“The Shape of Night” by Tess Gerritsen opens with a first-person narrative directed specifically to the reader, sharing feelings and apprehension, while shadowing things to come, “Even now I still dream about Brodie’s Watch, and the nightmare is always the same…I had felt no such apprehension on that day in early August when I turned onto North Point Way and drove toward Brodie’s Watch for the first time.” Readers learn a lot a about the narrator as she talks to herself and comments on events along the way.
Gerritsen skillfully takes readers on a long strange visit to a wonderful house undergoing renovation but with a lovely huge kitchen just perfect for the narrator who is writing a cookbook. The opening tone is optimistic; after all, the house is the perfect place to write a book about “Traditional New England” cooking. However, as the days pass, readers feel the same apprehension, tension, and approaching panic as the narrator. Readers, along with the narrator, walk the line between reality and something else, then are hit with a strong dose of both, and begin to question what reality actually is.
I received a review copy of “The Shape of Night” from Tess Gerritsen, Random House Publishing, and Ballantine Books. It was expertly designed to pull readers into the drama of the characters, the setting, and the house. The plot was intended to manipulate feelings and establish doubt. It was compelling from start to finish.