Emma in the Night

Emma in the Night

by Wendy Walker
4.1 50

Hardcover

$5.98 $26.99 Save 78% Current price is $5.98, Original price is $26.99. You Save 78%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Get it by Friday, July 20 , Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details

Overview

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten, a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back...

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

Bestselling author Wendy Walker returns with another winning psychological thriller, Emma in the Night.

Praise for Emma in the Night:

"Twisty...a thriller that keeps readers guessing." —The New York Times

"In this searing psychological thriller...Walker's portrayal of the ways in which a narcissistic, self-involved mother can affect her children deepens the plot as it builds to a shocking finale." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"A tense thriller explores the bond between sisters and family dynamics that give new meaning to the term 'dysfunctional'...This thriller aims right for the heart and never lets go."Kirkus, Starred Review

"Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators." —Booklist, Starred Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594918448
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 31,520
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

WENDY WALKER has worked as an attorney specializing in family law. Her novels include Four Wives, Social Lives, and All is Not Forgotten. She lives in Connecticut where she is at work on her next novel.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Cassandra Tanner — Day One of My Return

We believe what we want to believe. We believe what we need to believe. Maybe there's no difference between wanting and needing. I don't know. What I do know is that the truth can evade us, hiding behind our blind spots, our preconceptions, our hungry hearts that long for quiet. Still, it is always there if we open our eyes and try to see it. If we really try to see.

When my sister and I disappeared three years ago, there was nothing but blindness.

They found Emma's car at the beach. They found her purse inside, on the driver's seat. They found the keys in the purse. They found her shoes in the surf. Some people believed she had gone there to find a party or meet a friend who never showed. They believed that she'd gone for a swim. They believed that she'd drowned. Maybe by accident. Maybe a suicide.

Everyone believed Emma was dead.

As for me, well — it was not as simple as that.

I was fifteen when I disappeared. Emma would never have taken me to the beach with her when I was fifteen. She was a senior in high school and I was a nuisance. My purse was in the kitchen. Nothing of mine was found at the beach. None of my clothes were even missing from the house, according to my mother. And mothers know things like that. Don't they?

But they found my hair in Emma's car and some people clung to this, even though I had been in her car countless times. They clung to it anyway because if I had not gone to the beach with Emma, if I had not drowned in the ocean that night, maybe running in to save her, then where was I? Some people needed to believe I was dead because it was too hard to wonder.

Others were not so sure. Their minds were open to the possibility of a bizarre coincidence. One sister drowned at the beach. One sister run away, or perhaps abducted. But then ... runaways usually pack a bag. She must have been abducted. But then ... bad things like that didn't happen to people like us.

It had not been an ordinary night, and this fueled the coincidence theories. My mother told them the story in a way that captivated audiences and gathered enough sympathy to quench her thirst for attention. I could see it in her eyes as I watched her on the news channels and talk shows. She described the fight between me and Emma, the shrill screaming and crying of teenage girls. Then the silence. Then the car leaving the property after curfew. She'd seen the headlights from her bedroom window. Tears were shed as she told the story, a collective sigh echoing throughout the studio audience.

Our lives were pulled apart in search of answers. Social media, friends, text messages and diaries. Everything was scrutinized. She told them how we had been fighting about a necklace. I bought it for Emma for the start of school. Her senior year! That's such a special time. Cass was jealous. She was always so jealous of her sister.

This was followed by more tears.

The beach faces the Long Island Sound. There is not much of a current. At low tide, you have to walk a long while to get in over your knees. At high tide, the water rolls so gently, you can hardly feel its pull against your ankles, and your feet don't sink into the sand with every wave the way they do at the beaches up the coast that face the Atlantic. It is not easy to drown at our beach.

I remember watching my mother on the TV, words coming out of her mouth, tears coming out of her eyes. She had bought new clothes for the occasion, a tailored suit, dark gray, and shoes by an Italian designer who she told us was the best and a statement of our status in the world. I could tell by the shape of the toe. She had taught us a lot about shoes. I don't think it was because of the shoes that everyone wanted to believe her. But they did. I could feel it coming through the television.

Perhaps we crumbled under the pressure at our private school. Maybe it was some kind of suicide pact. Maybe we'd filled our pockets with rocks and walked slowly into our watery graves like Virginia Woolf.

