The Night Before
by Wendy Walker Is a first-class psychological thriller with
a lot of twists. Interestingly the premise begins with online
dating that creates a tension-filled, suspenseful mystery.
The plot delves into childhood memories, family relationships,
secrets, lies, and betrayals.
The story alternates between three
time periods. The day of Laura Lochner's blind-date, the day
after, which has her sister, Rosie Ferro, searching for her,
and a few months earlier with Laura in therapy sessions speaking
to Dr. Kevin Brody. When Laura does not return home, Rosie
becomes worried that either something bad happened to Laura
or Laura did something terrible. She enlists the help of her
husband, Joe, and their good friend, Gabe Wallace, who has
the expertise and connections that help them search for Laura.
Walker noted, "The second half
I have been single for eleven years. Four of those years,
I did some online dating: two at the beginning and two more
recently. What came out over and over was deception. People
would create false profiles. Some of it was mild deceptions
like people lying about their age or putting up fake pictures.
Someone I knew described it as similar to a candy store. It
is hard to be committed to any particular person because there
is a constant supply of people presented as possible matches.
It allows for people to keep looking even after they have
met someone. It is also difficult to see if they are trying
to upgrade from you. I see how it has changed the definition
of a relationship. Even after there is a match, there is no
commitment. People collect 100s of face bubbles. They do not
stop and just date you to see if there is potential. For now,
I have decided to give it up."
Ever since Laura moved in with her
sister's family after a devastating break-up those around
her realize she has coping problems, a bad track record with
men, and question if she has a history of unpredictable violence.
Rosie has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled
younger sister. Unlike Laura, who is fragile and always walked
an emotional tightrope, Rosie is stable, sensible, with a
wonderful husband and child. As the older sister, she is trying
to help Laura balance her desire for all-consuming love while
thinking she is not worthy of love.
"I did not want to write Laura
as a psychopath or deranged. She is a tinderbox. I did a lot
of research on attachment disorders. She has a dark past from
her childhood and has issues regarding attachment to men.
Because she has anger issues, I want the readers to wonder
how angry could she get and are there triggers that lead her
to violence in the moment. I hope readers feel they are in
her head and are on that date with her hour by hour. On the
other hand, her sister Rosie is normal and grounded. She was
the one always loved by her dad. Toward Laura, she is a sisterly
Wendy Walker allows the reader to
go on the desperate search for Laura, as she keeps them guessing
what has happened. The fast-paced story and clever misdirection
leads to a jaw-dropping conclusion that has readers on the
edge of their seats.