Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Book Review: 'As Night Falls' by Jenny Milchman

Sandy Tremont is a social worker who lives with her husband, Ben, and their willful fifteen-year old daughter, Ivy, in upstate New York. Ben had previously convinced Sandy to leave their modest home in town and build a larger and more elegant house in an isolated area of the Adirondacks. Ivy balked at the move, and lately, she has been temperamental, saving her hugs and kisses for her beloved dog, Mac.

Jenny Milchman's "As Night Falls" is a tense novel of psychological suspense with a subtext that emerges gradually through a series of flashbacks. The author takes us back and forth from the seventies, eighties, and nineties to the present day. She introduces us to a little boy raised by a high-strung and indulgent mother and an ineffectual father. The child develops a nasty temper and, when thwarted, is capable of unbelievable cruelty. He develops delusions of grandeur and ultimately turns into a sociopath capable of the most heinous crimes.

Milchman is a skilled descriptive writer whose rural setting is an essential element in the story. In addition, she conveys Sandy's longing to keep peace in her family, Ben's strength of character and sense of responsibility, and Ivy's essential goodness as well as her volatility. The plot involves the Tremonts' struggle to survive after two escaped convicts invade their home. Although the narrative requires a sizeable suspension of disbelief, we remain engrossed, particularly when we learn that a long-buried secret may destroy the bond between Sandy, Ben, and Ivy. This is a diverting and atmospheric thriller that pits three desperate individuals against a sadistic and manipulative killer.

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right

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