But then, where were our bodies?

It took six weeks and four days for the story to stop leading the news shows. My celebrity mother went back to being plain old Judy Martin — or Mrs. Jonathan Martin, as she preferred to be called — formerly Mrs. Owen Tanner, formerly Judith Luanne York. It's not as complicated as it sounds. York was her maiden name before she took the names of her two husbands. Two husbands are not a lot of husbands these days.

Emma and I came from the first one — Owen Tanner. Emma was named after my father's mother, who died of a bad heart when he was seventeen. My name, Cassandra (Cass for short), came from a baby book my mother had. She said it sounded like the name of someone important. Someone people admired. Someone people envied. I don't know about any of that. But I remember her brushing my long hair in front of her bathroom mirror, admiring me with a satisfied smile.

Look at you, Cassandra! You should never be without a mirror to remind yourself how beautiful you are.

Our mother never told Emma she was beautiful. They were too much alike for words of affection to pass between them. Praising someone who looks the same or acts the same or is wearing the same clothes is like praising yourself and yet it doesn't feel that way. Instead it feels diminishing, like that other person has stolen praise that should have come your way. Our mother would never allow Emma to steal something as valuable as praise.

But she said it to me. She said I had the best of both gene pools. She was very knowledgeable about these things — things like how children got blue eyes or brown eyes or math brains or music brains.

By the time you have children, Cassandra, you might be able to choose nearly every trait! Can you imagine? Oh, how different my life could have been if those scientists had worked a little faster! [sigh].

I didn't know what she meant then. I was only seven. But when she brushed my hair like that, when she shared her secret thoughts, I listened with great interest because it would fill me with joy from my toes to my eyebrows and I never wanted it to end.

But it always did. Our mother knew how to keep us hungry for her.

When we were young like that, she would ask us if she was pretty, the prettiest girl we'd ever seen, and if she was smart, the smartest woman we'd ever known, and then, of course —

Am I a good mother? The best mother you could ever want?

She always smiled big and wide eyed when she asked. And when we were young, Emma and I, we would tell her yes in our most sincere voices. She would gasp, shake her head and finally squeeze us so hard, like the excitement at being so wonderful was too much to contain, like she had to wring it from her body with some kind of physical exertion. After the squeezing came a long sigh to exhale the excitement she'd freed from her bones. The excitement would exit her body on hot breath and fill the entire room, leaving her quietly satisfied.

Other times, when she was sad or angry at the world for being cruel to her, for not seeing how special she was, we would be the ones to say it, knowing it would bring her back from her dark place.

You're the best mother in the whole wide world!

And we believed it, Emma and I, when we were young like that.

I remember these moments in bits and pieces that won't fit together anymore, like sections of shattered glass that have been weathered, their edges smoothed. Strong arms squeezing hard. The smell of her skin. She wore Chanel No. 5, which she told us was very expensive. We were not allowed to touch the bottle, but sometimes she would hold it for us while we inhaled the fragrance from the top of the sprayer.

Other fragments contain the sound of her voice as she screamed and thrashed around on her bed, tears wetting the sheets. Me hiding behind Emma. Emma staring quietly, studying her, making calculations. Waking up to our mother's elation. Waking up to her despair. I remember, too, this feeling I would have. It is not attached to any particular moment. It's just a memory of a feeling. Opening my eyes each morning, fearful because I had no idea what awaited us that day. If she would hug us. If she would brush my hair. Or if she would cry into her sheets. It was like trying to pick your clothes without even knowing what season it was, winter or summer.

When Emma was ten and I was eight, our mother's spell started to fade in the bright light of the outside world — the real world, where she was not that pretty, or that smart, or that good a mother. Emma had begun to notice things about her and she would tell me when she felt like it.

She was wrong, you know. It didn't matter what followed, whether it was some opinion our mother had about another mother from our school, or a fact about George Washington, or what kind of dog had just crossed the road. What mattered was that she was wrong, and every time she was wrong, our voices grew less sincere when we answered her.

Aren't I a good mother? The best mother you could ever want?

We never stopped saying the word. Yes. But when I was eight and Emma was ten, she knew we were lying.

