Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the ARC copy of Emma in the Night! You can find more information about the book plus an excerpt on author Wendy Walker’s website here.
Emma in the Night will be available for purchase on August 8th. Pre-order here.
Emma in the Night is a mystery novel that features a dysfunctional family led by a narcissistic mother.
Three years ago, 17-year-old Emma and her 15-year-old sister Cass disappeared without a trace, leaving their car empty and parked at the beach. They had lived with their self-absorbed mother and step father, and visited their overly emotional father each weekend.
In the beginning, Cass returns home abruptly, without Emma. She urges the FBI to find Emma, who, according to Cass, is being held captive on an island in Maine. Cass recounts her own tale of captivity and escape to her family and the FBI. However, the details of Cass’ story don’t all add up. FBI agent Abby, an expert on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, becomes obsessed with the case and with Cass’ mother, Judy Martin’s manipulative personality. Abby eventually finds holes in Cass’ story that lead her to Emma and to a shocking, awful conclusion.
Throughout the book, Cass reflects on her relationship with her sister Emma and with their mother. She recounts how Judy Martin manipulated both of her husbands and her children, and describes the strained atmosphere that existed in the home she shared with Emma, her mother, and their step father and brother. She remembers how Emma had begun to display some of the selfish characteristics of their mother, yet always remained loyal and close to Cass.
What I liked: I definitely could not put this book down. Nearly every chapter ended on a cliffhanger, and I had no idea what would happen next. Wendy Walker (the author) is a family lawyer, so I assume she has seen dysfunctional families and perhaps parents similar to Judy Martin in her work. Also, her description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is well-researched and accurate. I finished Emma in the Night in only two sittings, and didn’t ever want to put it down.
What I didn’t like: The conclusion was too hasty for my liking, and left me confused and wanting more. The writing itself was at times repetitive and stale. However, the interesting and suspenseful plot made up for the action that the writing itself is missing. I also didn’t love the amount of abusive and (spoiler alert?) incestuous relationships featured in the book, which were treated too lightly. Because of this, I wasn’t really sure what the main age demographic for this novel is. It is told from the point of view of a young teen, but describes violent and horrific events that are more suitable for adult audiences.
Do I recommend Emma in the Night? If you love thrillers and mysterious, I definitely recommend this book. If scenes featuring rape and violence make you uncomfortable, you might want to consider that before reading. Also, if you’re interested in an accurate depiction of a parent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and the impact she has on her children, you may enjoy reading this book.
Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars