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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#CJSReads REVIEW: After Nightfall by A.J. Banner @LUAuthors #AJBanner

After Nightfall
by A.J. Banner

Big thanks to Lake Union Publishing for these review copies!
See what Jessica, Sam and I thought of this thriller below.

Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date:  August 7, 2018

256 Pages
Genres:  Thriller, Mystery

Beware of friends with secrets…

Imagine your closest friend utterly betraying you. Years later, when she seeks forgiveness, you invite her to your engagement party as a gesture of reconciliation. But seething hostilities rise to the surface, ruining everyone’s evening. After an awful night, your friend’s battered, lifeless body is found at the bottom of a rocky cliff.

Newly engaged Marissa Parlette is living this nightmare. She should be celebrating her upcoming wedding, but she can’t shake the image of her friend lying dead on the beach. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or did she take a purposeful step into darkness? Desperate for answers, Marissa digs deep into the events of the party. But what she remembers happening after nightfall now carries sinister implications: the ugly sniping, the clandestine meetings, the drunken flirtations. The more she investigates, the more she questions everything she thought she knew about her friends, the man she once trusted, and even herself.

My Review:

Banner has a way of just taking you right into the story.  From the very first chapter you're left with questions and it continues throughout the entire novel.

At times the writing did feel a bit rushed and not as smooth as I have seen from other books by this author.  Question. Answer. Him? Her?  The best part is that you really don't know who the killer is.  Doubts are cast on every character, which is always a fun read in my opinion.  I am a little put off by the very last chapter.  I'm not sure how I feel about it and if it was really necessary.  If you've read the book I'd love to discuss with you.

I did feel most of the scenarios were pretty realistic.  When long time friends with a bit of a sordid history come together, jealousy, paranoia with that underlying of knowing the goodness in each can make for solid story telling. 

If you're looking for a quick whodunit type of read that will keep you entertained that I think this qualifies.  

3/5 stars.

Jessica's Review:

This was my introduction to A.J. Banner - I do have THE TWILIGHT WIFE sitting on my shelves in the never-ending TBR. I will definitely be picking that one up sooner rather than later! AFTER NIGHTFALL is such a quick read at just under 300 pages, and Banner sucks you in from the first chapter. 

The dynamics of a friendship can be so different in so many ways, and the one between Lauren and Marissa is definitely a complicated one. Best friends torn apart by a betrayal that are slowly trying to rebuild their friendship and let each other in. This all changes when Marissa finds Lauren's body down on the beach. Marissa is determined to find out what truly happened that night - did Lauren jump? Did someone push her? 

The thriller and mystery genre can become very predictable at times, but Banner did a great job keeping me on my toes. Most of the time you find yourself constantly changing your mind on who it could have been. There was a growing sense of foreboding and paranoia as the story progressed which really amped up the suspense.

If you're looking for a great mystery without the police procedural, then this is the perfect choice! You'll find yourself second and third guessing yourself as you race to the end.  

I give this 4/5 stars

Sam's Review:

If I had to describe the writing of A.J Banner in a word, I would choose "hooked" because that is exactly what happens to me when I read the first page of a novel she has written. 

I read The Twilight Wife a few years back in a single sitting so I was thrilled when #cjsreads decided to buddy read her newest release, After Nightfall, for one of our August picks.   This novel was no different from The Twilight Wife in regards to the amount of time it took me to read it as I read this one in a single sitting. 
Essentially, this novel encompasses the basic plot for a noteworthy thriller.  Lying husband?  Check!  Suspicious wife?  Check!  A dead body? Check! 

I find Banner's prose to be very realistic and easy to absorb; this is probably why I am able to sit down and binge read her books.  However, I do find (and I had similar feelings with The Twilight Wife) that the conclusions are a little predictable.  I am able to predict the ending pretty early on to the plot.  Did this make After Nightfall less enjoyable?  Not for me. However, I could see that being an issue for some readers. 

I think this would be an awesome lighter, thriller to bring to the beach.  Fans of Liane Morarity or SJ Watson?  I think After Nightfall would suit your fancy just fine!

4/5 stars. 

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