We were in the kitchen that day. She was mad at our father. I can't remember why.

He has no idea how lucky he is! I could have any man I want. You girls know that! My girls know.

She busied herself with some dishes. Faucet on. Faucet off. The dish towel fell to the floor. She picked it up. Emma stood on the other side of a giant island. I stood beside her, my shoulder tucked in next to hers, and I leaned toward her so I could disappear behind her body if I needed to. Emma felt so strong to me then, as we waited to see which season it would be. Whether it would be summer or winter.

Our mother started to cry. She turned to look at us.

What did you say?

Yes. We answered as we always did when she asked us if she was the best mother.

We walked to her side, waiting for our hug and the smile and the sigh. But none of that came. Instead, she pushed us both away, one hand on my chest and one hand on Emma's. She studied our faces incredulously. Then she gasped, breath going in, not out.

Go to your rooms. Right now!

We did as we were told. We went to our rooms. I tried to talk to Emma, I remember asking her as we walked upstairs, Emma storming and me scurrying, What did we do? But Emma talked about our mother only when she wanted to — when she had something to say. The story of our mother would be written by her, and her alone. She pushed my hand from her arm and told me to shut up.

We did not get any dinner. Or any hugs. Or any kisses good night. The price for these things, for our mother's affection, went up that night and in the years that followed. The things we had to say and do to convince her of our admiration inflated the more we said and did them — inflated and also changed so that her love became scarce.

A few years later, when I was eleven, I looked up my name, Cassandra, when I saw it in a book about myths. It actually comes from Greek mythology, the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy: "Cassandra had the gift of prophecy but the curse that her prophecies would never be believed." I stared at my computer screen for a long time. My mind had run away. Suddenly, the entire Universe made sense and it was all centered around me, how my mother had given me this name, but really it must have been fate. Fate, or God, or whatever — he had entered my mother's mind and put this name in her head. He knew what was coming. He knew that I would predict the future and that no one would believe me. Children have a way of believing in fantasies. I now know that my mother naming me Cassandra and what happened to us was nothing more than a random concurrence ofevents. But at the time, when I was eleven, I felt responsible for all that would happen.

That was the year of my parents' divorce. That was the year I told them what I knew — that I could see what was going to happen. I told them that Emma and I should not live with our mother and her new boyfriend, Mr. Martin, and his only child — a son named Hunter.

My parents' divorce was not a surprise to me. Emma said she wasn't surprised either, but I didn't believe her. She cried too much for that to be true. Everyone thought Emma was tough, that nothing bothered her. People were always wrong about Emma because she could react to upsetting things with an unsettling hardness. She had dark hair, like our mother, and her skin was very soft and pale. When she was a teenager, she discovered bright red lip gloss and dark black eye shadow, and how she could hide behind them like paint covering a wall. She would wear short skirts and tight sweaters, mostly black turtlenecks. I don't have just one word to describe how I saw her. She was beautiful, severe, tortured, vulnerable, desperate, ruthless. And I admired her and envied her and drank in every moment she would give any piece of herself to me.

Most of the pieces were small. Many of them were meant to hurt me or exclude me or win points with our mother. But sometimes, when our mother was asleep and the house was quiet, Emma would come to my room and crawl into my bed. She would get under the covers and lie very close to me, and, sometimes, she would wrap her arms around me and press her cheek into my shoulder. It was then that she would tell me things that fed me and kept me warm and made me feel safe even when I woke up to our mother's winter mood. Someday it will just be the two of us, Cass. You and me and no one else. I can remember her smell, the warmth of her breath, the strength of her arms. We'll go wherever we want and we'll never let her in. We won't even care anymore. I can still hear her voice, my sister whispering to me in the night. I love you, Cass. When she said these things to me, I thought nothing could ever touch us.

I let Emma convince me to betray our mother during the divorce. She could see the next move of every player on the board. She could change their course by changing her own. She was responsive, adaptable. And she was never committed to any particular outcome except her own self-preservation.

Cass, we need to live with Daddy. Don't you see? He will be so sad without us. Mom has Mr. Martin. Dad only has us. Do you understand? We have to do something and do it now! Or it will be too late!

