Thursday, January 30, 2020

Book Review: "The Lost Night" by Andrea Bartz

How reliable are our memories, particularly of a traumatic time? Andrea Bartz's mystery, The Lost Night, effectively explores that question.

In 2009, just as the U.S. economy was collapsing, a group of friends in their early 20s spend their days partying, drinking hard, listening and playing music, and falling in and out of hookups and relationships. At the center of the group is Edie—beautiful, mercurial, pulling all into her web. Everyone wanted to be noticed by her, wanted her approval.

Lately Edie had seemed a bit troubled; she and her boyfriend had broken up even though they kept living together. But everyone was still stunned when one night, while a massive concert and party was going on up on the roof of their building, Edie was found dead, gun in her hand, suicide note on her computer.

Ten years later, Lindsay, the outsider of the group, reconnects with Edie’s old roommate, Sarah, when Sarah moves back to town. Sarah is the one who found her, and at the time insisted there was no way Edie could’ve killed herself.

When Sarah tells Lindsay that contrary to what she has believed for 10 years, Lindsay wasn’t with them at the concert prior to Edie's being found, it shakes her to her core. Lindsay becomes obsessed with figuring out what she did that night, and when she finds evidence that she might have seen Edie just before she killed herself, she worries that perhaps Sarah was right—maybe Edie's death wasn't a suicide. But might she have had a role somehow?

"Distressed, we construct realities that feel just as real as the world around us. Whose brain had concocted a new version of that night—mine or Sarah's?"

This was a very compelling mystery which captures the arrogant invincibility we feel when we’re younger and the unreliability of memories. I was surprised with how things resolved themselves (I usually don't trust any character in a mystery or thriller because I'm so convinced everyone is responsible, but for some reason I didn't suspect this person at all.)

The Lost Night is well written, albeit a little melodramatic. I couldn’t stop reading it, and devoured the whole book in a few hours, and not just because I had insomnia.

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