Thursday, 15 June 2017

Book Review: EMMA IN THE NIGHT by Wendy Walker

Author: Wendy Walker
St Martin's Press
June 2017
Expected publication: 8 August 2017

We believe what we want to believe. We believe what we need to believe. Maybe there’s no difference between wanting and needing. I don’t know.

Book Description:

Three years ago, two teenage girls, Emma and Cass Tanner, disappeared from their home. Now, Cass has come back, but where is her sister? 

My musings:

You may find this description a bit vague, but believe me when I say that this is a book best delved into blindly to make the most of the mystery lying at its core. So if you haven’t read it yet, please tread with caution – whilst I will try and stay away from spoilers, even little innocent remarks could spoil a major aspect of the plot in this convoluted tale of lies, betrayal and family dysfunction!

Just as I was complaining that there haven’t been enough books out there lately that mess with my mind, I came across Emma in the Night and bang! I eat my words, because this is a book that has all the elements of a twisted psychological thriller. Without giving away too many clues, it is instantly obvious that Cass, the returned teenager, is a troubled soul. Can she be trusted? Have her experiences in the last three years scarred her so much that she has gone crazy, like her mother is claiming (a mother, who Cass calls “Mrs Martin” – go figure)? And what is really going on in the Martin household? These are the questions forensic psychologist Abby Winter is asking herself as she is frantically trying to untangle Cass’ story in a race against time to find her older sister Emma.

Personality disorder and dysfunctional families feature prominently in this dark and disturbed tale, which leads the reader down a path so windy and tangled that one can never quite see the way out of the thorny thicket that is the story of Emma and Cass’ disappearance. Told in part in Cass’ own voice, and partly from the viewpoint of Dr Winter, I was never quite sure who I could believe or trust – which made the story quite intriguing for me! I admit that at times I struggled with the web of family dynamics, which are disturbing to say the least, and which carried a large part of the story.

“Aren’t I a good mother? The best mother you could ever want?”

With some confronting images, this is not for the faint of heart! And although the book is brimming with unlikeable characters, the author’s extensive knowledge of narcissistic personality disorder presents them as three-dimensional personalities, making the tale all the more chilling in its premise.


Emma in the Night is a twisty and disturbing tale focusing on family dysfunction, personality disorder and the effects of childhood trauma. With many of the elements that make for a riveting psychological thriller, Walker delivers a story that will stay with you long after the final page has been turned. Highly recommended to lovers of the genre who like a story where nothing is quite as it seems.


I have always liked the expression “rude awakening”. It’s one of those perfect expressions that says everything about something in very few words.

Life feels too strong to go away without some kind of agony.

The truth is, nothing really matters unless we decide it matters.

Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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