Emma didn't have to tell me this. I understood all of it. Our mother's boyfriend, Mr. Martin, moved into our father's house the second our father moved out. His son, Hunter, went to boarding school, but he lived with us when he came home for vacations and weekends, and he came home a lot. Mr. Martin's ex-wife had moved to California a long time before we ever knew them. Mr. Martin was "semiretired," which meant he'd made a lot of money and now played a lot of golf.

I could see that our mother never loved our father, Owen Tanner. She ignored him so glaringly and with such indifference that it became difficult just to look at him, to look at the pain that radiated from his body. So, yes, our father was sad.

I told Emma that I could see our father's sadness. What I didn't tell Emma was that I could see other things as well. I could see the way Mr. Martin's son looked at Emma when he came home from school, and the way Mr. Martin looked at his son looking at Emma, and the way our mother looked at Mr. Martin when he was looking at them. And I could see that this was going to result in a bad future.

But seeing the future is a worthless gift if you don't have the power to change it.

And so when the woman from the court asked me, I said I wanted to live with my father. I said that I thought things would be bad in our house with Mr. Martin and his son. I think Emma was surprised by my courage, or perhaps taken aback at what she perceived to be her influence over me. In any case, when I made this move on the board, she adjusted her course and sided with our mother, sealing forever her position as the most favored child. I never saw it coming. Everyone believed her and no one believed me because I was only eleven and Emma was thirteen. And because Emma was Emma and I was me.

Our mother was irate because the people I had told this to could have made it so that we didn't have to live with her. How could she be the best mother in the world if she didn't have any children left? When she finally won, I found out just how angry she was.

After everything I've done for you! I knew you never loved me!

She was wrong about that. I did love her. But she never brushed my hair again.

And don't ever call me Mother again! To you, I'm Mrs. Martin!

