Review: Toni Murphy's life as a teenager was probably pretty typical of what most girls experience. Except that most girls aren't convicted of the murder of their sister and sentenced to prison, in That Night, a novel of suspense by Chevy Stevens.
While in high school Toni fell in love with the city's "bad boy". He mother tried to tell her of the pitfalls of dating a boy like Ryan. But, being a teen-ager, she didn't listen to her mother. With Ryan, she skipped school, sneaked out at night to be with him, smoked pot and drank beer. Her best friend Shauna, the daughter of a police officer, eventually turned on her because of her relationship with Ryan and started a crusade, together with other "mean girls", to badger and bully her. Toni's attitude went from bad to worse as her mother began to constantly degrade her while continually praising Toni's younger sister, Nicole. But then Nicole is murdered, and Toni and Ryan are arrested and convicted of the crime. Now 34-years-old, Toni is released from Vancouver Rockland Prison after serving 15 years of her sentence. She has maintained her innocence and that of her co-defendant and high school sweet heart, Ryan, and was unwavering in her story on what happened the night she was killed. They had taken Nicole with them one night at Nicole's request, and ended up on the beach. There was no one for Nicole to hang out with, so Toni and Ryan told Nicole to stay in the truck until they returned. They had gone where they couldn't be seen to smoke a little pot, have a beer or two and make out. It was almost dawn when they awoke and returned to the truck. Nicole was gone. The found her down by the water, dead. They went to the police station immediately not realizing they would be the ones accused, arrested, and convicted of her murder. Now on parole, Toni is determined to get to the truth about what really happened that night.
In many ways, That Night is more of a character study than a murder mystery. Much of the novel is centered on Toni's life — the story is told from her perspective — and alternates in time from her high school life through her life in prison to the present, her release and search for the truth. Readers who might identify in some way with Toni's experience as the victim of bullying or the daughter of a remote mother will instantly make a connection with her and be drawn in to her quest. The mystery of what happened to Nicole doesn't really kick in until the second half, and the circumstances surrounding the murder itself come to light quite unexpectedly. Captivating and engrossing, this is a solidly crafted and written novel of suspense.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of That Night.
Acknowledgment: St. Martin's Press provided a copy of That Night for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
St. Martin's Press (Hardcover), July 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312595678; ISBN-10: 0312595670
Location(s) referenced in That Night: Vancouver, British Columbia
— ♦ —
That Night by Chevy Stevens
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: June 2014
List Price: $25.99
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites