The Night Side

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Pub Date 05 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2023

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Twenty years of secrets. One deadly truth.

When Ruby Carlson was eighteen, she ran away from her home in Stoneybrook, Montana, and vowed she'd never return. Never return to life under the control of her manipulative mother, Ida, a self-styled medium and psychic scammer who made a career out of ruining people's lives. Never return to the small town where enemies lurk at every turn.

But now, twenty years later, Ruby is back. Her mother is missing, presumed dead, and Ruby reluctantly returns to a home filled with chilling memories to settle Ida's affairs. Did she really commit suicide by drowning, or is this another dark scheme? Ruby thought she knew everything about her mother, but finds herself unraveling a web of lies and secrets to reveal a story more twisted than anyone could have imagined . . .

Twenty years of secrets. One deadly truth.

When Ruby Carlson was eighteen, she ran away from her home in Stoneybrook, Montana, and vowed she'd never return. Never return to life under the control of...

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ISBN 9781448312504
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Average rating from 26 members

Featured Reviews

"Twenty years of secrets. One deadly truth." This is the gripping premise of "The Night Side" by Laurie Anne Forest, a psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

The story revolves around Ruby Carlson, who fled her manipulative and fraudulent mother, Ida, two decades ago, vowing never to return to her hometown of Stoneybrook, Montana. However, when Ida goes missing and is presumed dead, Ruby is compelled to return home to settle her mother's affairs. What follows is a riveting tale of mystery and intrigue as Ruby unravels a web of lies and secrets.

Laurie Anne Forest masterfully weaves a narrative filled with chilling memories, complex characters, and unexpected twists.

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M.M. DeLuca shines a laser sharp light on the disturbing reality of psychic scamming in her suspenseful novel, THE NIGHT SIDE.
Ruby Carlson left her mother Ida, a cunning con-artist, twenty years ago after she drew an unwilling Ruby into her schemes. Now Ida is missing, presumed dead and Ruby must return to to her childhood home in Montana to settle her affairs. But all is not as it seems. Is Ida really dead, or is this another one of her schemes to draw Ruby home?
The story is told in dual timelines, past and present, as Ruby unravels a twisted web of secrets to find the truth about her mother, and herself.
A thrilling page turner with a richly evoked setting and an eerie, suspenseful atmosphere that kept me reading on until the unexpected ending.

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It’s been twenty years since Ruby left Stoneybrook, Montana, having vowed to never return. Throughout her childhood, her manipulative mother Ida forced her to join her schemes, exploiting Ruby to ravage the local community with false mediumship and psychic scams. With her mother missing and presumed dead, she's forced to return to settle her affairs. However, Ruby has her doubts - what really happened to Ida?

The Night Side by M.M. DeLuca is a mystery thriller that focuses on the life of thirty-something Ruby.

On receiving a call from her old flame, Aidan, she must go home to settle her presumed dead mother's affairs.

It's been twenty years since Ruby Carlson fled Stoneybrook, Montana, and she vowed to never return.

A teenage runaway, she has lived an idyllic life in England since she was eighteen and enjoys a successful career as an archaeologist.

Now she's back in a place brimming with disturbing memories and horrific secrets. Here, she must uncover the truth, what really happened to Ida?

The novel is told from Ruby's perspective throughout with dual timelines, each chapter offering either a present or past account. This allows the reader to understand the extent of Ida's manipulation, coercion and control of Ruby in her childhood and the damage it's caused in adulthood.

Essentially, Ruby must now unravel the truth amidst half-truths, whispers, lies and secrets. While doing so, she also hopes to rekindle her bond with Aidan and then get as far away from Stoneybrook as possible.

DeLuca knows how to keep the reader interested, masterfully revealing snippets of information throughout to guide us through the mystery and keep us hooked.

As we reflect on the chapters set in the past, we see that ultimately, Ruby's life was very lonely. Her only childhood joy was her friendship and courtship with Aidan. Thankfully, DeLuca weaves a blossoming and charming relationship between them in their youth.

As a teenager and spurred on by Aidan, we see Ruby's confidence develop. Eventually, rebelling leads to her ultimate goal, freedom.

However, on her return to Montana in the present, we can almost sympathise with the community in Stoneybrook. Understandably, feelings haven't changed toward Ruby and her mother. Ostracised by most, their past contempt is a feeling Ruby remembers all too well.

In turn, this treatment also seems unfair. Essentially, Ida forced a young Ruby into her fraudulent schemes, exploiting her 'gift' to ravage the local community, especially those she perceived as vulnerable. DeLuca creates a myriad of complex relationships due to this, which has the reader questioning who is right and wrong.

Despite this disdain, Ruby seemingly had little choice as a child, controlled by the manipulative and narcissistic, Ida. She must navigate these hostile reactions, unlock difficult memories and deal with current emotions, all charging at full speed. In doing so, a realistic character is crafted, imperfect and complex. One we root for, hoping she gets the answers she seeks.

In order for Ruby to overcome her past she must fully embrace her present situation. She must solve the mystery and untangle her trauma if she hopes to enjoy true freedom in the future.

Overall, The Night Side is a thrilling read. It offers complex characters, well-illustrated environments and twists aplenty throughout its well-paced narrative.

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The Night Side follows Ruby Carlson who must return to her childhood home following her con-artist mother going missing and now presumed dead. However is her mother, Ida, really dead or is something else happening? I loved reading through the dual timelines and seeing all the secrets unfold through plenty of twists. I also thought M.M. DeLuca created a greatly suspenseful and thrilling atmosphere that made me never want to put this down. I really recommend to any mystery thriller lovers.

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With the nights getting colder and Autumn upon us, it's time to delve into the darker mysteries and DeLuca (Author) has just that with The Night Side. I actually forgot what this was about before picking it up, so essentially went in blind and I'm glad I did.

This story is told in almost two time lines from the point of view of Ruby. We know that Ruby has no love for her mother, the woman who manipulated poor Ruby for years making her life a pure hell. Step forward twenty years and we find Ruby escaped (Although we don't find out how yet) and has to return to the town of Stoneybrook as her mother is missing, if not dead. The one place Ruby swore she would never return to and especially not for Ida her mother.

This tale is a mystery, thriller. There is some romance, a hint of 'skeptical' paranormal and a lot of lies. I love books where you have to question everything and everyone. I certainly felt that about Stoneybrook! There are a fair few characters you'll meet along the way. Most strongly portrayed and fairly interesting. I felt like I could sense each one of them well. This book is rich in colour and I liked the setting of the age old town, especially when we were back in Ruby's childhood.

I read this over 24 hours in two sittings and thoroughly enjoyed it. Right up until the end I was still guessing about some things and loved the conclusion. DeLuca (Author) really reeled me in with this one and I was impressed I didn't work everything out! A solid 4 stars, I will be looking at more titles by the author in the future!

Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for this ARC in exchange of an honest review.

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The Night Side brings a tinge of the supernatural to a twisty thriller about Ruby Carlson, who left home and an abusive mother behind only to return two decades later when her mother goes missing under suspicious circumstances. The small town Montana setting feels just as claustrophobic as the house Ruby grew up in, full of small minds and desperation, and is beautifully portrayed both in the present and in scattered flashbacks to Ruby's strange youth.

Although I enjoyed reading it, The Night Side left me feeling curiously like it should have been a movie instead - the writing has a cinematic quality to it, all set pieces and big personalities, and there are some things in the plot that hit a bit wacky in prose, but would be much easier to pull off as a performance than a paragraph. The climax felt a bit overwrought as happens with a bunch of people freaking out in a room, but again I could picture it so perfectly - someone needs to slide this book on over to Netflix, it could really work!

I'm a tough sell too on the trope of two people falling in love as teenagers and then just literally never getting over it or moving on to a new love, but this book did a better job than most on selling me on the chemistry between the romantic leads. I was pulling for them by the end, although it would have been easy to just have one of them as a divorcée or something (after twenty years!!) to make them both seem less like weirdos. And although it's touched on later in the book a little bit, I was a little disappointed that Ruby's life as (and even path to becoming) an archaeologist wasn't a bigger part of the book - it's such a specific career choice, and one you need such dedication to pursue, that I was surprised it didn't figure in more. It's a really cool and unusual job for an MC to have in this genre, it felt like a missed opportunity to work it in more!

Overall this was a pleasant read with some surprising twists, I'd recommend it as an unusual take on the thriller genre.

My thanks to Severn House and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I found myself looking for my Kindle to read this any spare moment I had. It pulled me in and had so much going on! I really enjoyed this psychological, suspenseful, mystery!

Ruby Carlson got out and fled to England 20 years ago. Now she is back. She left behind her teenage boyfriend, Aiden, which was the hardest thing to do but necessary to escape Ruby's evil and dysfunctional "mom", Ida. Now Ruby is back in Stoneybrook, Montana. She was called home to uncover what happened to Ida who has been missing under suspicious circumstance. Ruby had every right to leave as Ida was a manipulative grifter living off the pain and mystery of other town folk using her "psychic" abilities. Is Ida really dead? Will Ruby get sucked back into StoneyBrook and the path of destruction left by Ida? Will Ruby leave?

Great characters, well developed plot and such a good story! I was hooked in the first chapter.

Highly recommend!!