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Emma in the Night"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Wendy Walker.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
One: Cassandra Tanner — Day One of My Return,
Two: Dr. Abigail Winter, Forensic Psychologist, Federal Bureau of Investigation,
Three: Cass,
Four: Dr. Winter,
Five: Cass,
Six: Dr. Winter,
Seven: Cass,
Eight: Dr. Winter,
Nine: Cass — Day Two of My Return,
Ten: Dr. Winter,
Eleven: Cass — Day Three of My Return,
Twelve: Dr. Winter,
Thirteen: Cass,
Fourteen: Dr. Winter — Day Four of Cass Tanner's Return,
Fifteen: Cass,
Sixteen: Dr. Winter,
Seventeen: Cass,
Eighteen: Dr. Winter — Day Five of Cass Tanner's Return,
Nineteen: Cass,
Twenty: Dr. Winter,
Twenty-One: Cass — Day Six of My Return,
Twenty-Two: Dr. Winter — Day Seven of Cass Tanner's Return,
Twenty-Three: Dr. Winter,
Twenty-Four: Cass,
Acknowledgments,
Also by Wendy Walker,
About the Author,
Copyright,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Emma in the Night 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. A great read. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very intriguing and interesting, definitely kept me turning pages!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great read with lots of surprises around each corner. There were some details that were a little muddled and confusing at times, but careful rereading usually works them out.
aimlyss More than 1 year ago
Wow, talk about pulling the rug out from under you. I did not see the main twist coming whatsoever! There were so many along the way, but one (and you will know if you have read the book), was super messed up. This is the story of two sisters that disappeared on the same night when they were 15 and 17. One reappears a few years later and the search is on to find the still missing sister. Emma in the Night is told from the point of view of the returning sister (Cass) and an FBI agent assigned to the case (Abby), both of which suffered under mothers with Narcissist Personality Disorder. I can't say much without giving away the story, but believe me when I say this book will have you wondering what in the world is going on and when you think you have it figured out, you will realize you were wrong all along.
GratefulGrandma 11 months ago
Cass and her older sister, Emma, disappeared one night and after three years they are still missing. That is, until Cass knocks on her family's door alone. What happened to Emma? The FBI are called back in with the same investigators as there used three years ago. One of them is forensic psychologist, Abby, leading the interviews. Mrs. Martin is a narcissistic,a self-involved mother who pits her daughters against one another. However, this whole family is a bit dysfunctional. The two sisters have an overprotective half-brother, a whiny, ineffectual father, an out-of-control stepbrother and a stepfather that likes to cross personal boundaries within the family. Coincidentally, Abby the expert, grew up with a sister, too, and their own mother was a textbook narcissist. She knows firsthand what Cass and Emma may have been dealing with at home. The entire story is told in alternating, sometimes confusing narrators. There is a first person narrative coming from Cass and a third person narrative from Abby. I must say this author has tackled a very interesting topic as she did in her last book. In this one she tackles narcissistic personality disorder, and the mainstream effects on the family, but she turns it into an unsolved mystery. I had heard of this disorder before but had no idea that it was so damaging to the other people in his/her life. This book has all my favorite elements in a mystery. There are missing persons, the surprise ending, unreliable narrators, and a psychological disorder at the heart of the story. It was not a fast moving story as it was all told through interviews and sharing information, but I still enjoyed it and read it relatively quickly to find out what happened to Emma.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author has amazing books! This was one I couldn’t put down. Read it on my lunch at work ! Purchase all is not forgotten and this one!
FranRaeW More than 1 year ago
This is one to keep you guessing. Once started, the reader has to rush to the end to obtain the answers to so many questions. Very good mystery.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
When two sisters vanish one night, Cass watches the aftermath on TV, the interviews with her mother who, somehow, makes it all about herself. It has always been about Judy Martin and her need to be the center of attention is at the core of the emotional distance between the sisters. Given that distance, why were they both gone? FBI forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winters and Special Agent Leo Strauss worked the case when the girls disappeared three years ago and they're drawn back in now that Cass has returned out of the blue. She has a strange tale to tell and there are inconsistencies but, of course, the big question is where is Emma? Were the two girls together all those years or not? The answers that begin to trickle in are increasingly disturbing and you can't help wondering what has really brought Cass back to her family. Creepy, that's the paramount feeling I had while reading this and the author's evocation of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder brought to mind such infamous people as Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who drowned her kids in the car so she'd be unencumbered in her pursuit of a man. This disorder doesn't get a lot of serious attention but perhaps it should. Nicely done, Ms. Walker!
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
Emma in the Night .... Normally find Wendy's books hard to put down. This story seemed to be long and drawn out -- depressing story line at best. Would not recommend this book.
Tracey_L More than 1 year ago
This was a stunning book, full of twists and turns that left me questioning at times. The portrayal of Narcissistic Personality Disorder was quite well done, not at all sensationalized or presented in a light manner can often be the case. The characters are believable with the exception of the father. The story moves along and keeps you very engaged until the very end. Hugely enjoyable read. This is an honest review in exchange for an advance copy from NetGalley.
Piney10 More than 1 year ago
I would rate this a 3. It was an okay thriller. The plot revolves around the mysterious disappearance of two sisters, Cass and Emma, and the sudden emergence of only one, Cass, three years later to her mother’s home.. It is the unfurling of her story, along with the reopening of the investigation by the case psychiatrist and detective that makes this story take one through the roller coaster ride. There were twists and turns in the story, but I had trouble initially getting into the book but it did catch on. Personally I found the protagonist,Cass, hard to believe and like. However, there are some interesting themes, narcissism being the most prominent.
Piney10 More than 1 year ago
I would rate this a 3. It was an okay thriller. The plot revolves around the mysterious disappearance of two sisters, Cass and Emma, and the sudden emergence of only one, Cass, three years later to her mother’s home.. It is the unfurling of her story, along with the reopening of the investigation by the case psychiatrist and detective that makes this story take one through the roller coaster ride. There were twists and turns in the story, but I had trouble initially getting into the book but it did catch on. Personally I found the protagonist,Cass, hard to believe and like. However, there are some interesting themes, narcissism being the most prominent.
13835877 More than 1 year ago
Wendy Walker has a wonderful talent when it comes to writing a twisted and fascinating thriller. Cass and the rest of the characters were complex and authentic. The characters and story captured my attention from the first line and I just HAD to know what happened. Walker kept me guessing which of my theories could possibly be correct about what had actually happened to Emma or if they were all actually wrong. This story was so so close to being 5 stars for me, but I felt at times Cass's thoughts could be unnecessarily wordy. If it hadn't been for that, I would have unquestionably given Emma in the Night 5 stars. I would still definitely recommend this book as a must read to anyone who enjoys a gripping thriller. I voluntarily received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks to NETGALLEY for allowing me to read and give an honest review. I was excited to get to read this novel, I really enjoy this authors writing style, she introduces the characters in a way that you get to know them, she gets you involved in the story. This is the story of two sisters, Cass and Emma, the family dynamics in this family are not anything I would want my family to be. The mom is self-absorbed, somewhat selfish, narcissistic, the father is a backwards, no backboard father. Other characters in the novel, Dr . Abby (forensic psychologist), Leo Strauss-special agent. They both have traumatic past, the author did a great job telling their stories. Cass and Emma disappear one night-one sister returns, she’s alone , where has she been, how’d she get back, where is her sister, who took them, what happened to them, where is Emma? As Cass tells her tale, you begin to think, something is not right with this story. The words I would to describe this novel are: chilling, page turner, suspenseful, frightening.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
“Emma in the Night” is a taut psychological thriller that kept me reading from start to finish without putting it down. Not only did I keep second-guessing my theories, I kept feeling ill-at-ease in my own home. It’s difficult to say much more than the book synopsis because to spoil it even a little would take away from the fun. If you like thriller mysteries, you will probably enjoy this. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Rag_Doll More than 1 year ago
Without feeling like a text book, this is the best and most detailed story of a narcissist I've read. It goes into great analytical detail of what a narcissist is and what their needs, feelings and insecurities are. Sisters, Emma and Cassandra Tanner, have been missing for three years. Many presumed they're dead until Cassandra turns up on her mother's doorstep. Cassandra was not the favoured child as her and Emma were growing up and their narcissistic mother, (Mrs Martin to her daughters!) without laying a finger on them did and said some cruel things, things which play on the mind, make you learn to think like they do, act like they do. Therefore, when Cassandra returns after being missing for three years, she plays her mother like a fiddle – drip, drip, little bits of information, mentally torturing her mother. Only Cassandra knows the truth of the missing years but Dr Abby Winter has worked most of it out and is one step ahead at the crucial time. The chapters alternate between Cassandra (Cass), written in first person, and Abby, written in third person, and give points of view of the 'missing time' from Cass and the development of the police investigation from Abby. I really liked the personal, up close chapters written in first person and they were complimented by Abby's third person view. If you really like to psycho-analyse, this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are always stories about dysfunctional families, mysteries, police investigations... Emma in the Night kept my interest as it weaved its way through past and present and told the story of 2 girls and a manipulative mother. Now, we've all known those people who know how to manipulate others, but Emma in the Night added in multiple perspectives and timeframes in a seamless way that keeps you going, wondering who is telling the truth. There isn't anything in this that's merely for shock value or to serve as a red herring... it all ties together. Cass and Emma are sisters. Their parents have divorced, their mother is manipulative, there's a step-brother and step-father thrown in the mix. Their mother is a narcissist and uses situations to use the girls against each other to prove who loves her most, granting favors to the favored child and leaving the other always trying for approval. One night, Cass and Emma disappear and an investigation ensues. The psychologist on the case has a family history with narcissistic parents and suspects there's more to the story but can't prove it. They remain missing for several yearsr, and then Cass returns.. but where's Emma? Cass's return has multiple twists and does a remarkable job telling how life in the household affected her, how Emma reacted, the roles that their mother, father, stepfather, stepbrother, and half-brother all played. The original investigator and psychologist are back as well, so through brilliant storytelling, you learn how the original disappearance and return affected everyone. I was honestly surprised at the ending and thoroughly enjoyed the book. If you're looking for a great read with intrigue and family dynamics, this book is for you.
