Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Genre: mystery, suspense
Publisher: Random House Publishers
Date: July 13, 2017
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Olmedo
Fiction Addict Scorecard: C
Private Investigator Sunday Night has expertly buried a past and secrets creating an isolated life, void of meaningful relationships or feelings. But when a girl vanishes in the aftermath of a bomb and the family turns to Sunnie to track down Stella, she finds herself unable to ignore the plea.
Unsure whether she’ll find a dead body or a hostage, Sunnie must confront her own demons if she hopes to unravel the truth behind the explosion. Her investigation leads to a deadly group with a much more sinister plot in play than a kidnapped girl, and they’ll stop at nothing to see it through.
Two Nights departs from Kathy Reichs’ beloved Temperance Brennan to introduce readers to a new, tough-as-nails heroine. I generally devour her books and as a fan of Tempe, I couldn’t wait to see what Reichs delivered in this stand-alone novel. Unfortunately, it did not live up to her other work.
For the most part, readers follow the protagonist in first-person point of view (POV) as Sunnie tracks a deranged cult. Occasionally, the story breaks to a third-person POV referred to only as “she.” Here things became extremely convoluted. The story contains two characters who look alike and share painfully similar pasts — either of which could be “she.” The setup of the story, led me to believe “she” was one of those characters only to discover at the very end I was wrong. This led to major confusion, some people seemingly acting out of character, and a failure to empathize and understand the motives of others. In retrospect, I’m not sure whether her identity was vague due to the author’s failed attempt to increase the mystery and suspense or due to poor execution. Either way, the effect remained the same — a perplexing read with hard-to-connect-to characters.
Knowing what I know now and having who-is-who sorted out, I would probably enjoy the novel the second time around. Unfortunately, a reader can’t go through a book once to figure it out and a second time to actually enjoy it.
I struggled to connect with Sunnie and understand her choices and dogged pursuit that at times crossed over into recklessness until about the last ten pages when everything finally comes to light. Sadly, in a 400-page book, that comes 390 pages too late. This could have easily been remedied had some elements been handled differently.
All of this, paired with sections that dragged as characters discussed layouts, logistics, and potential attack plans often led my focus to wander. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t completely dismiss Two Nights. Fans of Reichs’ might like giving this a try. Despite a lackluster first read, I’ll probably still give it another shot down the road.