• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Other Side of Night by Adam Hamdy

The twist in The Other Side of Night is fascinating, but I wanted to feel more for the characters, who experience extensive trauma, feel frequent suspicion, and resignedly accept deep tragedy.

In Adam Hamdy's The Other Side of Night, the lives of a young boy, a respectable citizen, and a disgraced police officer are intertwined through connections to a series of mysterious deaths.

A novel written to explore real-life tragedies, an enigmatic note written in a copy of the novel, a seeming suicide, a disappeared body, and other mysterious circumstances tie together the characters of Elliott Asha, Harriet Kealty, and Ben Elmys.

But one of them may be a murderer.

Much of the page time in The Other Side of Night is spent with characters who exhibit odd, unexplained behavior, who seem untrustworthy and whose accounts feel unreliable, and in a grim, twisted, mysterious world without resolution or answers. The pacing felt uneven to me, and shifts in mood and manner sometimes seemed abrupt, so that it was tough to pin down a scene's tone.

Because of this setup and structure--the reason for which becomes clear late in the book--I didn't feel particularly connected to Hamdy's characters, despite their tragedies, yearnings, lost love, and desperate desire for answers.

I didn't fully believe that the book's love obsession was warranted--I didn't see enough to understand its intensity or strength. Another element that didn't add up for me: the inexplicable oversight (which is absolutely essential to the plot) on the part of multiple characters. This lack of recognition regarding an essential point didn't feel at all plausible, especially when such close, extended contact took place.

The Other Side of Night offers an intriguing, dramatic twist that I definitely didn't expect as it edges toward its ending. The Twist and the fascinating concept backing it up was a highlight.

Yet for me, the text that follows The Twist feels like a "here's what happened; see, it really does make sense" summary, more than storytelling to get lost in. I found myself wanting to finally feel for the story's characters--who have really been through unprecedented trauma and drama by this point--but ultimately I never really did.

I received a prepublication copy of this book courtesy of Atria Books and NetGalley.

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Adam Hamdy is also the author of the Scott Pearce series, the Pendulum trilogy, Battalion, and Out of Reach.

If you're into books with twists, check out these Bossy Bookworm-reviewed titles.