Thanks to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author for the ARC.
All the characters and setting were similar to Wilkinson's 'Whitecliff Bay Mysteries'. The divorced single mother, a horrible ex, young son, kids never living the town after growing up, even if they hold bad memories.
The story of missing girls without a trace kept me interested throughout, but the ending was a big letdown. When everyone in the town was searching and a witness even points out, there was no way they wouldn't be found immediately.
I won't be reading the next book.
This book has so many twists and turns - just what you want from a good thriller!
It is a slow start but once it kicks off I struggled to stop reading.
I was so eager to know what happened “the night of the sleepover”. The journey to discover what happened that night was a great one! I devoured this book. My curiosity peaked from the start, and I was on the hunt for answers. This book was well thought out and engaging. I also loved that this was a different plot than the usual thriller storylines.
This story is told in dual timelines, which is my favorite. They were both captivating and paired together extremely well. The ending was awesome, and not expected AT ALL!
Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for an ARC in exchange for my honest and voluntary review.
Wow! Extremely hard book to put down. This was a page turner! Pizza, movies, laughing and fun.. all until it wasn’t.
I love Kerry Wilkinson's Whitecliff Bay series, so I am a little surprised I didn't enjoy this one more. I didn't find Leah's character consistent - whether it be in her reactions to the anonymous emails, her relationship with her son, or even her work. Overall, the premise is good, but it didn't just work for me.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc.
Twenty five years ago four girls were on a sleepover but only one of them, Leah, woke up in the morning. Her three friends were nowhere to be found and now a documentary is being made about that night so that the truth can finally be discovered.
Overall The Night of the Sleepover by Kerry Wilkinson is an engaging read with a surprise ending and cannot wait to read the sequel .
I would like to thank Bookouture & NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review.
“Four girls close their eyes. Only one wakes up…”
It’s 1999 and Leah, Vicky, Harriet and Jazz, now teenagers, have been friends since they were youngsters. Only that is all about to change! Following the death of her mother, Vicky now shares her home with her father Tom and older sister Esther and one Saturday in December is given permission to invite her three friends for a sleepover, as both Esther and Tom are out for the evening, although they will be home later, so the girls will be using sleeping bags to crash out on the lounge floor. As with all teenagers, Vicky is determined to push the boundaries a little, so finding alcohol is definitely going to spice up their pizza and film evening nicely. Tom checks that the girls are safely tucked in when he returns home, albeit that he himself is slightly the worse for wear following his evening out, so he is astounded when Leah rouses him later the following morning, after waking to find herself alone, with the other three girls having seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth.
Leah is already by far the most emotionally unstable of the group, as she has led a traumatic childhood, being forced to witness the continual abuse and beatings her father dishes out to her mother, that’s when he is not being arrested and sent back to prison for yet another breach of the law. Leah herself has never been physically injured by her father Paul, however the verbal abuse she has endured and all that she has seen and heard, has surely taken her to the very edge of reason, a position which Vicky, Harriet and Jazz can’t comprehend, as they have each been blessed with a loving family environment and upbringing. It is therefore no surprise that, although Leah covets and is more than a little jealous of the love and parental praise showered on her three friends, their disappearance is a shock, especially when her father, recently released from jail yet again, comes under suspicion of causing them harm.
Roll forwards twenty five years and the disappearance of the girls remains an unsolved case and still at the forefront in the minds of so many of the townsfolk, who steadfastly refuse to accept that Leah is completely innocent of whatever fate has befallen them. Leah herself, now married, divorced and a single parent to her own teenage son Zac, continues to live and work in the area as a Community Support Worker, although her father Paul remains in and out of incarceration like a yo-yo and her mother has dramatically and finally succumbed to the deadly mix of abuse, alcohol and pills, which defined her shortened life and disturbed mind. For Leah, following the mysterious disappearance of her three friends, Harriet’s parents had surprisingly held out a lifeline to the distraught and vilified teenager, taking her in and treating her as their own, and to this day, still treat her as a surrogate daughter for the child they have lost, with Zac becoming the grandson they could never get to love and spoil.
