The Night Shift

by Alex Finlay
Minotaur Books, March 2022, $27.99

Two brutal sets of murders, occurring 15 years apart in the same New Jersey town have striking similarities. Is there a link between the Blockbuster Video killings of New Year’s Eve 1999 and what happened at the Dairy Creamery ice cream shop in 2015? Could it be a coincidence that the killer whispered “Good night, pretty girl,” to the sole survivor of both massacres? Is the suspect in the Blockbuster case, who’s long been MIA, resurfaced?

The Night Shift explores both cases and their interconnecting threads through multiple narratives.

Ella, the only survivor of the first killings, is now a therapist, but her life is messier than most of her clients. These include Jesse, the hardened teenage survivor of the ice cream shop killings. Then there’s Chris Ford—a public defender who uses the last name of his adoptive family, so that no one knows he’s related to the long-missing Blockbuster suspect. Finally, there’s FBI Special Agent Sarah Keller, happily married and eight months pregnant with twins. She used to work with local law enforcement, who have recently brought her back to town.

Author Alex Finlay, a pseudonym for a Washington, D.C., lawyer, garnered attention with his 2021 debut thriller, Every Last Fear. This latest standalone should please his growing fan base, though there may be disappointment that he didn’t flesh out a relationship that is referenced in the epilogue. And it’s sometimes tough to sort through the supporting players related to the two crimes. What Finlay does do, effectively, is to underscore the high price that comes with surviving a crime. You don’t have to wind up dead to be a victim.

Pat H. Broeske
Teri Duerr
March 2022
Minotaur Books