I’ve been increasingly enjoying JP Pomare’s work over the years. His latest release is actually a re-release of an audiobook (via Audible) from late 2022. I noted a few authors were doing something similar – releasing audiobooks or even novellas in the form of ebooks. It probably means this is a little shorter than usual. It’s very much in his style though… some slightly devious storytelling that has us making certain assumptions only to find out later that we were duped.Home Before Night
by J.P. Pomare
Published by Hachette Australia
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
As the third wave of the virus hits, all inhabitants of Melbourne are given until 8 pm to get to their homes. Wherever they are when the curfew begins, they must live for four weeks and stay within five kilometres of. When Lou's son, Samuel, doesn't arrive home by nightfall, she begins to panic.
He doesn't answer his phone. He doesn't message. His social media channels are inactive. Lou is out of her mind with worry, but she can't go to the police, because she has secrets of her own. Secrets that Samuel just can't find out about. Lou must find her son herself and bring him home.
I actually thought there was going to be some tricky time-jumps here because there were a couple of ‘things’ that I couldn’t decide if they were: editing errors; logic-loving me being anal; or… as I said… some weird ‘Sliding Doors’ time shift. I feel picky for even mentioning it but I’m fairly sure we learn that Samuel is 19, but earlier in the novel there’s reference to him as a 10 year old, naming their (now) 11 year old kitten. Similarly Lou monitors her online ‘followers’ but also talks about not really using social media.
My weird foibles aside*…. one of the things I found eerie about this was that it was set in the throes of Covid. (Well, an increasing worse spread of Covid.) I know we are still in the midst of the pandemic – as someone who only got it for the first time a month ago – but it was a bit surreal. Like reading books in the height of Covid that didn’t reference it at all. Or masks. Or social distancing.
Pomare does a great job at re-planting readers back into the time of curfews and lockdowns, with brief forays outside to exercise or healthcare and the like. It actually creates a sense of trepidation that builds on Lou’s concerns about Samuel’s absence.
Pomare also very cleverly ekes out backstory here, giving us clues to past secrets before it all unravels for Lou, her ex-husband and for Samuel. I think perhaps the original format of the book means the climax felt a bit rushed. We move very quickly from uncovering the past to the conclusion so I didn’t feel as if I got to savour the ‘reveal’ and twists on offer.
But this is another great read from Pomare and the sneak peek at his next book (included in the paperback copy) will whet your appetite for his 2024 release.
Home Before Night by JP Pomare will published in Australia by Hachette on 26 April 2023.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.
* I mention them only because they sidetracked / distracted me.