That Night by Chevy Stevens

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That Night by Chevy Stevens

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Toni knows she didn't kill her sister but she's spent a lot of time in prison for it. Now she must decide whether to move on or try to clear her name in a book that's hit and miss.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: December 2014
Publisher: Sphere
ISBN: 978-0751555080

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It’s been 17 years since Toni went to prison for the murder of her sister. 17 years since she last saw her boyfriend Ryan, also convicted for the murder, since she had a meaningful conversation with her parents since she went to a coffee shop or walked on the beach. Sent down when she was still a teenager, she’s been incarcerated for virtually half of her life and though she’s now coming up for parole, it’s not as easy as simply going back to her old life from before.

This isn't a story about repentance, forgiving and personal growth, however, because Toni wasn't the one who murdered Nicole. She's done the time but not the crime, and while she wants to keep her head down and do anything to stay out of prison, Ryan has other ideas. Intent on finding out who was responsible, he starts down a dangerous path that may not end well.

This book is a bit unusual because it’s obvious from the start that Toni and Ryan were not guilty, so you're not left wondering who to believe, and really you're just a little puzzled that anyone could uphold that conviction for so long. But I did like the way it switched back and forth between two times as if the stories of before and after were being told separately (each in neat chronological order to keep it simple).

Prison is a big theme of this book, and quite a popular one off the back of Orange Is The New Black and the like. While it didn't always make for pleasant reading, these were the sections I enjoyed the most as there was good descriptive detail and I felt like I could see the surroundings in my mind. I doubt the author has spent time inside herself, but the writing seemed authentic and really brought the story to life.

Toni is not the most likeable of characters and though I didn't judge her for being a murderer (as she wasn't that) I found lots of other points on which to judge and dislike her. In the end it felt like I cared about the real criminal or criminals because I wanted to solve the mystery, but I cared far less about what it all meant for Toni and how she would end up. Far from feeling sad for her relationship with her mother, I began to sympathise with Mrs. It wasn't just this characterisation, either. I didn't really take to this book initially. The writing style at the start seemed quite childish, quite obvious, and quite grating. It seemed as though 30 something Toni was still speaking in the voice of a pre-teen, let alone the 18-year-old she was when she was locked up, and it felt more like a young adult book than a grown-up thriller. This improved as the story progressed, and by the end, I was quite stuck in, keen to find out who really had been the culprit. The reveal was… a little far-fetched. I think it wasn't so much the whodunit element, but more the brief way in which the story came to a head quite abruptly with the minimum of detail that leads me to think this. It was a long time coming and I expected more to be made of the discovery when the truth did start to emerge.

This book certainly improved as I read it but it didn't leave me wanting to read all the author’s previous works. It’s a neat formula of crime, mystery and heartbreak but it wasn't the right one for me, and in the end, I would say I could take it or leave it.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

This Little Piggy by Bea Davenport is another crime story that is an intriguing read leading you down a long path to find out whodunit. You might also enjoy Those Girls by Chevy Stevens.

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