I actually read this novel before the previous Chevy Stevens that I posted, yet I completely forgot to post this one! This is That Night.
Toni will never forget that night, the one where her sister was murdered, and she would soon be under investigation, charged, and convicted. She knows that she and her boyfriend Ryan had nothing to do with it, but how on earth could they clear their names? Seventeen ears later, they are getting out of prison and each needs to create a life for him- or herself. They both end up back in their small hometown, where they must avoid each other as a condition of their parole. Too bad Toni can't also avoid the horrible girls who made her life miserable in high school. Soon, though, others connected to the trial start disappearing, and Toni and Ryan come under suspicion. Can they piece together what happened that night before it's too late for them -- again?
This novel showed that Stevens is really finding her voice. She steps away from the talking-to-the-therapist trope and really digs into her characters from both a first-person and a third-person perspective. She develops strong character arcs in this novel, developing Toni over time from a sullen teenager to an angry grown woman who will stop at nothing to show that she is clear of the charges -- and the conviction -- against her. Ryan is also interesting, but it's really Toni that interested me as a character. The mean girls in her world were great foils that were three dimensional, and it made for a great and gripping read.
I also really enjoyed the story. There was enough personal buy-in from the beginning that I found myself wanting to come back to the story after I had to walk away. The twist at the end was genuinely surprising, and Chevy has moved away from the over dramatization of a final twist and ended this story with a Big Bang. It made for reading that was indulgent and heart-racing. This is definitely one thriller I would recommend to anyone looking for a great Friday-night read at home alone with a bottle of wine.