Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker
Published August 8th, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press
Genres Mystery, Suspense
One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I have to say I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t like the alternating point of view aspect between Dr. Abby White and Cass, but I actually really loved it. It was interesting in a plot such as this to get to hear from both sides. The book is told in the present when Cass returns home after being missing for 3 years, but Cass very often tells stories from the past, both before her disappearance and what happened while she was missing, to fill in the gaps. The family dynamics in this book are amazingly disturbing, the way the mother and step-father treat the children and the games the children play with the adults. Cass calls her mother Mrs. Martin through most of the book which just gives you an idea bout how she feels about her mother. The dynamics between the parents, Emma and Cass and their step-brother Hunter, are complicated to say the least. Dr. Abby White was originally on the case when the girls went missing and had some theories that her colleagues dismissed, leaving her slightly obsessed with the case. When Cass shows back up, Abby jumps back into the investigation and ends up uncovering a great deal of secrets that the family has been keeping.
There were several plot twists in this book that I didn’t see coming and I was very impressed with those twists, as well as the way the book ended. I was afraid that hearing from Dr. Abby White’s perspective might sound clinical, but it didn’t at all and I really enjoyed hearing from her character as well, especially towards the end of the book when she starts figuring a few things out. Cass is a complicated character and it’s hard for me to fully explain without giving away any spoilers, but I also really enjoyed her character and what she has gone through. I liked the way she explained things; the way she describes people, relationships and emotions. We learn a lot about Emma, their mother Mrs. Martin, Jonathon, their step-father and their step-brother, Hunter, throughout the book as well. I felt like we got to know Emma fairly well through Cass’s retelling of stories from their past.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book; the plot twists, the author’s writing, the characters and the split perspective between Cass and Dr. Abby White. I look forward to reading more by the author in the future. Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for sending me an ARC of this book.