The Night Before: Wendy Walker
Laura Lochner created a world within her own mind justifying her actions and feelings. Wondering why she seemed alone, unloved and unaccepted by men she thought loved her but, they manipulated her mind, thoughts and actions. Laura thought she was glue or cement could fix men that she claimed were broken. Listen to her thoughts as she shares several sessions with her therapist and go deep inside her mind and realize that reality escapes her. What happened in the woods that night? Who winds up dead? This is just the beginning!
Laura came to stay with her sister Rosie, husband Joe and baby nephew Mason. As you get to know the family dynamics and their best friend Gabe, you wonder about the emotional stability of all of them except Mason.
Online dating is popular yet there are so many who create fake information and when Laura signs up with find love.com her world is about to change, her past will oddly haunt her and come back to the present as Jonathan Fields, the name he used when creating his profile, is smart, slick, manipulative and dangerous but Laura does not want to see past his phony facade. Phone calls can sound interesting and lies are easily told not seeing the face attached to the voice she can’t interpret his mood, facial expressions or look into his eyes and see what’s there.
Rosie helps her prepare for the date and with egging on from both Joe and Gabe she transforms into another person hoping in her mind to meet the perfect next boyfriend. Laura learns how Gabe met his wife through work and Laura continues to relate how she left her great job and came to live with her sister who is overprotective and fearful for Laura.
Laura relates how she finds this man and flashes back to the past and a night in the woods that ended tragically. Rosie always tried to protect her from harmful words and her mother seemed to never really have time for her. It was hard to love her she states and maybe that’s why her choices in life, men and in relationships were fragile and frayed because she was used to wanting permanence and instead deception and failure.
Men don’t read the profiles they just look at the pictures but wait until you meet this man. She even relates how her own father left them and then we learn about Mitch, Kevin and a homeless man who all wound up dead. Was she the reason and an incident she shares about someone who drowned, and she did not try to save him? Fists are her hands and is she as she thinks so hard to love.
Flashing back to her sessions with her therapist and the similarities of each session focus on her inability to process relationships and people for who and what they are. She has a poor sense of judgment and when reality sets in it’s hard to know what she’s going to do. As we learn more about Jonathan and someone who dated him and the recounting if her experience to Rosie is chilling.
Laura justifies herself by saying maybe she’s just unlucky in love and compares it to a song. But when asked what happened that midnight in the woods you wonder just how these boys wound up dead.
Her conversations with her date allow you to hear his thoughts and her rationale for trying to believe him not seeing his underlying deceptions. He’s in her head and she’s convincing herself that he’s a great date yet always referring to his ex-wife and past. He even tells her about his version of his last date from this online sure but who’s is true his or Sylvia? Why did she get into his car and where is his BMW?
Flash to Rosie and Joe and Gabe and an incident with Gabe’s brother Ricky and another with Lionel Casey who lived among the nature preserve. He was found dead in the car of Laura’s boyfriend and who’d spend his life in a mental institution. They shared the story about him and realizing that after her date and borrowing Rosie’s car her sister never came home and they went on a hunt to find her without the police. Gabe found where her cell was last located, and Joe found her car but where was her sister? The incident with Gabe’s brother is frightening yet made light of but when the email comes in after Gabe created a fake profile, they realize that this Jonathan is dangerous.
Told in several points of view and in alternating timelines we hear Laura’s thoughts and the progression of her relationships with each man she dated and how her therapist became an important part of her life. Each relationship turned out tragic with all the men’s fates she felt were her fault. Because she learned to care too much and wanted someone to care for her to a hidden jealousy and anger raged within someone making sure her love was destroyed and having her think she was uncared about and unworthy of love. Playing on her insecurities and weakness and need for reassurance that failures were not her fault Laura finds herself cat the hand and mercy of a manipulator.
As we go on the date with her with the man named Jonathan Fields aka/ Fielding we learn just how deceptive sone men can be. Why would he google her and how did he teach her real last name? Why wasn’t this a red flag for her to end the date? What was she trying to prove to herself and why tell him about Mitch’s death and Lionel Casey’s part in it one night in the woods?
When Laura does not come home after her date , Rosie is alarmed but Joe tells her not to alert the police yet even Gabe says to wait. But something in her says this is odd her phone goes to voicemail and she does not connect at all. Gabe uses his connection at Verizon and can locate where her phone was last used, and Joe locates her car. Things get tense all around as the author flashes back to her session with a Kevin and we get more insight into Laura’s mental condition and her need to feel loved even though she was made to believe the opposite: she’s unworthy of it. We are all privy to her date with Jonathan and we hear her thoughts, her rationale and even her red flags and yet she continued to remain with him even going to his apartment and taking bogeyed relationship further.
Things at home with Rosie are tension filled as she and Gabe widen their search for her and then just when they are about to stop for a while they learn about several women who enlighten them about who they think they dated namely Jonathan. But blinded by what they hoped and learning this man’s real name you get a lesson in deception and deceit after a picture speaks more than just words. But where is Laura and what happens next is shocking and you won’t believe her reaction to a fourth note., Did Jonathan put it in her purse? How did it get there? How did someone find her and after you learn about how Mitch, Kevin and Ricky dropped her you won’t believe who orchestrated this manipulation and why.
When Laura is freed from Jonathan’s apartment, she thinks she’s home free but instead she’s the unwilling captive of a diabolical killer. A race to find her and a family secret that could rip Rosie’s world apart and a sister who is unstable will she be able to rescue her before it’s too late? Lies, deceits, betrayals, hidden truths and deadly secrets and an obsessive killer that will take It to the limits to stop abs kill anyone who gets too close to Laura. Her insecurities be her need to be loved and needed and her lack of perception are just some of what causes her downfall.
The ending is explosive and the final scenes tension filled, unnerving and electrifying as author Wendy Walker takes readers on a one night journey along with Laura r understand the dangers of online dating, believing what someone wants to convince you of as the culmination will send doubts through you as to why this is dangerous and you learn the hidden secrets that occurred The Night Before. A psychological mystery thriller equal and filled with the suspense of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
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