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That Night

That Night, June 2014
by Chevy Stevens

St. Martin's Press
Featuring: Toni Murphy
ISBN: 1250034604
EAN: 9781250034601
Kindle: B00H6ETCUC
Hardcover / e-Book
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"A Highly Intense and Emotional Roller-Coaster Ride"

Fresh Fiction Review

That Night
Chevy Stevens

Reviewed by Susan Dyer
Posted July 25, 2014

Mystery | Suspense Psychological | Thriller Psychological

Chevy Stevens has a talent for creating gripping plot lines and books that practically demand to be read in one sitting --and THAT NIGHT is no exception. Stevens reels in her readers with quite a hook.

Toni doesn't get along with her mother and to make matters worse...she is on the wrong side of the hot girl clique at school. Shauna, head bully and pack leader, used to be Toni's BFF, but due to a squabble over a boy and Shauna's sneaky tricks, Toni is tortured daily by this girl pack of bullies. When they suddenly adopt Nicole, Toni's younger sister, the bullying becomes almost unbearable. Toni is always wrong, Nicole always right, and their mom is in constant denial of Nicole's covert activities. Then Nicole is brutally murdered and Toni's life changes forever.

Toni Murphy, now thirty-four, is released from Vancouver's Rockland Penitentiary for the murder of her younger sister, Nicole. She has maintained not only her innocence - but also that of her co-defendant and high school sweetheart, Ryan, through all this time.

THAT NIGHT is told in alternate chapters moving between the present when Toni and Ryan are both out of prison and on parole and the time of the murder seventeen years before. The difference between the narration for the two times frames is noticeable, from a scared and confused teen Toni (past) to a strong and determine women who only wants to get her life back (present). Ryan is determined to find out who really killed Nicole. At first, Toni is all for following the rules, staying away from Ryan, and doing anything she can to keep from going back to prison. But when the pattern of harassment begins again, she knows she has to find out what really happened all those years ago in order to have a real life.

THAT NIGHT is a real page-turner. I couldn't put it down until I knew what had happened. Fans of psychological mysteries will enjoy this one. THAT NIGHT is so well written, that even though it jumps back and forth between the present and the past, it is still easy to follow. Toni's life both in and out of prison is interesting, and I was pulling for her to get to live a normal life after having lost so much and been through so many struggles. THAT NIGHT is a suspenseful tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final pages. I highly recommend THAT NIGHT!

Learn more about That Night

SUMMARY

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 in That Night by Chevy Stevens, the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

ROCKLAND PENITENTIARY, VANCOUVER

MARCH 2012

I followed the escorting officer over to Admissions and Discharge, carrying my belongings in a cardboard box—a couple pairs of jeans, some worn-out T-shirts, the few things I’d gathered over the years, some treasured books, my CD player. The rest, anything I had in storage, would be waiting for me. The release officer went through the round of documents. My hand shook as I signed the discharge papers, the words blurred. But I knew what they meant.

“Okay, Murphy, let’s go through your personals.” The guards never called you by your first name on the inside. It was always a nickname or your last name.

He emptied out a box of the items I’d come into the prison with. His voice droned as he listed them off, making notes on his clipboard. I stared at the dress pants, white blouse, and blazer. I’d picked them out so carefully for court, had thought they’d make me feel strong. Now I couldn’t stand the sight of them.

The officer’s hand rested for a moment on the pair of my underwear.

“One pair of white briefs, size small.”

He looked down at the briefs, checked the tag, his fingers lingering on the fabric. My face flushed. His eyes flicked to mine, gauging my reaction. Waiting for me to screw up so he could send me back inside. I kept my expression neutral.

He opened an envelope, glanced inside, then checked his clipboard before dumping the envelope’s contents into my palm. The silver-faced watch my parents had given me on my eighteenth birthday, still shiny, the battery dead. The necklace Ryan had given me, the black onyx cool to the touch. Part of the leather cord had worn smooth from my wearing it every day. I stared at it, felt its weight in my hand, remembering, then closed my fingers around it, tucking it securely back in the envelope. It was the only thing I had left of him.

“Looks like that’s it.” He held out a pen. “Sign here.”

I signed the last of the documents, put the belongings into my box.

“You got anything to dress out in?” the officer said.

“Just these.” The officer’s eyes flicked over my jeans and T-shirt. Some inmates’ families send clothes for them to wear on their release day. But no one had sent me anything.

“You can wait in the booking room until your ride gets here. There’s a phone if you need to call anyone.”

* * *

I sat on one of the benches, boxes by my feet, waiting for the volunteer, Linda, to pick me up. She’d be driving me to the ferry and over to Vancouver Island. I had to check into the halfway house in Victoria by seventeen hundred hours. Linda was a nice lady, in her forties, who worked with one of the advocacy groups. I’d met her before, when she’d taken me to the island for my unescorted temporary absences.

I was hungry—I’d been too excited to eat that morning. Margaret, one of my friends inside, had tried to get me to choke something down, but the oatmeal sat like a lump in my stomach. I wondered if Linda could stop somewhere. I imagined a Big Mac and fries, hot and salty, maybe a milkshake, then thought of Ryan again, how we used to take burgers to the beach. To distract myself from the memory, I watched an officer bring in a new inmate. A young girl. She looked scared, pale, her brown hair long and messy, like she’d been up all night. She glanced at me, her eyes drifting from my hair, down to the tattoos around my upper arm. I got them in the joint—a thin tribal bar for each year behind bars, forming one thicker, unbroken band that circled my right biceps, embracing me.

The officer yanked the girl’s arm, pulled her to Booking.

I rubbed my hands across the top of my head. My hair was short now, the middle spiked up in a faux-Mohawk, but it was still black. I closed my eyes, remembered how it was in high school. Feathered and long, falling to the middle of my back. Ryan liked to wrap his hands in it. I’d cut it in prison after I looked in the mirror one day and saw Nicole’s hair, thick with blood, and remembered holding her broken body in my arms after we found her that night. “You ready to get out of here, Toni?” A friendly female voice.

I opened my eyes and looked up at Linda. “Can’t wait.”

She bent down and picked up one of my boxes, grunting a little as she lifted it. Linda was a small woman, not much taller than me. I was just a shorty at five feet—Margaret used to say a mouse fart could blow me over. But Linda was about as round as she was tall. She had dreadlocks and wore long flowing dresses and Birkenstocks. She was always railing at the prison system. I followed her out to her car, my box in my arms, as she chatted about the ferry traffic.

“The highway was clear all the way out to Horseshoe Bay, so we’ll make good time. We should be there around noon.”

As we pulled away, I watched the prison grow smaller in the distance. I turned back around in my seat. Linda rolled the window down.

“Phew, it’s a hot one today. Summer will be here before you know it.”

I traced the lines of my tattoos, counting the years, thinking back to that summer. I was thirty-four now and had been in custody since I was eighteen, when Ryan and I were arrested for my sister’s murder. We’d been alone with her that night, but we hadn’t heard Nicole scream. We hadn’t heard anything.

I wrapped my hand around my arm, squeezed hard. I’d spent almost half of my life behind bars for a crime I didn’t commit.

The anger never really leaves you.


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