One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

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About the book

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

My review:

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski was a captivating book. It is told between two different decades and points of view: Maureen in 1985 and Allison in 2015. Recently divorced and publicly disgraced Allison has been staying with her sister since the breakup with her husband but needs a change. Her sister convinces her to apply to house sit for a couple at their beach house in the East Coast small town of Opal Beach. The owners are friends of a friend of Allison’s sister and need to be out of the country for an extended period of time. Allison makes friends in Opal Beach, the roller derby player librarian Delores and quiet coffee shop owner Tammy. She is intrigued by the story of the disappearance of Tammy’s best friend 30 years prior and works with Tammy to find clues of her friend’s fate.

Maureen was a teenager who worked for the travelling carnival that came to Opal Beach. She felt drawn to the town and after making friends with Tammy and Clay, and then dating Clay, she decided to stay and make a home there. The quaint seaside town held many secrets then and in the present day, though, and one night she vanished without a trace.

To me, the mark of a good suspense novel is when I can’t figure out “whodunnit.” There are clues and red herrings throughout as Allison tries to solve the mystery of what happened to Maureen while trying to rebuild her imploded life. When mysterious packages related to the case begin showing up at her door, the fun little distraction becomes personal and dangerous.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

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About the author

 

Tara Laskowski

TARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of a debut suspense novel, One Night Gone, and two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders. She has had stories published in numerous magazines and anthologies such as Mid-American ReviewBarcelona Review, and the Norton anthologies Flash Fiction International and New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, among others. Her Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine story, “The Case of the Vanishing Professor,” won the 2019 Agatha Award and her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “States of Matter,” was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project’s Literary Awards Prize, has been the editor of the popular online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010, and is a member of Sisters in Crime. She and her husband, writer Art Taylor, write the column Long Story Short at the Washington Independent Review of Books. She earned a BA in English with a minor in writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. She grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter, @TaraLWrites.

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