Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release: February 1st 2017
Received: Won (Goodreads Giveaways)
Warnings: Rape/murder descriptions, animal violence
Up front notice: I received a digital copy of the Night Bird through Goodreads Giveaways. There is no obligation for me to leave a review, but I am choosing to do so.
The Night Bird is exactly the type of novel I picture when I think of a “psychological thriller.” Do you have a phobia or irrational fear? Imagine being brain washed into thinking whatever you’re most fearful of is happening to you – right now. Now you have a general idea of what the victims in this book went through.
There are three perspectives given throughout the novel; Frost Easton (the concerned, sympathetic, and stubborn detective), Lucy (the naive girl from out of town), and Francesca Stein (AKA, Frankie, the aloof, brilliant psychologist). Through them we see different pieces of the puzzle, slowly forming all the facts into one cohesive conclusion.
Warnings first: There is an account (after the fact) of a girl being raped and murdered. It isn’t excruciatingly detailed, but it is part of the plot, so it comes up a couple of times. Two characters commit suicide due to psychological breaks, and another is killed for the same reason. These scenes are quick and give a little bit of warning before them – but they are talked about frequently. Additionally we do see one dead animal towards the end, so please be aware of these if you find them personally upsetting.
I tend to be very particular about my mystery novels – I can’t stand it when I can figure out who the killer is within the first half of the book. Likewise I am irritated when there’s no real hint of the killer’s identity until after they’re exposed – no name dropping, no appearances from the killer, nothing. To me it is just sloppy writing. So when I say I like a mystery, it usually means it didn’t commit one of these two sins. The Night Bird is between the two extremes. Admittedly it is more to one side than the other (for the sake of preserving the mystery, I won’t say which) but not to the point of it being intolerable.
Freeman carefully and expertly wove the character backstories and plot together to give us a unified and thrilling narrative. All three of the protagonists are victims of past trauma, in one form or another. It gives them a connection to each other, and to the plot itself – what is your worst memory? Frankie’s career is built off of literally wiping people of their worst fears or memories, while Frost and Lucy can’t seem to get away from theirs.