ARC Review: After Nightfall by A.J. Banner


AfterNightfallCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: Beware of friends with secrets…

Imagine your closest friend utterly betraying you. Years later, when she seeks forgiveness, you invite her to your engagement party as a gesture of reconciliation. But seething hostilities rise to the surface, ruining everyone’s evening. After an awful night, your friend’s battered, lifeless body is found at the bottom of a rocky cliff.

Newly engaged Marissa Parlette is living this nightmare. She should be celebrating her upcoming wedding, but she can’t shake the image of her friend lying dead on the beach. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or did she take a purposeful step into darkness? Desperate for answers, Marissa digs deep into the events of the party. But what she remembers happening after nightfall now carries sinister implications: the ugly sniping, the clandestine meetings, the drunken flirtations. The more she investigates, the more she questions everything she thought she knew about her friends, the man she once trusted, and even herself.

Bestselling author A. J. Banner keeps readers on a razor-sharp edge in this intricately plotted novel of psychological suspense…in which nothing is as it seems.

Genre: Psychological suspense, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Setting: Modern day Tranquil Cove, a fictional town on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington

***I received an eARC copy of After Nightfall from the publisher, Lake Union Publishing, via NetGalley***

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: Compulsively readable, but doesn’t truly have any shocking surprises. After Nightfall by A.J. Banner is a tough book for me to review. I couldn’t put the book down, as I had to know what happened, but nothing really stood out as different about this read.

After Nightfall tells the story of Marissa Parlette, who has recently reconnected with her best friend from childhood, Lauren. Lauren happens to live next door to Marissa’s fiancé, and one night Lauren leaves a party early and is found dead the next morning. Marissa feels compelled to investigate, as she found Lauren, and because of their dramatic history (which is neither shocking nor uncommon).

There are plenty of suspects here, from Lauren’s husband, to Lauren’s daughter, to Marissa’s fiancé, Nathan, who keeps sneaking out at night, to Nathan’s jealous ex-wife, to Nathan’s daughter, and the neighbor who always seems to appear anytime anyone goes outside. Bring in Nathan’s jerky brother Keith and his strained wife, and you’ve got a case of anyone could’ve done it! You suspect everyone (even Marissa, the narrator) at multiple points, and while A.J. Banner did a great job of keeping the suspicion up (someone would come off my list as a suspect just to go right back on it), the characters were overall a bit flat.

The male characters really let me down here. They were all a bit drippy and full of clichés. Marissa also was somewhat frustrating. I could never tell if she was a reliable narrator or not (that’s part of the fun of first-person psychological suspense), and she makes some really poor decisions here that were really irritating. The villain does get their “tell-all” towards the end, and while some may find this type of thing annoying, I enjoy it as I get some closure as to motive. And while we get closure for the villain (or do we?), After Nightfall had an unsatisfactory ending for me. I could have done without the last couple of pages. No spoilers here, but if you’ve read the book, feel free to comment about that ending.

Books like this are tough for me to recommend. Did I enjoy the book? Yes, I read it quickly and wanted to know the ending and couldn’t quite figure it out. But at the same time, nothing truly felt new or different, so I don’t think I’ll be remembering this for much longer. I read and reviewed another one of A.J. Banner’s books awhile back, The Twilight Wife, and I enjoyed that title much more. I’d definitely read more from A.J. Banner though, as she does write books that are entertaining reads!

Bottom Line: Many twists and turns that are predictable to a point, but still utterly readable.

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Author Website


Does this sound like a great, suspenseful read? Or does it sound like too much of a cliche?


6 thoughts on “ARC Review: After Nightfall by A.J. Banner

    1. Yeah, nothing really stood out about the characters. And I don’t remember this being an issue with the other book of hers that I read, The Twilight Wife, so for some reason these characters here were just oh-so-bland.


    1. The Twilight Wife is worth reading if you end up enjoying this one. Yeah, everyone could’ve done it in this read – I suspected everyone and they all had the typical motives for murder.

      Liked by 1 person

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