REVIEW: AFTER NIGHTFALL BY A. J. BANNER

 

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 Thoughts: After Nightfall begins with a scene in which Marissa’s old friend Lauren is flirting with her fiancé at their engagement party. After watching the scene play out, I just knew that there would be so many layers to this story, especially as we learn more about the history between Marissa and Lauren from years before.

But once Lauren is found dead, the answers will never come…or so we believe. But Marissa is determined to probe the events of that evening and the many other questionable happenings from the past forward.

Who can Marissa trust? She begins to feel betrayed by everyone, including her fiancé, and even as we start to guess the answers, we will be completely gobsmacked by the final lines of the book, which will start our questions all over again.

Marissa’s first person narrative kept me following along with great intensity, anxious for answers, sorting through possible scenarios. Even when I thought I finally had them, I suspected that there might be more to the story. I was riveted to the pages, rubbing my eyes with fatigue when I couldn’t stop reading, and in the end, I still wanted more. 5 stars.

***

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