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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Night Shift

ISBN: 978-1250268884

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: 03/01/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

From the author of the breakout thriller Every Last Fear, comes Alex Finlay's electrifying next novel The Night Shift, about a pair of small-town murders fifteen years apart―and the ties that bind them.

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2022: • PopSugar • Goodreads • Book Riot • BookBub • The Nerd Daily • SheReads • Crime by the Book

“The night was expected to bring tragedy.” So begins one of the most highly-anticipated thrillers in recent years.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in New Jersey, four teenagers working late at the store are attacked. Only one inexplicably survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.

Fifteen years later, more teenage employees are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive.

In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who’s convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller who must delve into the secrets of both nights―stirring up memories of teen love and lies―to uncover the truth about murders on the night shift.

Twisty, poignant, and redemptive, The Night Shift is a story about the legacy of trauma and how the broken can come out on the other side, and it solidifies Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers.

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"[Finlay] has outdone himself with this latest... [He] grabs readers from the very first line and keeps them propulsively turning pages with absolutely thrilling cliffhangers."


"Finlay does a fine job weaving the tangled lives and crimes together in a suspenseful tale... Thriller fans will eagerly await Finlay’s next."

―Publishers Weekly

“Wow, this is crime fiction at it’s best. Instantly immersive, pacy and propulsive, and full of surprises. Alex Finlay is the real deal, believe me.”

―Lee Child, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“The Night Shift weaves together two crimes, past and present, into a fast-paced, page-turning, slam-dunk of a thriller. An exciting, entertaining read that I couldn’t put down!”

―Samantha Downing, #1 Internationally bestselling author of My Lovely Wife and For Your Own Good

“With an unforgettable cast of characters and a plot that races through twist after twist, Alex Finlay’s explosive new thriller, The Night Shift, will grab you and not let go until the final, electrifying conclusion. I can’t remember the last time I tore through a book so fast, or how many times I thought I knew what was going on only to be proven wrong yet again. You know you’re in for a wild ride when one of the narrators ends up dead in the first chapter…Fans of Riley Sager and Grady Hendrix are going to LOVE this book.”

―Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight

“A terrific thriller, tautly written with compelling characters. I was totally hooked."

―Peter James, New York Times Bestselling Author

“In his second novel, The Night Shift, Alex Finlay takes his place in the upper ranks of thriller writers. From the very first chapter, Finlay expertly grabs the reader’s attention with a horrific mass murder at a Blockbuster store in 1999. Flash forward fifteen years later, the events of that dreadful night echo in a small New Jersey town, with lots of unanswered questions and theories of what happened. Then, a similar mass murder takes place at an ice cream shop, and the lives of several people―from investigators to survivors―interact in dramatic fashion. Filled with crisp dialogue, incredible suspense and memorable characters, The Night Shift is one not to miss. Highly recommended.”

―Brendan DuBois, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author

My Review:

Officially added to my new "favorite author list!" NOW, this is what I call an A+ crime thriller! It checks all the boxes and then some. LOVED THIS BOOK!! 🎬🍿 💖📕

Explosive. Electrifying. Compelling Characters!

Alex Finlay's THE NIGHT SHIFT has it ALL! Tops his fabulous debut, Every Last Fear (optioned for film and tv). This one is a total KNOCK-OUT and on another HIGHER level. I could not put it down, and lots of jaw-dropping OMG'S going on. The author exceeded all my expectations and more. Highly IMPRESSIVE. Thriller fans, this is a MUST-READ!



  • 1999: New Year's Eve: (YTK) A Blockbuster Video store mass murder at store closing. The manager and three teenage employees are murdered. A fourth employee, Ella survives.

  • 2015: Fifteen years later. Linden Ice Cream Shop. Four girls were murdered. One survived, Jessica (Jesse). Same town. Both midnight shifts.

A copycat or is the killer still alive? If so, why wait 15 yrs and leave a survivor both times?

One thing in common. The predator whispers in each of the girl's ears: "Good night, pretty girl." Everyone has DARK SECRETS in this book! Is the killer still hiding in plain sight?

ELLA, the survivor of The Blockbuster murders, is now a therapist. She has lots of issues and leads a secret life due to her past traumas. Ella likes to go out and night, drink and hook up. Her boyfriend has had enough and she cannot blame him.

She is called by the local high school principal to meet with the survivor Jesse who only wants to speak with her after the Ice Cream Murder. She knows a lot about the Blockbuster case since she was there. However, Jesse seems to know a lot too. One smart cookie.

Special agent, SARAH KELLER, FBI is on the case and 8 and half months pregnant. Her husband Bob worries about her but is highly supportive. LOVE HER. She is a badass superwoman. Bob is so cool!

CHRIS, an attorney. And man, does he have a dysfunctional background. His father, Rusty is a horrible, evil man. A drunk and abusive. Poor Chis and his older brother Vince had a tough life. Their mom left years ago, or so Rusty says after he beat her constantly. Vince took a lot of the beatings for Chris, but he got his share.

Chris later was adopted through the foster system and has changed his name. No one knows his real identity except his adoptive parents.

VINCE, his older brother was arrested for the murder back in 1999 because he had dated one of the girls. He was released on a technicality. Later they found a weapon in a locker but he had vanished and was never seen again. Was it planted?

Now Chris is a public defender. His last name is FORD. No one knows Vince was his brother. He gets assigned to the Ice Cream case. However, does someone know about him being Vince's brother and what would everyone say?

Told from alternating POV:

  • Chris

  • Keller

  • Ella

Chris wonders if his brother Vince is still alive. Everyone will think he has come out of hiding. He is sure his brother is not guilty. This travel blogger is strange and Chris wonders if it could be Vince?

Is there a dirty cop? The first case was not handled as it should have been. Jesse seems to know a lot about the Blockbuster murders. Soon she is arrested.

Who is the real murderer, and is it the same person for both murders fifteen years apart? How are they connected?

The suspense is nerve-wracking and the author never slows down. There are twists and turns with every page, keeping you glued to the pages. There is never a dull moment. Full of flawed and broken characters who are strong, tenacious, and driven. Some are pure evil monsters.



  • FBI SARAH KELLER. She is a badass and I adore her relationship with her hubby Bob, which is in awe of her and her talent. Who could do all this and be pregnant? My hero. Reminiscent of Lisa Gardner's Detective DD Warren. I could not stop thinking about how much this reminds me of her books. If you have followed my blog for 8 yrs you know I am a huge fan of hers and her female protagonist.

ONE THING THAT THREW ME: In Finlay's debut, EVERY LAST FEAR, Sarah Keller and Bob already had their twins. In this book, she is pregnant (8 1/2 mos) with the twins. I have not noticed other reviewers talking about this; however, after I finished reading THE NIGHT SHIFT, I went back to the audiobook of EVERY LAST FEAR and relistened just to make sure. Yep, the twins were already born in that book. Guess maybe the author re-winded a few years since this one was set in 1999/2015. Not sure when the debut was set.

  • CHRIS: I enjoyed how we learned about Chris and Vince's heartbreaking and poor childhood backstory, how it shaped him today. However, he is tormented about his mom leaving them with this horrible man, Rusty Whitaker (a monster). In this regard, Chris is reminiscent of a younger Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch character. I sympathized with him.

There is also one part in the book where I was reminded of Diane Chamberlain's The Last House on the Street and Heather Gudenkauf's The Overnight Guest. If you have read both you will know.

  • ELLA is a bit of an enigma. Later you learn more about her which is also jaw-dropping and their family. Her family is rich but dysfunctional.

  • JESSE is also a super character - smart and mysterious. Her family is also strange too and grew up in foster homes after the death of her parents.

  • ATTICUS: Loved him! The African American local Detective on the case with Keller.

THE BURNING QUESTION: How do all these characters' backgrounds fit together and the two cases fifteen years apart? When all is revealed, you will be highly satisfied and well worth the loss of sleep.


What I loved about THE NIGHT SHIFT:

Of course, I am old (yes, probably the oldest book blogger out there, and my kids are older than most of you). Probably the oldest person on Goodreads.

So a throwback to 1999 is always a blast. A single mom, I moved to Atlanta in 1994, for a job relocation in media, when my two sons were off to NC colleges. My condo was located directly across from Blockbuster Video. So yes, spent quite a bit of time there. Also, another blast from the past that I picked up (I do not miss much).

Also, Alex mentions Zima! Too funny. The job where I relocated in media was to be the director for the launch of the ZIMA national rollout! So a blast from the past. My two sons and all their college friends would come to Atlanta for the weekend and of course since my life revolved around Zima at the time, there was always plenty in the refrigerator.

Not many may remember this product. It was launched nationally in the US as Zima Clearmalt in 1993 after being test-marketed two years earlier. Coors Brewing spent $50 million marketing Zima in its first year. In the late 2000s, the beverage was marketed in additional flavors: citrus, tangerine, and pineapple citrus. I had moved on by then as publisher for a web-based commercial real estate investments company. In 2008, MillerCoors announced that it had discontinued production of Zima in the U.S. In 2017 and 2018 it came back for a limited time.

I have been telling everyone about this book. You must read this book. I suspect THE NIGHT SHIFT will be in my top 5 thrillers for 2022. A MOVIE OR TV SERIES PLEASE!

What a talented writer! It has a mix of legal, legal, crime, serial killer, small-town rural, psychological, literary (loved all the literary references), cop procedural, true-crime, suspense, domestic, mystery, action, and thriller all in one.

COMPS: If you love Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter, Michael Robotham, Linwood Barclay, Harlan Coben, Paul Cleave, and David Baldacci (all my favorites), you must read this one. Alex has a winning style and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Please, more FBI SARAH KELLER!

A special thank you to #NetGalley and #StMartisPress #Minotaur Books for a gifted ARC. I also purchased the hardcover and the audiobook, narrated by Brittany Pressley (favorite), Cady McClain, Devon Hales, and Gary Tiedemann by Macmillan Audio.

OUT TODAY. Do not miss this one!

Blog Review Posted @

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Stars +++

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

About the Author

Alex Finlay is the pseudonym of an author who lives in Washington, DC. His 2021 breakout thriller, Every Last Fear, received widespread acclaim, was translated into more than a dozen languages, and is in development for a major TV series.

His highly-anticipated follow-up, The Night Shift, releases on March 1, 2022.



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