The book opens with Libby’s arrest on suspicion of murder. She can’t quite comprehend what’s happening to her. How did her safe, secure life deteriorate to this point where the police would actually suspect that she, of all people, has murdered her lovely babysitter, 17-year-old Sasha? It’s just absurd!
Libby runs her up-and-coming home catering business in their homely village – a place where everyone knows everyone and where her husband Sean is the local vet. They live a comfortable, happy life together with their four-year-old daughter Alice, and with Sean’s parents not too far away to do babysitting duty, they also get the occasional night off to spend catching up on some valuable time together. But one morning, Libby finds a note on her car telling her that Sean is having an affair! She’s horrified – firstly, the very idea that her adored husband would cheat on her is distressing, and secondly, who could have left such a note?
After agonising over the issue and much tension between the two of them, Libby confronts Sean, still not knowing if it’s the best idea to do so. Not surprisingly, he hotly denies any accusation of an affair. But still, the tension between them persists. They decide to go on a ‘date night’, thinking that some time out from their hectic schedules will neutralise the atmosphere and put things to rights. So off they go to one of their favourite local haunts, leaving Alice in the care of Sasha the babysitter that they often use if Sean’s parents are unavailable. She and Libby have a good relationship and Sasha even helps Libby out with her catering business quite often.
However, their date night doesn’t go as smoothly as planned and they return home earlier than expected, only to discover that Sasha is not in the house and Alice has been left on her own … thankfully asleep in her bed. But where is Sasha?
What follows are twists, turns, red herrings, and secrets aplenty! Strap in and get ready for a journey that will leave you unnerved, surprised, stunned, and completely shocked. The story unfolds on an alternating timeline, both in the present tense, from the time that Libby is arrested, and then takes readers back to the days before and leading up to the actual date night. Samantha Hayes somehow makes it look easy to have written such a convoluted, chilling read. The slow-burn creeps up on you, until all of a sudden you’re faced with the possibility that Libby might not be this perfect, work-from-home village mom who we thought she was. Because quite unexpectedly it looks like she’s in the middle of a bit of a demented breakdown! And if Libby isn’t who we think she is, then maybe nobody else is either? Readers are forced into an abrupt mental adjustment – very clever!
This is a 5-star read! Clear your schedule; you won’t be able to put it down!
Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.
Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’
Thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to tour with them! Look at what these fabulous bloggers are saying about Date Night …