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Ruby had returned home after 20+ years to try and find if her mother is actually missing/ dead whatever has happened to her. She was a scammer and pseudo psychic who conned people out of money and their lives. And along the way Ruby discovers secrets from her own life

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Ida, scammer extraordinaire, is missing. Ruby, her daughter, and one-time coerced associate, returns to her hometown to lay the ghosts of their past. I use the word ‘ghosts’ advisedly because some of the characters might not be as corporeal as the rest. Ida has always been a grifter, running small cons and scamming strangers, neighbours, friends, and family. From an early age Ruby has been a tool in some of these deceptions but, from the age of about ten she is used as a sort of medium, sort of fortune teller, apparently going into a trance and reporting messages from beyond. She is considered weird by her peers so has only one real friend, Aidan, who becomes her anchor to reality and proper boyfriend as they become teenagers. Ida’s scam meanwhile has matured into a form of emotional blackmail; clients who have lost children, especially babies, are persuaded that Ruby can channel their lost child for a fee, a large fee, a recurrent fee. Once she reaches eighteen, an adult and so free from her mother, Ruby escapes to England, cutting all ties, where she becomes a well-respected archaeologist with an amazing ability to find important relics. After twenty years her cosy world is disrupted by a message from Aidan telling her that her mother is believed to have drowned herself, and that she need to come back to sort out her affairs. It will be a chance for her to reconnect with her first, and enduring, love, but also a return to the small Montana town where everyone know everybody, and all of them hated Ida and haven’t forgotten Ruby’s role.
The story is told entirely from Ruby’s point of view, in alternating chapters; present day in the present tense and events from the past in the past tense. This works extremely well, as the reader learns the background which explains each new incident as it occurs. The possibility that Ruby is really psychic is dangled at intervals, never stated as such but rather presented as “through a glass, darkly”. The plot is well formed and rolls along at a fair pace until the dénouement. The latter is a set piece which unfurls at almost break-neck speed, the speed helping, I think, to disguise the fact that the logistics are a bit off. Overall it’s a very good read.
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a draft proof copy for the purpose of this review.

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"Twenty years of secrets. One deadly truth.

When Ruby Carlson was eighteen, she ran away from her home in Stoneybrook, Montana, and vowed she'd never return. Never return to life under the control of her manipulative mother, Ida, a self-styled medium and psychic scammer who made a career out of ruining people's lives. Never return to the small town where enemies lurk at every turn.

But now, twenty years later, Ruby is back. Her mother is missing, presumed dead, and Ruby reluctantly returns to a home filled with chilling memories to settle Ida's affairs. Did she really commit suicide by drowning, or is this another dark scheme? Ruby thought she knew everything about her mother, but finds herself unraveling a web of lies and secrets to reveal a story more twisted than anyone could have imagined..."

I mean, I need to read this just to find out how someone who committed suicide by drowning is missing, presumed dead!

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At the age of eighteen, Ruby Carlson fled her hometown desperate to leave her former life and Mother, a manipulative con-artist, behind. Twenty years later, Ruby reluctantly returns home after receiving news her Mother, Ida, is missing and presumed dead, to settle her affairs. However, Ruby is suspicious about whether Ida is really dead or if this is just another scheme. As she works to help solve the mystery behind Ida’s disappearance, she uncovers truths more sinister than she’d ever imagined.

The Night Side was a fantastic read. It was fast-paced, captivating and kept me guessing all the way through. Just when I thought I’d figured things out, another twist came out of left field and absolutely floored me. The book was told from the perspective of Ruby, whom I couldn’t help but love and cheer for. I also really liked the usage of a dual past and present timeline. It provided great insight into Ruby’s upbringing and her mother’s evolution into a con artist that bankrupted countless families. My only complaint was that the beginning was slightly confusing as the author hinted at things without providing context or explanation. Overall, I highly recommend picking up this book once it’s released!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this dark, slow burning novel that brims with atmosphere. The issue of psychic scamming is an interesting one to tackle in a suspense novel and I loved the twists and turns in the plot. Great character development and a detailed setting making this an incredible page turner.

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I liked this book but I just couldn't get into the story. I didn't like the writing style but overall the story was good.

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Told from the perspective of Ruby in dual timelines this book really gripped me. I read this in one evening. A fantastic book with great characters, not all of them likeable but that’s what makes this book so good.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for my honest and unbiased opinion.

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M.M. DeLuca throws the reader into a twisted story of abuse, scams, and a young girls fight to escape the insanity that her mother inflicts upon her. Alternating timelines between present day and Ruby’s childhood, we are shown the horrors she was subjected to alongside trying to understand the mystery of her mother’s disappearance.
This book did a great job of maintaining my interest, with short chapters, frequent twists, and great descriptive writing.
This story did require me to suspend my disbelief a few times but overall was an enjoyable experience and I will be picking up more from this author in the future.

Thankyou to Severn House and Netgalley for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!

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