To recognise this puzzling twenty-five-year-old mystery, amateur independent documentary maker and Jazz’s brother Owen, decides to re-open the case in his own way, hoping to jog someone’s memory, bringing new evidence to light. He begins to interview anyone and everyone who has connections or memories, no matter how tenuous the link, with the disappearance – and that’s when things begin to get even more strange and interesting for Leah, when she realises that someone out there, apart from she herself, knows far more than they are letting on and definitely more than they ever revealed to the police at the time of the investigation.
It looks as though more than one person has motive and secrets which they have steadfastly kept hidden for more than two decades, including someone who is no longer able to answer for themselves, but is the guilty party who they, or me as the reading audience, believe it is, or has their silent suffering all been in vain?
Read the book for yourself to discover the truth about what really happened on The Night Of The Sleepover…
Due to the passage of time between the disappearance of the teenagers and the present day, whilst maybe not dripping in the charged and claustrophobic atmosphere of some psychological thrillers, this intense, twisted and multi-layered storyline, is well structured, totally destructive and emotionally draining.
Narrated by Leah herself, it is written across multiple timelines, moving back and forth from the days and weeks before, during and after the night of the sleepover, in relatively short and well-signposted chapters, which kept the pace moving along nicely, whilst introducing backstory elements to add context, none of which made it any easier to spot the many red herrings planted along my journey to uncover the truth. However, you need to keep reading right until the very end for the final heart-wrenching, callous and cruel act of vindictiveness to be revealed, which literally took my breath away and left me speechless (which is no mean feat!).
Author Kerry Wilkinson has cleverly crafted this storyline as a vehicle to highlight the far-reaching ramifications to both physical and mental health, of being directly or indirectly involved in an abusive relationship. Once again begging the question of why it is that people keep letting destructive forces back into their lives regardless of the often ignored need that all children have, to be able to rely on at least one constant role model in their young and formative years. For Leah, the sense of loss for any relationship she might have had with her own mother and the overwhelming feelings of jealousy she has for her so-called friends, who have such stable home-lives and who are soon to be forbidden from mixing with ‘the likes of her’, is almost more than she can bear without fighting back.
The cast of characters are, on the whole, well defined and developed, although not particularly compelling or easy to relate to. Given the nature of the events they were drawn into all those years ago and which still haunt them in one degree or another to the present day, it is perhaps unsurprising that between them there is a plethora of complex human emotions still bubbling away just beneath the surface, with only the slightest of words or deeds needed to re-ignite that barely supressed volatility, an often destructive vulnerability and the inherent need to manipulate a situation.
As I came to the end of this very twisted and emotionally charged psychological thriller, I was more than happy with the way in which author Kerry Wilkinson had drawn everything to its conclusion… That was until I learned that there is a second book in the ‘Sleepover’ series, which whilst it is made perfectly clear that both work well as stand alone stories, leaves me feeling as though I have been left with something of a void which can only be filled by reading ‘After The Sleepover’ as soon as possible – just in case there are any links between the two plotlines. Silly I know, but that’s how my mind works, so I have now requested an advance NetGalley copy of book #2.
The only small niggle I might have had with this story, was that there was little sense of location, as there were no actual place names mentioned, either real or fictional. I fully accept that this was essentially a storyline which was all about plot and characters, so in many respects location was almost an unnecessary inclusion and not a vital component. However, for any avid ‘armchair travellers’ such as myself, a firm footing in a specific area, is always a desirable addition, as it can add depth to the overall reading experience.
This is a gripping mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The story unfolds two decades after a seemingly ordinary sleepover turns into a haunting mystery when three of Leah's best friends vanish without a trace. The novel explores the aftermath of that fateful night, blending elements of psychological suspense, unexpected twists, and an unreliable narrator that adds layers of intrigue.
The characters, particularly Leah, have plenty of depth and complexity. Leah's past traumas and the impact of her unstable upbringing are woven into her character, making her a compelling and relatable protagonist. The presence of an unreliable narrator adds an element of mystery which kept me guessing about the authenticity of Leah's perceptions and memories. The narrative provides not only a gripping mystery but also a journey through the psychological aftermath of a traumatic event which included the unsettling possibility of secrets kept for decades and the enduring impact of that single, mysterious night.
Overall this a great book that masterfully combines mystery, psychological suspense, and unexpected revelations. Kerry Wilkinson's storytelling prowess, character development and the element of the unreliable narrator contributed to the reading experience.
