As Night Falls is a thriller featuring evil Nick and his very large fellow inmate, Harlan, who escape from prison then break into a remote hilltop home in northern New York State to seek refuge and get supplies to trek to Canada. If I hadn’t read the book in an advance copy earlier, I’d have wondered if Milchman had mimicked the infamous recent breakout of two inmates from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY. But no, this like Milchman’s two previous mysteries, is entirely the product of her very clever imagination. The book is, however, even more intriguing as we’re reminded of the details of the search near Dannemora when we enter As the Night Falls fictional search in the deep winter in the Adirondacks.
Much more than a simple prison escape simmers as homeowner Sandy Tremont and her husband Ben, a wilderness guide, sit down for dinner while their teen daughter, Ivy, sulks upstairs. When the escapees forcefully enter their home, neither Sandy nor Ben suspects that Nick has any connection to their family. All they see is that Nick is willing to do anything to escape and that he enjoys their terror. That large, strong Harlan willingly does everything Nick requests makes the duo even more frightening. As Nick’s link to the Tremont family is slowly revealed, he becomes even more alarming. Exposing any of the clues to their connection would diminish your enjoyment of this tale so I won't include them in this review.
The story’s third-person narration alternates between the viewpoints of escapee Nick, homeowner and counselor Sandy, and her daughter Ivy. This approach makes the relationships build gradually as the suspense simmers. It also allows secrets to remain hidden until the reader needs to know them.
It’s not often that a criminal and a dog become the stars of a book but rescue dog, McLean, known as Mac, is more than just a bystander and Harlan, is also more than his limited intellect makes him seem. Rarely does this reader spend so much of a book cheering for and hoping that a dog will survive, but Mac inspires that concern. Mac is named in honor of Edie, the wonderful rescue dog who reigns at one of my favorite places, McLean & Eakin Books in Petoskey, MI.
Milchman’s Cover of Snow was one of my favorite mysteries of 2014. Each of her three titles provides deep psychological insights, glimpses of isolation, and cunning mysteries to solve. I can’t wait to read her next one.
Summing it Up: As Night Falls is a book you’ll want to read in one sitting then think about for days. Mysteries aren’t always books you want to discuss, but Milchman’s titles make you long for a fellow reader to help you ponder the “whys” of her characters’ actions. Not only is this a mystery that will have you flipping pages to find out the conclusion, it’s also one that will make you contemplate nature and nurture. Pick this up for your book club and watch the discussion soar.
Catch Jenny Milchman on her extended US tour. She’ll be appearing, reading and signing throughout the country in the coming months. http://jennymilchman.com/tour/bring-on-the-night-2015
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Mysteries and Thrillers, Fiction, Grandma’s Pot Roast, Book Club
Publication date: June 30, 2015
Author’s Website: http://jennymilchman.com/
What Others are Saying:
Publishers Weekly: (Caution: this contains a spoiler) http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-553-39481-8