Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on December 8, 2015
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From the award-winning author of There Was an Old Woman comes a riveting tale of domestic noir, infused with old Hollywood folklore and glamour, set in a town rife with egotism and backstabbing and where fame and infamy are often interchangeable.
Los Angeles 1986: When Deirdre Unger arrived in Beverly Hills to help her bitter, disappointed father sell his dilapidated house, she discovers his lifeless body floating face down in the swimming pool. At first, Deirdre assumes her father’s death was a tragic accident. But the longer she stays in town, the more she suspects that it is merely the third act in a story that has long been in the making.
The sudden re-surfacing of Deirdre’s childhood best friend Joelen Nichol—daughter of the legendary star Elenor “Bunny” Nichol—seems like more than a coincidence. Back in 1958, Joelen confessed to killing her movie star mother’s boyfriend. Deirdre happened to be at the Nichols house the night of the murder—which was also the night she suffered a personal tragedy of her own. Could all of these events be connected?
Her search to find answers forces Deirdre to confront a truth she has long refused to believe: beneath the slick veneer of Beverly Hills lie secrets that someone will kill to keep buried.
The blurb gives the set-up – and of course all the events are connected. I think Hollywood in the ’80s with secrets going back to the late ’50s was a great setting. Stars and writers with their careers and public image to think of give an interesting outlook on the mystery.
My main problem with Night Night, Sleep Tight was that I just didn’t care about Deidre. I didn’t like her, didn’t hate her, didn’t feel sorry for her, or any of the main characters really. I didn’t get to know her mother and brother enough to fully understand their motives and the family friends were all pretty self-absorbed. The mystery itself was fine but not compelling enough to carry the book.Deidre happens to find her father’s memoir quickly after his death, which was more than a bit convenient. It gave her a direction to take her questions and other people a motive for murder.
I was surprised, and a bit disappointed, by who the killer was. It made sense though, given the aspirations of all the characters involved. I did like the ending – instead of taking what would be the expected route, Ephron let the characters do what was in their nature.
This was not one that kept me involved. I finished it because it wasn’t bad enough to put down, but it also didn’t call my name at every free moment.