Holly More than 1 year ago
Emma In The Night is the story of when a girl comes back after being missing for three long years and what really happened before and after, she went missing. It took one night for two girls to disappear by the names of Emma and Cass, to only have Cass return just three years later without Emma. As Cass tells her side of the story of where they have been, the search is on to find Emma before it's too late. It all comes down to the past and the real truth of what really happened the night they disappeared with a ending that will leave you speechless!! This was a fantastic book with a ending that I didn't see coming at all. The way that this story was written was awesome in the sense that you get multiple sides to the story that makes this book a great read or at lest for myself, it was great! I do have to say that in the beginning, you just don't know what is really going on but there comes this pivotal moment that everything makes sense that will lead to that breathtaking ending that made me wish that a movie of this book was coming really soon just to see everything play out on the big screen!! Thank You to Wendy Walker for writing yet another fantastic book that has made me kinda impatient waiting for the next big thriller from you!! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley!
EMJenkinson More than 1 year ago
Over-hyped psychological thrillers plague readers and as I settled into my chair to read Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker, I was weary. After all, The Girl on the Train failed to meet my expectations after reading Gone Girl despite its praise. In this case, largely due to my preference for horror over other genres, I am grateful not to suffer the effects of psych-thriller saturation. That doesn’t leave me without flaws, though: I made assumptions after the first pages of Emma in the Night, with little expectation of discovering precisely how wrong I was. It’s rare that I become so engrossed in a book that it haunts my every day routine. In fact, the last book that gripped me that tightly is Bird Box by Josh Malerman. For those readers who are fairly new to my blog, Bird Box is among the first reviews I wrote. When I found myself constantly thinking about the first few chapters of this book, I knew Walker had me in her web. Little did I know that I would lose sleep over Emma in the Night (not that I’m complaining, of course). Without going into too much detail about my personal life, the fact Walker centers Emma in the Night around the effects of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is precisely why I felt the need to read this book. Unfortunately, I have far more personal experience with this disorder than I like. As a result, I was curious as to how well Walker writes about the issue and it’s obvious she’s more than done her share of research. In the despicable character of Judy Martin, Walker educates readers about how deeply a narcissistic parent can affect their children’s lives. She does so wonderful a job of this that I’m actually quite glad to say I read the acknowledgments first. Told from alternating first-person and third-person perspectives (Cassandra Tanner and Dr. Abigail Winter respectively), Walker leads readers on a twisting path that pays homage to the old saying “trust no one” by reminding us that people “believe what they want to believe.” After all, to Cass, Emma, and Judy it’s a game that escalates beyond their expectations. As I said in the beginning of the review, I made an assumption that proved to be wrong. Perhaps because of this, Walker caught me off-guard several times. Regardless, the depth of her prose proved, to me at least, worthy of its hype. Last night, when I tried to go to bed between one and two in the morning, I found myself unable to stop thinking about this book. Because of that, I ended up reading the last 60-70% in one sitting. I regret nothing. Emma in the Night is an well-researched, twistingly disturbing road through one family’s dysfunctional every day life. While I rebuke The Girl on the Train as a recommendation for fans of Gone Girl, I can say I feel sound in suggesting Emma in the Night instead. I would like to thank NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for a copy of this novel. I received it in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
AmberK1120 More than 1 year ago
I loved that these characters were all so completely untrustworthy and full of themselves. The narrator, Cass, was phenomenally unreliable. Everything about this kept me on my toes until the end. Definitely worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books I didn't know much about but wanted to read based on the good reviews I kept seeing. The premise seemed interesting but another one I wouldn't quite say was a thriller. So two sisters go missing one night and three years later only one returns. Emma is the older one and the preferred daughter of their mother. As much as one could be preferred when your mother is narcisstic. The mother is a piece of work! Actually, the whole family is. When Cass, the younger daughter, reappears secrets soon become evident. With the help of Dr. Winters, the two of them will solve what happened. Some of it was mysterious and I was really intrigued to know what happened to the sisters. The family themselves put me off. They were seriously f'd up. As a whole the story was ok but not something that will end up on my favorites list. **Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 2
4840318 More than 1 year ago
