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Emma in the Night

by Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker X
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2017, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2018, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp

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Power Reviewer
Betty Taylor

Mother of the Year -- NOT!
I read Wendy Walker’s book “All is Not Forgotten” so was looking forward to reading this one. I love psychological thrillers.
Sisters Emma and Cass Tanner mysteriously disappear one night. Then three years later, Cass just as mysteriously returns home – alone. Cass describes how she and Emma were kidnapped and held against their will on a remote island. Dr. Abby Winter, a forensic psychiatrist with the FBI, and Special Agent Leo Strauss return to the case that had gone cold on them a year earlier. Now the search is resumed but this time only for Emma. What happened the night the girls disappeared? Where have they been for three years? And where is Emma?
I must say that the Tanner family is the epitome of a dysfunctional family. Cass and Emma’s parents, Owen and Judy, are divorced. Owen has a son named Witt from his first marriage. (Witt is the only stable one in the bunch.) Judy then marries Jonathan Martin who has a teenage son named Hunter. Judy now insists that her own daughter call her “Mrs. Martin”. This mother is a real “piece of cake”. She has a narcissistic personality disorder. If you are not familiar with this disorder, it means that she has an inflated sense of her own importance, with a constant need to feel admired. Since she believes the world revolves around her, she is incapable of feeling empathy for others. But behind all this, she has a very fragile self-esteem and cannot handle the slightest criticism. Imagine having her for a mother…
I found the pace to be very slow. I almost gave up on it several times. I didn’t find any of the characters engaging, and the only one that drew any emotion from me was Witt. While the story is told from the perspectives of Cass and Dr. Winter, it is written in third person. Thus the reader is unable to get into the head of the characters and left me with a feeling of detachment (the same complaint I had with “All is Not Forgotten”). The only chapter I felt any visceral response to was the last one, written as a first person perspective from Cass.
It is suspenseful, and it does have a twist. If you are not familiar with the behavior of a narcissist and how the disorder impacts those close to the person, it may be worth the read.
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Beyond the Book:
  Forensic Psychology

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