Book Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker

First I saw some glowing reviews, then some not so glowing reviews, either way this book caught my attention and I had to find out for myself, what happened to Emma.

Book Description:

Two sisters vanish.
Only one comes back.

We believe what we want to believe. We believe what we need to believe.

When my sister and I disappeared three years ago, they found Emma’s car at the beach. Some people believed she had gone there to find a party or meet a friend who never showed. They believed that she’d gone for a swim. They believed that she’d drowned. Maybe by accident. Maybe a suicide.

Everyone believed Emma was dead.

As for me, well – it was not as simple as that.

My Thoughts:

If I were to sum this novel up in one phrase, it would be ‘the devil is in the details’ – Emma in the Night is extremely well plotted. As Cass tells the story of her return, you have to pay attention to the details, there’s certainly a mysterious element hidden in the details she reveals but it’s so intricately woven in, I doubt, even the most seasoned readers will figure it out. And that’s what I loved most about this novel, the pace was very slow, almost like Cass was saying, ‘pay attention, I’m explaining things slowly for a reason.’

The mystery surrounding Emma’s disappearance was the plot, but it was also so much more than that. Walker exposed this family – siblings, parents, step-parents, step-siblings, she stripped back their layers and showed us the dysfunction at the heart of this family, and this can be explained in no other way than it was extremely dark and unsettling. Again, ‘the devil is the details’, in subtle fashion, this family is exposed.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I could get on board with this slow pace, and Cass’s extremely long and detailed accounts but as the pages turned, I knew something sinister was coming, this wasn’t just an author using words to fill a novel, something dark was coming. When I reflect back on this novel, I think it was so wonderfully told – everyone loves a fast-paced, action-packed thriller but Walker has shown a slow-burner can be just as effective, how a slower pace with details in excess, can pull you into a novel just as well.

Alongside the narrative of Cass, we have that of Abby, or should I say Dr Winter, Forensic Psychologist. She consulted on the case when the girls first went missing and three years later, she is back to hopefully find out what happened. I love books that feature a forensic psychologist, I think they are a wonderful addition to any novel because, not only do they give you that expert perspective, so passionate they are, you wonder how much of their findings are a reflection of their own lives.

Emma in the Night won’t be for everyone but I urge you to take your time with this book and pay attention to it – ‘the devil is in the details’.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK

*My thanks to the publisher (HQ) for granting me access to a digital copy of this title via Netgalley*

23 thoughts on “Book Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

  1. Oh this sounds nice! One for patient readers only and what I’ve learned lately is that I am very patient :-). I don’t mind a slow burning novel as long as it delivers in the end.. and I love it even more that it’s all in the details.. Very curious now. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I was hesitant when I started seeing a few reviews complaining of its slow pace, but honestly, to sacrifice the level of detail for a faster pace, would have been a shame. Now I know the ending, I almost want to read it again and she where I missed the the clues haha

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like something I would love. Sisters, disfunctional families, and the slow pacing all sound like my jam. Plus I love when thrillers have that detailed account of the mystery, so you can actually see it unfold. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I’d have to agree the devil probably is in the details with this one but I couldn’t get far enough to figure that out…this was a DNF for me at 23%. I just couldn’t get into Cass’s retelling of the story, I’d rather be there and have action not be told about it after the fact. I’m in the minority because it’s gotten great reviews and yours is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Renee! I didn’t think this narration style would be for everyone. This is one of those book that you almost don’t realise however clever/good it is till you finish it. But 23% – at least you gave it a shot, our TBRs are too big to spend time reading books we don’t care about haha


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