Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night

""I loved it and have been raving about 'Emma in the Night' to anyone who’ll listen. " "


One night, teenage sisters Cass and Emma disappear from their affluent, suburban home. Three years later, with just the clothes on her back and no evidence of where she's been, Cass returns – without her sister.

She talks of kidnapping and isolation, and a mysterious island where the girls were held. Soon after Cass arrives home, Dr Abby Winter and Special Agent Leo Strauss of the FBI are called to visit the girl and try to find out what happened to her. Abby and Leo worked the case first time around, and Abby has always been haunted by her suspicions about the role Cass's mother, Judy, might have played in the girls' disappearance. Abby believes Judy suffers from Narcisstic Personality Disorder (NPD), a condition which causes an inflated sense of self-importance and an inability to empathise with others.

The more Abby learns about the girls' lives leading up to the night they disappeared, the more she fears discovering the truth. Because Abby knows that what went on in Cass and Emma's house is closely linked to events in her own troubled childhood. She knows too that no one can survive an experience like that; not without something inside you changing forever.

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Last year, I gave a rave review of Wendy Walker's debut novel, 'All is Not Forgotten'. There's always a question over whether an author's second novel can live up to the hype of their first. So, it was with some trepidation that I started reading 'Emma in the Night'. I'm delighted to say I wasn't disappointed. 'Emma in the Night' is a clever, complex and utterly brilliant novel. I loved it and have been raving about 'Emma in the Night' to anyone who'll listen. It's unclear what parts of Cass's story are real and what are fabrications. It's also unclear how much of her flashbacks to the time before she disappeared, might have played into what finally happened. As twist follows twist, the reader – along with Leo and Abby – is left wondering what really happened to Cass and Emma. Clearly, I cannot reveal much more without ruining the book for anyone who hasn't read it. What I can tell you is this: to plot a novel with so many twists and turns, while managing to make your story seem plausible, is a real talent. I literally raced through this novel, desperate to find out what really happened. Naturally, there's a final, horrifying twist when the reader eventually learns the truth. Again, this was completely unexpected, yet utterly believable. Once again, Walker has written a pacy crime thriller that gives you plenty to think about. This is a dark tale of family relationships and the damage inflicted by parents who put their own needs before those of their children. Wendy Walker is making quite a name for herself as the writer of clever, complex psychological thrillers. I look forward with great interest to see what she will do next. Superb.

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