Author : Harriet Tyce
Title : It Ends At Midnight
Pages : 330
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : April 14, 2022
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes twelve. A lavish party in one of Edinburgh’s best postcodes is sent spiralling into chaos when two guests fall tragically from the roof, impaled on the cast iron railings below.
For Tess, it was about more than reuniting with long lost friends. Recently diagnosed with an illness that could be terminal, it was her last chance to make things right. Having grown apart from her husband Marcus, she knew this would be the perfect opportunity to renew their vows, surrounded by everyone they love.
Their time is running out. Tess’ closest companion Sylvie knows this better than anyone. She’s trying desperately to offer her friend some closure from the guilt that has plagued them both for decades.
But as midnight approaches and the countdown begins, it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want a resolution.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Harriet Tyce’s books always seem to leave me somewhat conflicted. The same can be said about ‘It Ends At Midnight‘. For the most part, I enjoyed it but there are niggles.
‘It Ends At Midnight‘ begins with a tragedy. Two guests at a lavish party fall from a roof and find themselves impaled on cast iron railings. Ouch. The question is who are these two people and how did they end up there. I do rather enjoy it when a book kicks off like this. When you know where it will end but you’ve no idea how things got to that point and you’re given the opportunity to figure it out for yourself along the way.
To find out how we got there, we obviously have to go back. Not just to the months leading up to this party, but even further into the past. Sylvie and Tess have been friends since they were teenagers. But something happened back then and the guilt has plagued them for years. Tess has recently been diagnosed with an illness that could be terminal and she desperately wants to make things right. That involves finding someone from their past to reconnect with. Sylvie is reluctant. She’s making big strides in her career and she’s worried she might lose everything.
Here is what caused a niggle. Unfortunately I need to keep it vague so I don’t spoil anything. This past event is a rather big deal. It has made a massive impact on someone’s life. As the book description mentions, Sylvie and Tess have carried around guilt about their involvement for years. Yet somehow, Sylvia can’t remember that person’s name. I found that to be completely implausible. Surely that would be engraved into your brain. It’s not like forgetting where you put your keys!
While I’m at it, have another niggle. Putting aside the question whether or not Sylvie is a reliable narrator, why is it that a successful character like herself needs to be so desperately unlikable? Quite frankly, the entire cast of characters didn’t exactly warm my heart. The friendship between Sylvie and Tess is incredibly toxic, both in the past as in the present, and they both would have been better off without the other in their lives. Often they brought me to the point of thinking I’d quite happily shove both of them off a roof myself.
Anyway, back to the cast iron railing kebabs. It didn’t take me all that long to have a good idea about one of the victims but the other one remained a question mark for most of the story. Most everything else seemed a bit too predictable to me, though. There’s a heck of a lot of manipulation going on but ultimately I guess it’s about finding answers and peace of mind. Although, even with her possibly terminal diagnosis, I was never really sure why Tess was so desperate to revisit that period of her life.
Despite those niggles, I actually quite enjoyed this book. Could possibly have done without the graphic sex scenes, especially the one with “accidental back door entry” that read like a fantasy novel. In hindsight, I understand why those scenes were important but part of me couldn’t help but wonder if there couldn’t have been another way to get across the dubious behaviour of a character.
‘It Ends At Midnight‘ is a well-plotted psychological thriller. The tension builds with every page, and the pace and the snappy chapters make this quite the page-turner. Personally I felt the ending fell rather flat but that’s probably just me. Honestly, I know it may not really sound like it but I did actually have an entertaining time with this one. It’s extremely addictive and I think fans of the genre and of Harriet Tyce’s books will be glued to the pages.
It Ends At Midnight is published on Thursday. My thanks to Headline for the advanced review copy, which I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own!