Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York City and start a life together in Sam's sleepy hometown upstate. Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie's happily ever after.
Thriller fans love 'twists' that make them think 'wow, didn’t see that coming.' Those twists typically come close to the end of the tale, and are most powerful when they spark an initial surprise, followed by the realization that they actually make perfect sense based on both the literal and subtle storytelling up until that point. In Goodnight Beautiful, Aimee Molloy sends readers on a whiplashing mystery ride that turns that whole convention inside out ... What distinguishes Goodnight Beautiful is Molloy’s spectacular feat of misdirection and uncanny success in unfolding revelations that are surprising yet believable from the early pages until the very last.
Not only is Goodnight Beautiful an engrossing story, we grow to really like Sam and Annie, and we want everything to work out for them. But Molloy masterfully creates one cliffhanger after another, and we keep reading, intent on discovering how it all will turn out. The homage to another author, perhaps the master of thrillers, is superb, but disclosing his or her identity would be a huge spoiler. This is a lovely and well-put-together story that is qualitatively different from other psychological thrillers and may very well leave you feeling darn near joyful.
Molloy keeps the dialogue sexy and the action brisk, switching back and forth between one character’s first-person account and a third-person narrator describing everything else. The author has fun toying with the conventions of gender in pop culture, and the assumptions we make. It adds up to a book you’ll read late into the night, trying to figure out where the next twist will take you.