Release date: June 17, 2014
Published by: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter
As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.
Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.
Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.
But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.
What a frustrating story! Everyone was an asshole determined to make Toni's life a living hell and I wanted to slap each and every one of them. I rarely get so infuriated with fictional characters, but Stevens created a lot of believable, manipulative jerks and paired them with a protagonist who was a magnet for trouble.
The story begins with Toni's release from prison, where she was serving time for a crime that she didn't commit. The story alternates in time between her current release and the events leading to the night of her sister's murder 15 years prior. It seemed as if everyone was out to get her and she made enemies everywhere she went. Her friends were manipulated into hating her or believing her to be someone she's not. Sadly, this continues on into her adult life as well.
Ryan, Toni's boyfriend, is convicted along with her because they were the last two to be seen with her sister, Nicole. At the time this happened they were very much in love and were both working to save enough money to move out together. Ryan reappears later on in the story after Toni's release. The romantic in me was disappointed because when the two reunited the focus was solely on proving their innocence and no developments were made in their relationship.
The suspicions I had about Nicole's big secret and who her killer could be were proven correct, so the ending wasn't a big shocker. But that was fine with me because I was more interested in Toni's attempts at building a new life and the flashbacks to her time in high school.
I enjoyed That Night just as much as I did Still Missing and will continue to read (or listen to) Stevens' stories. If you're a big sci-fi & fantasy fan like me and you're looking for a change of pace, I would suggest giving one of Stevens' novels a try.