2021 · ARC Copy · Crime/Thriller/Mystery/Horror · NetGalley

Book Review (old ARC): Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Title: Emma in the Night
Author: Wendy Walker

Pages: 298

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Story Perspective: Alternating First- and Third-Person
Themes: Narcissism, Family, Deception

Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Thank you to the NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Emma in the Night.


After three years of disappearance, Cass Tanner returns home with desperation in her eyes and words for the authorities to find her missing sister, Emma. The two were taken to an island years ago, and now it’s up to Dr. Winters and others to locate the island, arrest the ones who took the girls, and save Emma.

However, where crime seems trivial in this case, there is something more sinister and underhanded at play. What really happened on that island? How did the girls end up there? More importantly, will they be able to find Emma?

my review

Originally, I was given this book as ARC version (apparently) years ago. Trying to knock some of my NetGalley reads, I decided to pick this one up and give it a try!

Unfortunately, this wasn’t really my cup of tea…there were parts that I thought was interesting while others not so much. Let’s start with the positives.

My favorite part of the book was the ending. I feel as if everything that was done and said made more sense once I reached the last few chapters and it made the book a better read. Without giving too much away, the author does a nice job in wrapping things up and providing a worthwhile explanation to what happened to both Cass and Emma all those years. It made me appreciate the story more.

The author also does well in describing what a dysfunctional and unstable family the protagonists are. It made me appreciate my own family. I must say I’ve never dealt with a person quite like Cass and Emma’s mother before. Her constant need of reassurance that she’s the best mother by making the girls repeat those words to her is quite disgusting and disturbing. She would be one of those people that I would stay away from for sure. Kudos on the author for making me have this strong emotion toward one of her characters.

With that being said, the lead up to the ending was not suspenseful enough for me. I believe this has to do with the writing more than pieces of the plot provided. Not only was there repetition in what was said a number of times, but the way in which the information was given was fairly bland. Cass continually shared what she experienced on the island and her life in general in a very tell, not show fashion, which made everything scripted and dull. It would have been better if the reader got to experience what Cass experienced first hand rather than Cass stating what she remembered for literally the whole book (both on the island and her family life). In general, this style of writing made it challenging to keep my focus on the story and I pretty much looked forward to finishing it.

Overall, this wasn’t a read for me. It was mainly due to the writing style and not the story itself.

My Rating
3 out of 5 stars


For those who enjoy psychological thrillers that are told in a tell, not show style, this might be enjoyable. For those who prefer psychological thrillers that show, not tell the events of the story, you might want to try another book.

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