Synopses & Reviews
On a blustery April day, the quiet, rather private wife of a doctor discovers that her husband has been having an affair. Moments later, driving along a winding country road and distracted perhaps by her own thoughts, perhaps blinded by sunlight, she fails to see sixty-one-year-old Ruth Mitchell up ahead, riding her bicycle. She hits her, killing her instantly. And drives away.
The hit-and-run driver is never found. But the doctor's wife, horrified by what she has done, begins to unravel. Soon she turns her attention to Ruth's bereaved husband, a man staggering sleeplessly through each night, as unhinged by grief as the killer is by guilt.
Arthur Mitchell does not realize at first that someone has begun watching him through his windows, worrying over his disheveled appearance, his increasingly chaotic home. And when at last she steps through his doorway, secretly at first, then more boldly, he is ready to believe that, for reasons beyond his understanding, his wife has somehow been returned to him....
A story of loss, lies, and wrongdoing, astonishingly complex and ingeniously inventive, The Night Following is also a love story and the extraordinarily moving tale of a killer's journey from the shadows into the light. It confirms the mastery of a writer who is both tender and unflinching in her examination of human frailty and of the shattering repercussions of deception.
"Distracted by the daffodil-flocked Wiltshire countryside speeding past her, or perhaps by the condom wrapper she has found in her husband's car, the unnamed doctor's wife plows into the doomed bicyclist shattering several lives and launching a haunting journey that should burnish the reputation of Joss (Half Broken Things, which won the CWA's Silver Dagger Award) as one of Britain's most original crafters of psychological suspense. The guilt-ridden hit-and-run driver becomes increasingly obsessed with the victim, recently retired English teacher Ruth Mitchell, and Ruth's devastated widower, Arthur. Providing emotional contrast are the notes Arthur leaves for Ruth and excerpts from The Cold and the Beauty and the Dark, the slow-paced multigenerational saga Ruth was bringing to her writing group on the fateful day. As the narrator finds herself irresistibly drawn to the Mitchells' home, a nightly witness to Arthur's decline, boundaries begin to blur. Increasingly, her flashbacks to her own family history begin eerily to mirror the clan in Ruth's manuscript. But, Joss asks provocatively, who are any of us apart from the stories we choose to believe those we create and those we appropriate?" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Joss begins her psychological vivisection where other suspense novelists leave off. The results are extraordinary." Kirkus Reviews
"Suspense comes from figuring out who the narrator is and how she is going to cope with her guilt and leave the periphery of life to which she has condemned herself." Booklist
About the Author
Morag Joss grew up on the west coast of Scotland. Her first Sara Selkirk novel, Funeral Music, was nominated by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association for the Dilys Award for the years favorite mystery. Her fourth novel, Half Broken Things, won the 2003 CWA Silver Dagger Award. Morag Joss lives in the country outside the city of Bath and in London.