He mounts the porch steps and hands me the mail addressed to me as I give him his glass. ‘What shall we toast to tonight?’ He looks up at the house. ‘How about to a new life for the Lawrence House?’
‘Yes, that’s perfect.’ I clink my glass against his. But I avert my gaze, tipping back my head to take a long sip, wondering if he can sense it, too. The wrongness of this place.
Goodnight Beautiful opens with the disappearance of Sam Statler, a therapist who has just moved back to his small New York town with his wife Annie to be near his ailing mother. The narrative then flashes back to earlier that summer, soon after the couple has moved to town and Sam has begun work. What follows feels like a rather straight forward domestic thriller, but nothing and no one is what they seem. Molloy has crafted a novel takes the unreliable narrator and turns the volume up to eleven. Her writing will appeal to both those familiar to the genre as well as novices. Readers may want to avoid learning too much in advance, but even when one knows the twist is coming, watching Molloy execute it is just as compelling.
Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy (List Price: $27.99, Harper, 9780062881922, 10/13/2020)
Reviewed by Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina