Format: ARC, sent by the publisher
Links: The Book Depository |Goodreads | Amazon UK
Blurb: From the best selling authors, of The Good Widow comes a chilling novel of psychological suspense that will make you think twice about what your best friend may be hiding…
For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completed honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.
Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse – could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of their own lies?
As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing – or too afraid – to admit.
Review: Wow. Just wow. I know I probably shouldn’t give so much away so early on in a review but this book is bloody brilliant. Like really, bloody fantastic. Thrillers and Mysteries are my favourite genre so I’m constantly on the lookout for the next one which will make me gasp or stare open mouthed at my book almost waiting for something to jump out and hit me in the face. That’s exactly what I did with this one. Utterly brilliant.
Girls’ Night Out is my first book by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steike and it certainly won’t be my last. This book is about 3 friends, Ashley, Natalie and Lauren who all have a very complicated history between them. Having recently drifted apart due to various things, Ashley invites them away to Mexico, to attempt to reconcile the close friendships they once had and put their pasts behind them. Soon on the trip, it’s clear that that’s not going to be as easy as any of them think.
During a Yoga class one day, they meet Marco, a man who’s transformed his life by moving here. He clearly takes a liking to Ashley very quickly and the other two girls soon find it popping up regularly throughout their holiday, being a sort of “guide” and spouting all sorts of spiritual jargon at them. Marco continues to spend a lot of time with Ashley, to the other’s annoyance and tells her she should forget her life, move away and start over. Claiming that that’s what her “soul” needs.
Then Ashley goes missing after a night out and Natalie and Lauren are left to pick up the pieces the following day. Natalie, having woke up with a soaking wet dress on the beach, wonders if she’d maybe been drugged. Lauren, upon hearing the news that Ashley is missing, is regretting the last thing she said to her. But what on Earth happened that night? Where is Ashley and why?
One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the setting; I really like books which are set on holiday, in exotic places (probably because I don’t go to exotic places myself!) It’s always a really nice change in setting and dynamic and always tends to throw in more problems when the characters are in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar rules and even corrupt police officers in this case. The setting was described brilliantly as well and I loved all the additional information about Mexico and especially when the girls went on a trip to an old Mayan village.
The story-line itself was split into a kind of “before” and “after” and alternated between each of the 3 girls point of view at whichever point of their holiday the chapter was on and this was a great way to see how each of the girls were feeling, especially with each other. It’s clear that they all have a lot of issues that need to work through, personally and with each other so it was nice to see where each of them were at, mentally with everything going on.
Throughout reading it, I got the sense that this book is like a more sinister version of The Hangover movies. When Natalie wakes up soaking wet, on the beach and can’t remember anything from the previous night, we’re hit with every question under the sun before the book even begins, which I loved. Literally anything could have happened to Ashley to cause her to disappear, to Natalie for her to wake up memory-less and on their girls night out that previous evening.
The book slowly pieces together everything that happened and there are so many potential who, what, where and whens that if you, the reader, manages to guess what happens before it’s revealed then there’s no other explanation than you are a witch. I had my theories, which changed over and over again depending on what pieces of information I was given next. And by the final chapter? I still got it wrong. Girls Night Out is packed full of emotional energy which cause a catastrophic chain of events. If you’re after a butterfly effect, this is it. This was an outstanding read.