Page Count 368
Publication date March 2022
Publisher Head of Zeus
-It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.
Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”
In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.
If I’m being honest about why I picked up this book.. the words ‘1999’ and ‘Blockbuster’ jumped out at me. Yes the funky cover and the blurb from Karin Slaughter (one of my favourite authors) compounded the decision, but at first? Nostalgia. Pure nostalgia. Only 33 and already I’ve reached the age where I long for the past! Fetch my slippers and pipe.
There are several POVs to follow here, Ella the sole survivor of the 1999 murders- now therapist to Jesse the sole survivor of the present day murders, Keller the FBI Agent and Chris who’s brother remains a fugitive wanted for the original crimes. Finlay’s choice to write The Night Shift in third makes the various threads easy to follow while neatly covering the story from all angles.
I rooted for all of the characters in The Night Shift, they don’t have a ton of development throughout the story but I didnt find any necessary, this is definitely a plot based novel. Each had their own flaws and endearing qualities, happily none of the women were stereotypical distressed damsels- actually I’d venture they were written perfectly, enough independence and fight in them without leaning into the overdone warrior women narratives we’re often presented with in modern writing.
There are secrets upon secrets in The Night Shift and the revelations explode from the final pages, answering questions you hadn’t even thought to ask. Perhaps the motive and perpetrator aren’t hard to predict but there are so many other surprises in store that I wouldn’t score down for that.
A fast paced thriller with a good hit of nostalgia for us 90s kids, I enjoyed and recommend to anyone looking for an easy afternoon read.