The Dangers of an Ordinary Night by Lynne Reeves is a very highly recommended character driven domestic thriller.
Best friends Natalie (Tali) Carrington and June Danforth, both seventeen, are kidnapped after auditioning for a play at the Performing Arts High School of Boston. Two days later they are found south of Boston on Watties Beach. Tali is covered with cuts, bruises, and disoriented while June is dead from exposure. Tali's mother Nell blames her father, Zeke, who didn't notice that Tali never came home, but Zeke who has repeatedly let his family down with his gambling addiction has other issues that Nell should have noticed in this dysfunctional family. Therapist Cynthia (Cyn) Rawlins is there to help Tali and her family deal with the kidnapping and aftermath. Detective Fitz Jameson has personal insight into the case and suspects more is going on in the Carrington home and at the school.
The novel opens with June trying to escape someone and what leads to her death, so you know the person responsible seems to know June. When the two young women are found, the real mystery begins to be uncovered. There is a complexity and emotional depth underlying every character and all these people are experiencing and/or trying to recover from some trauma. The characters are all flawed. They may not all be especially likeable, but they all resemble real people and therefore are relatable in many ways. Cyn and Fitz are especially sympathetic characters. Nell also elicits an empathetic response, even if the choices she makes will not be understandable to all readers.
The writing is excellent, confident and layered. The plot is even
paced while the clues and additional information work together to create
a complex picture of a mystery and the complex individuals who are a
part of the incident and the resolution. Each of the 27 chapters are
given the titles from 27 plays, tying the plot into the theater, the
Performing Arts High School, and the students. I found this to be a
compelling domestic thriller which I enjoyed immensely from start to
finish. 4.5 rounded up.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley.