Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Ever Call an Uber? Nic Joseph's THE NIGHT IN QUESTION Changes Everything

Telling what happened when you're in the middle of it -- that's what makes it so hard when you're the victim of a crime. And Paula, driver for a car service in her "spare time" (basically, a full-time second job), might be one of the victims in THE NIGHT IN QUESTION.

Or, judging by what she's saying to the investigating detective, she might just like minding other people's business -- she's there to inform on someone she delivered to a crime scene.

Then again: Could she have played a more active role in the tragedy?

Nic Joseph's second thriller (after Boy. 9, Missing) zips in and out of times, situations, points of view. It's confusing and scary -- especially from Paula's point of view. Chronically short on sleep, desperately aware that she'll never make enough money to afford possible treatment for her husband's below-waist paralysis, mixed up about how she's fallen into a groupie role with a famous singer she'd barely known about, Ryan Hooks ... she's the most unreliable of narrators, even when she's trying hard to sort out what actually took place and how drunk she may have been. Most of all, she's in the process of realizing, thanks to her girlfriend's insight, that she's a witness to what Ryan's done off stage:
I hadn't made it up.

I wasn't delusional.

Ryan Hooks had been in my car.

"I can't believe it," Vanessa hissed as she seemingly came to the same conclusion. "It really was him! And you saw him cheating on Tiffane." She paused for a moment and then raised her eyebrows. "What are you going to do?"
Because Ryan Hooks, superstar, left his cellphone in Paula's car. Not only is that something she might return to him -- she maybe could get a reward. Not just for the phone, but for the evidence on it.

And that's how Paula steps into the scary lane of life.

It takes some patience to read THE NIGHT IN QUESTION because of the sudden and frequent shifts of point of view and timeline. But the concept of a crime that begins in a ride service is blazingly on time, and the final twists show how skilled Joseph is with plot. I wish she'd been a bit deeper on character for this one -- I never decided whether I liked Paula, actually -- but I couldn't put the book down.

Then again, I may never again be willing to try a ride service.

[Published by Sourcebooks, released this week.]

PS:  Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here. 

No comments: