Review: One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (reviewed by Shelley Harp)

One Night Gone

By Tara Laskowski

352 Pages

Graydon Press

ISBN: 978-1525832192

$16.99

             

Meteorologist Allison Williams went ballistic on live air and broadcast her nasty divorce to the world. Fired, and now forced to live with her sister, Allison faces an uncertain future. To escape her embarrassment and to wait for the career-damning evidence to leave the internet, Allison accepts an offer to house-sit an oceanfront property in Opal Beach.

With the move, her family hopes she’ll find a new job and move on with her life, and Allison does, too, to an extent. But, more than anything, Allison hopes to be incognito. By not belonging to Opal Beach, she can be anything she wants to be which, at the moment, is broken and directionless.

But when Allison learns of Maureen, a teen whose disappearance is still unsolved, and strange things begin happening in and around Allison’s house, Allison wonders why something doesn’t feel right, if the girl’s disappearance and the strange coincidences are somehow connected, and why she feels so drawn to the small beach town’s dirty secrets. Incognito, it seems, simply won’t let her be.

Through interwoven dual story-lines, One Night Gone teases the mysteries of what-happened and who-did-it. Readers will fly through its pages, never doubting Laskowski as she leads her audience down a well-paced plot that delivers just enough development balanced with an ever-deepening intrigue, filled with likable characters and their believable, pitying flaws. Every part serves the whole in Laskowski’s work which is why it’s such a great read.

The prose does exactly what it’s supposed to in support of a masterful plot: it carries action, provides the right amount of description, and doesn’t try too hard. The result reflects the elements to a carnival—the whimsical repetitive turn of the carousel, the lifting and plunging of the Ferris wheel, the anticipated-yet-startling surprise of the haunted house, and the distorted reality of the house of mirrors. Similarly, Allison and Maureen are entangled through Opal Beach—a town which promises fun and happiness, but reminds that the elite will always judge you for who you used to be.

It’s possible readers might yawn during the denouement which leans heavy on explaining a certain character’s decision-making process because, by that point, readers understand the psychology there. The explanation feels a tad overdone. That said, readers will hang in there to find out what happens to Allison.Gripping, and masterful, One Night Gone is well worth the time at any time of year, and stores will find it hard on which shelf it should fit—beach read, mystery, or classic ghost tale. But, perhaps, and hopefully, with the top sellers it could sit.—Shelley Harp

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