From the first page, I was pulled in. I couldn’t put it down. Very suspenseful. I thought I knew what happened to the girl but boy was wrong. Highly recommend!
I was instantly drawn to the storyline & HAD to know what happened to the 3 girls. I honestly don’t know what I was expecting to have happened to them but, it wasn’t that. Told in dual timelines & one POV. I stayed up WAY too late to find out what happened & I have no regrets. Fast paced chapters with twists I didn’t see coming.
Thank you to NetGalley & Bookouture for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I love this author and I loved that this is one of the books that leave off for a possibility of a sequel. I did not see that twist coming Great book.
This is a great thriller as I’ve come to love from Kerry Wilkinson. The story is great and twisted conclusion had me so surprised!
Thank you, Kerry Wilkinson, Bookouture, Bookouture audio & netgalley for my ecopy & audiobook! All opinions are my own.
In the chilling mystery thriller with a haunting narrative that revolves around a night of friendship turned inexplicably tragic. The story opens with four close friends sharing laughter, pizza, and movie choices during a sleepover. However, the morning after, Leah awakens to a scene of confusion and dread—her three friends have vanished without a trace.
Fast forward twenty years, and Leah is still haunted by the unanswered questions surrounding that fateful night. The small hometown remains steeped in rumors and whispers, intensifying Leah's quest for the truth. The plot takes an intriguing turn when a documentary on the disappearance is in the making, threatening to unveil long-buried secrets.
The story builds suspense as Leah receives an anonymous email with a cryptic message: 'Stop them.' The narrative explores the tension between Leah's desire to uncover the truth and the fear that some secrets are better left buried.
This is a riveting exploration of the lasting impact of a mysterious event and the relentless pursuit of answers. It masterfully captures the atmosphere of unease and suspense, keeping us on the edge of our seats. The novel's premise, coupled with its well-crafted characters, promises a gripping and emotionally charged mystery that delves into the consequences of a night that changed everything. If you enjoy psychological mysteries with a blend of suspense and emotional depth, this novel is a must-read.
Thrilling book that kept me guessing all the way. Very talented author. Edge of the seat that will have you reading all night.
While the mystery of this book intrigued me and the writing was good it still took me a long time to get into it. I felt like I was forcing myself to read it for the first few chapters even though I was invested in what happened to the missing girls and why Leah wasn't also taken. That said I still recommend this one for fans of mysteries.
The Night of the Sleepover by Kerry Wilkinson
Published: October 23, 2023
Genre: Domestic Thriller
KKECReads Rating: 5/5
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.
Kerry Wilkinson has sold more than two million books - and had No.1 crime bestsellers in the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. As well as his Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written a trilogy featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, the Whitecliff series, the Silver Blackthorn trilogy - a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults - plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages. Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry spent way too long living in the north of England, picking up words like 'barm' and 'ginnel'. When he's short of ideas, he rides his bike, hikes up something, or bakes cakes. When he's not, he writes it all down.
Oh, my stars. I love Kerry Wilkinson. He knows how to write engaging stories that suck you in and then rip the floor out from under you.
The build-up for this story was told through alternating timelines, which told stories. The way things connected was clever. I liked the characters and their development.
The twist left me speechless. I did not see any of that coming. I am stoked there is a second book because I need to know what else will happen. There is no way this will stay as neatly packed away as this book made it seem. Keeping secrets is difficult.
The premise of this book hooked me and while the story did not feel incredibly original I enjoyed it nonetheless. My only really critique is that the ending felt very rushed. It felt like the author just wanted to end the book and the whole thing was wrapped up very quickly.
WOW, this was twisted and cleverly written. I thought early on I had figured out THAT twist, I hadn't! I love Kerry's ability to weave together a twisted and fast paced story. This was an excellent read! It did leave me wanting MORE?.
Twenty years later there is a documentary about the night of the sleepover that four girlfriends attended. The next morning only one, Leah, survived! This was an easy, suspenseful read that felt a bit rushed towards the end. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for a copy.
This book confused me from the beginning but sort of went with it. It took me a while too really get into it there were a few gripping bits in it and the end was ok.