narcissisticmothers
build the façade of protection to protect themselves
emotionally. I wanted to show how they lack empathy of others.
They don’t care about meeting their child’s needs.
It is only about what they want to project to the outside
world. They give their children inconsistent messaging. The
mother in this story did not have a moral conscience, but
lies and manipulates.”
Walker noted, “Cass sees bits of pieces of her mother
in Emma. Emma deviated from being vulnerable and ruthless,
to desperate and tortured. A narcissistic parent usually chooses
one sibling as the target, withdrawing of affection from the
other child. The other siblings must deal with neglect parenting.
In fact, Cass relied on Emma for parenting, looking up to
her and hiding behind her. She had to grow up pretty fast.
I would classify her as a survivor. I wrote her as flat, having
feelings but unable to express them. This story shows what
huge influences parents have on their children.”
narcissism, Wendy Walker delved into the intricacies of family
and community and the secrets and lies that surround it. There
are many twists and surprises, especially the ending that
will spin readers’ head.