ARC REVIEW: Date Night – by Samantha Hayes

Title: Date Night
Author: Samantha Hayes
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: August 20th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: August 10th 2019
Pages: 350

“My thoughts are all over the place. Finally, my head catches up with the panic in my heart.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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After being blown away by The Liar’s Wife last year, I couldn’t help myself and requested a copy of Date Night as soon as it was available. I mean, the blurb alone sounds absolutely fantastic: a missing girl, a murder, lots of secrets and a possibly innocent and wrongly accused main character… How could I resist that? And I’m glad I didn’t, because Date Night turned out to be a highly entertaining read. This is a psychological thriller created to mess with your mind and this story will make you doubt every single fact you thought you learned as you keep turning the pages. The strength of this story is in the complex and well crafted plot, designed to mislead you and hide certain facts from you to keep you guessing. And while it’s true that the whole unreliable narrator technique is getting a bit old, I found the idea of having a possibly innocent main character wrongly accused very refreshing and definitely fascinating.

Date Night starts like most domestic psychological thrillers, with the typical family of two successful working parents and their children and this balance being disrupted by a turn of events. In this case in the form of a ominous note left for the wife, Libby. What you first think is a simple cheating husband or ‘someone with a grudge’ scenario soon turns out to be a whole lot more complicated as their babysitter Sasha goes missing… And a few weeks later somehow the police thinks that Libby killed her. Date Night switches between the (recent) past and present, making full use of the unreliable narrator technique while slowly revealing more facts about what really happened that night and exactly what secrets are in play. And trust me, there will be a LOT of those. Oh yes, Date Night is basically a web full of lies and secrets you will find yourself trapped in, trying to untangle the truth while you wonder if Libby is really innocent, and who could have been behind Sasha’s disappearance otherwise. And while it’s true I guessed part of the final twists right, there were other aspects I wasn’t able to guess at all.

There is one thing that made me enjoy this story slightly less though: the characters. I know it’s common for unreliable characters to be unlikeable as well, and sadly in this case I wasn’t able to connect to the main characters at all. I found especially Libby’s behavior in general to be very frustrating, and while her flawed character worked well to hide those twists and keep the suspense up, not being able to connect to her made me care less about her possibly being wrongly accused. I wasn’t a fan of the other main characters either… But with an intricate and well developed plot, excellent writing and lots of secrets and twists to discover, I had a great time reading Date Night anyway. Fans of the genre will enjoy this one!


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