Sunday, February 7, 2016

book review: That Night by Chevy Stevens (mystery)

I don't remember where I was or what I was doing, but I do remember the news story. It burned a hole in my heart. It happened in Canada; it happened in BC. They were a group of teenage girls and they killed a friend. I think everyone in Canada was affected by the news of Reena Verk's deathDid her murder inspire That Night by Chevy Stevens?

Book:  That Night

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Published:  2014

Book blurb:  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 s 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 the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Author bio:  Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still lives on the island with her husband and daughter. When she's not working on her next book, she's camping and canoeing with her family in the local mountains. Her debut novel, Still Missing, won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. Please visit her at

I took notes as I read...

The opening line that grabbed me and reeled me into this book...'I'd spent almost half of my life behind bars for a crime I didn't commit.' (p. 4)

I wonder how Stevens did her research for this book? Prison life seems so genuine like we're there. 

Good tip on how to handle bullying on pages 44 and 45 -- just go with the flow.

This book offers a refresher on life as a teenager. I'm sure glad I left that stage.

Visiting with her dad, while living in prison forces Toni to live in two worlds. She wanted/longed to live in one but couldn't. So she told her dad (someone she feels very close to) to stop visiting her. That must take an amazing amount of courage.

The reader gets deep inside Toni's head and the things she says about prison life--doing hard and soft time--I find applicable to life outside the cell. How much is attitude?

There is a confusing transition on page 185. First Toni is walking and then she is parking her truck.

Final quote...

She referenced some psychobabble about teen girls turning on each other, the viciousness and pack mentality that can arise, how gossip can  become truth in people's minds... She finished by saying, "Whoever the murderer is, wherever he is, he didn't just end one life that night--he ended three.' (p. 219)

Sharing my author journey...

Tuesday I spent re-writing a picture book manuscript. Inspiration woke me

at 4 Wednesday morning. The result:   a new picture book manuscript. : )

I'm enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert's new book:  Big Magic:  Creative Living Beyond Fear

You can dare to be pleased...with what you have created.... You can support other people in their creative efforts, acknowledging the truth that there's plenty of room for everyone. You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures... You can believe that you are neither a slave to inspiration nor its master, but something far more interesting--it's partner--and that the two of you are working together toward something intriguing and worthwhile... And at the end of your days, you can thank creativity for having blessed you with a charmed, interesting, passionate existence. (p. 41 - 42)