One Night Gone

It was the perfect place to disappear. -One Night Gone

**Many thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin – Graydon House, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Author: Tara Laskowski

(3.72 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Suspense

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: October 1, 2019, by Harlequin – Graydon House

Pages: 348 (Kindle version)


Nothing worked out to be perfect. There was no perfect, no happy-ever-after. No happy ever, it seemed.

When I was younger, I used to go to the carnival with my friends and family. We would always go at night because it was just more magical then – the lights, the jaunty carnival music, and the sinfully delicious carnival sweets. The best nights of the summer were spent on the Ferris Wheel or the Tilt-A-Whirl; I never wanted to go home!

So who would have ever guessed that so much could be going on in the background of such a fun experience? The danger behind the scenes of all the twinkly lights and laughter in One Night Gone proves that all is not what it seems – not at the carnival or in the town of Opal Beach where it settles every summer.

Here’s the blurb: “One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes. Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

The possibilities were whirling inside me, gaining momentum like a tropical storm gathering strength just off the coast.

When I finished reading this book back in October, I wrote the following review on Goodreads: “The perfect mystery for a spooky October reading list – haunting and expertly unveiled. The interlacing dual timelines, expertly disclosed secrets, and crafty characters will pull you into this mystery more and more with every chapter.”

That must have been a good day when I was feeling very generous and kind because now that the book has sat with me for a couple of months, I feel a little differently.

My opinion hasn’t shifted to the other end of the spectrum – It isn’t a bad book, but I am not as enthusiastic about it as I was initially. Laskowski is a good writer, so the problem is not with the calibre of her prose. It was just missing the big payoff in the end.

I had the sense I was the last woman on earth, that in my quiet drive alone the rest of humanity had vanished.

Here is what I appreciated: the main characters in each timeline were survivors. They both faced extreme challenges and found ways to overcome them – granted, with varying degrees of success. That contributed to an intriguing premise that, unfortunately, ended up being a bit bland by the end.

One Night Gone is available now at any of the following booksellers:

And read an excerpt of the first chapter HERE

If your book club is interested in exploring this twisted suspense novel, the author has made a book club reader’s guide available for you HERE. Check it out!

Tara Laskowski

Tara Laskowski is the award-winning author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which The Guardian named a best book of 2017. Tara earned a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Virginia. One Night Gone is her first novel.

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