Wendy Walker has done it again and is quickly becoming one of my "go to" authors. Emma in the Night is deliciously deceptive and I could not put this book down. Right from the very first page, I was drawn into Cass's story. The tale she weaves is dark, twisted and horrifying and I could not get enough. The blurb tells you everything you need to know and I highly suggest that you let Cass tell you the rest. Don't read too much about it, don't read any spoilers, just lose yourself in the masterful storytelling of this book. The characters are well developed and the story moves along at a very fast pace. I highly recommend this book.
lifeasleels More than 1 year ago
I am a psychology major so I love psychological thrillers. It lets me get inside the head of others and use my knowledge to try and figure out who did what and why. I had my theories on what happened in the book, but then would find someone else to become suspicious of. I could not read this fast enough to find out what really happened. I literally fell asleep with the book in my hand reading because I did not want to put it down. I had to know what happened to Emma. I feel fairly confident that the actual ending hadn't ever crossed my mind while I was reading the book. This was one crazy, in depth, mental game and it was absolutely amazing. This is the first time I have read this author and if her other book(s) are anything like this one, I am definitely adding them to my to be read pile. This had to be one of the best psychological thrillers I have read in a long, long while!
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I think this has to be one of the most dysfunctional families that I have ever read about in fiction. The mother suffers from a narcissistic condition that keeps her making sure that she is the best at everything there is. Her daughters must constantly tell her that she is the best mom. Her husband has to constantly tell her that she is the best wife and he has to insure that he does nothing to convey any other message. The penalties for not following the rules of the mother are very severe. You can be cut out of the mother's life very easily. A punishment that really messes with children, young and old alike. The mother in this book has started a war and the daughters are done with being soldiers on a battlefield. The results are very dangerous in this well written book. I do have to say that I did not finish the first book written by this author. I didn't realize that until I had finished this one, however. My main concern was that there was a lot of psychological chatter and diagnoses. Something I was not expecting in the first book. With this book I went into it just knowing that two sisters ran away and one reappeared after three years. I think I enjoyed this one a lot better because I had no preconceived notions and the "psych" jargon didn't really bother. Actually, it was very interesting. I read this book all in one sitting and will definitely take another look at Wendy Walker's first book as I didn't finish it the first time. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
jojosmodernlife More than 1 year ago
Cass and Emma Tanner are the famous sisters that mysteriously disappeared three years ago. Now, only Cass has returned. What happened to Emma? That's exactly what Dr. Abby Winter is going to find out. What she has discovered in the last three years since the girls vanished and her investigation begun is one thing: nothing is what it seems. Dr. Abby Winter knows firsthand how traumatizing it can be to have a childhood ruled by a narcissistic mother. That is what got her into this line of work in the first place. But can she keep her past from clouding her judgement in the present? I loved this book and found it masterfully created. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger that made me as a reader want to read "just one more chapter" for several chapters. It was told in alternating perspectives between Cass and Abby (Dr. Winter) which I thought enhanced the story as it gave deeper perspective into both characters as well as gave different views on the supporting characters. To be more personal than I have been in any of my previous reviews, I cannot explain well enough to give it justice just how immensely tied to this book I was. I had to put it down some chapters because it related too well to my childhood with a narcissistic mother that too much of it in one sitting could be overwhelming. Fortunately, I were raised mostly by my (selfless, hilarious, and dedicated) father so I did not have the damages quite as bad as these girls, but the scars are still there. Time does not actually heal all wounds. Some scars will always remain, even if they are hidden just under the surface. There are variances with every family and experience with any personality disorder. Yet there were pages and pages that I kept highlighting and excitedly screaming out "YES! Exactly!". It was fascinating to see what I experienced play out in a fictional tale. The quote that I had to read over and over because it was accurate, relatable, and glaringly honest was: "Mrs. Martin had never been punished for anything she had ever done. She was a master illusionist. Even people trained to see, even people looking for exactly what was there to be seen, could still not see". I am immensely pleased that Wendy Walker had the courage and skill to take this topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and create a story that is masterful regardless of if a reader has had an experience with it. There has only been one other book that I have read on this topic several years ago, Dr. Karyl McBride's Will I Ever Be Good Enough?. This book was nonfiction and absolutely changed my life because it put the facts of Narcissistic Mothers in my face and helped me learn how to cope and live my own life. If you are someone who has gone through an experience with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, particularly with a Narcissistic mother, I highly recommend both Will I Ever Be Good Enough? and Emma in the Night. You should also know that you are not alone! I would also recommend this book for those readers who are fans of surprise twists as there are several. Furthermore, the ending is unexpected, twisted, and genius. For those who may be offended: there was foul language, sexually explicit scenarios, drug use, alcohol use, infidelity, incest, and child abuse. Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.